Monday, 16 May 2016

Avengers 1- 3 (Hickman, 2012)

It might be that every character has a limited number of stories. Captain America, revived in the 1960s, might be reaching his sell-by date (although the Brubacker run, which ended in his temporary death, suggests that there is still life in the old warhorse). The Avengers, despite having a bunch of under-used characters, seems intent on proving this argument.

Avengers 1- 3 (Hickman, 2012) has solid and clear story-telling, and sweet panelling - no 1990s' mayhem here, just a precise illustration of a straight-forward plot. 

Where characterisation appears, Hickman does a fair job - the friendship between Cap and Tony Stark gets a few scenes, Thor plays macho god. But the plot is a tired retread: The Avengers have to expand (done before), there is a planetary level threat on Mars (a DC favourite, usually), and the bad guys are generic and feel like a riff on villains from when The Authority was still worth reading (probably the Quitely/Millar years). And although the tension is built over two issues, victory comes at a low cost. Captain Universe - a shallow hero - has a word with the baddies. And they agree not
to mess with the earth. 

It looks good, but Hickman is trawling the past. The lack of jeopardy, character development (Cap gets to be all heroic and noble, a cameo from New Mutants Cannonball and Sunspot is mildly homo-erotic but hardly presents them as dynamic or interesting), even interesting fights (Hulk smacking Thor, sigh) makes this a less than overwhelming introduction for what is introduced as a 'new era' for The Avengers. At least it doesn't have Bendis' tin ear for dialogue, but this is running on empty.

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