Avengers (2012) #3
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Jerome Opeña
Color Artists: Dean White & Frank Martin with Richard Isanove
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: Dustin Weaver & Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover Art: Mark Brooks; Adi Granov
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Wolverine (James Howlett), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Falcon (Sam Wilson), Shang-Chi, Sunspot (Bobby da Costa), Cannonball (Sam Guthrie), Manifold (Eden Fesi), Smasher, Captain Universe, Hyperion (Mark Milton).
Iron Man (Tony Stark), Thor (Odinson), Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Black Widow (Natasha Romanova), Hulk (Dr. Bruce Banner)
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
THE PLOT: On Mars, Ex Nihilo has successfully created a new type of human being, made from “primordial bits of the universe” and meant to inherit Earth after he has transformed it. Abyss, meanwhile, tries to convince Thor to run off with her, but he rebuffs her.
The Avengers find the alien beings and engage in a full-on battle. During the fight, Ex Nihilo and Abyss behold Captain Universe and bow before her. She requests that they stop destroying and transforming worlds. Aleph refuses and attacks her, but she disintegrates him instead.
Ex Nihilo and Abyss give up their purpose of remaking worlds and settle on Mars peacefully. The “new Adam” is taken back to Earth. Ex Nihilo asks Captain America what makes the Earth special, and he replies that his best guess is that it’s an Avengers World. The narrator ends with the ominous line that the Avengers expansion started with two men: one was life (Steve) and the other was death (Tony).
THOUGHTS: I have very mixed feelings about this issue. I know I was thinking to myself “That’s it?” when I finished it because I fully expected this story to be a four-part arc, at least. It actually surprised me how quickly the Avengers found the aliens and how handily they were kicking their butts, as if it was almost too easy. The more I think about it, however, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that this was the way to go. We don’t need every story to be six parts long.
I definitely enjoyed the action sequences, and there were plenty of them. Hyperion fighting a possessed Hulk in an even match was cool. Shang-Chi literally busting a cap on Aleph was awesome. Thor calling down thunder on the aliens made me smile (and Dean White’s colouring complements perfectly here). Cap getting back at Aleph was fun. I’ve been critical of Opeña’s art in the past, but without a doubt his action scenes here look fantastic.
The main problem I have with this issue is its resolution. Captain Universe acts as a sort of “Deus Ex Machina” to end the battle. She’s literally the embodiment of the universe, and because the aliens had previously alluded to worshiping “mother universe” in the past, they have no problem obeying her requests. She’s seemingly not completely aware of what she’s doing at all times and unconsciously taps into her power to annihilate Aleph. At least it happened while the Avengers had the upper hand, so it doesn’t feel like they won by pure luck.
Spider-Man doesn’t do much in the fight, unfortunately. He’s one of the Avengers to help free Tony and the others, and he simply complains that the tree feels as strong as molten titanium and needs to be cut through.
ARC ANALYSIS: The opening act to Avengers is a solid “Save the Earth” story. By using the film roster, newcomers shouldn’t have any trouble getting into it. Even for long-time readers, there are a few question marks to keep us interested, namely, who Captain Universe and Smasher are. Hickman’s second arc will go deeper into who these people are, as well as how they recruited Hyperion. Once you think about it, he made the right call so as not to bog down the opening arc with too much backstory (though I personally think issue #2 had too much of it as it is). The conclusion is a bit unsatisfying, but at least the story didn’t drag on for too long.
VERDICT: Avengers (2012) #3 is a fine conclusion to the opening arc of the series. It’s a big action piece, but it’s beautifully done. It leaves the reader with way too many questions and loose threads, but that’s Hickman for you. 3 Webheads out of 5.
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~My Two Cents