The problems the Avengers face are getting bigger, the Avengers need to get bigger too. Task 1: two aliens based on Mars that either want to evolve the Earth into a perfect world, or cut its loses and destroy it. Neither option appeals so the new core team go to stop them only to be defeated. A battle scarred Captain America is returned to Earth to tell them of their upcoming fate - he instead assembles the bigger team.
We start on Mars, and the brother/sister combination of Ex Nihilo and Abyss discover there is something different about Thor – he's a God. Ex Nihilo ignores the Norse mythology and informs Thor of the true creation story. How the oldest race in existence were the Builders who worshipped the Universe itself, before abandoning reverence for relevance. They created systems to alter space and time, systems like the Gardeners (or Alephs) who destroy unworthy planets searching for those worthy of evolution. On finding such a planet, the Aleph releases the two seeds it carries (which in this case birthed Ex Nihilo and Abyss) who then decide whether to break the world, or transform it.
Switching back to Earth, we find the bigger Avengers team upgrading a Quinjet to fly them to Mars, interspersed with flashbacks as to how the bigger team were recruited. Fourteen hours to upgrade the Quinjet is just too long, especially with more origin bombs hitting the Earth. Captain America decides to use Manifold – an aborigine with the power to bend space-time (i.e. teleporter) and get them to Mars now. It’s a bit of a risk as Manifold has never used his power to go off planet before, but they are running out of time…
Reasonable issue, building on the first part with back stories for the good guys and the bad guys. I enjoyed the bits set on Mars, which again showed us how Ex Nihilo is not just an out and out bad guy and his motives are noble – relatively speaking.
The segments on Earth were a bit lacking however. Whilst we have some nice shots of the team retrofitting a Quinjet (shades of the A-team), I just struggle to believe Tony Stark only had one space worthy jet and that was destroyed sending Captain America back to Earth. Some of the recruitment scenes felt a bit flat too; Wolverine signed up as they had beer, Spider-Man joined as they had money. Clearly Hickman hasn’t been kept up to speed on Spidey’s life else he’d know that since “Big Time” started in 2011, he’s been alright for cash and so that’s not that huge an incentive anymore. I guess it’s rule one of using Spidey in a team-up comic: Light relief/gags. It'll be interesting if Wolverine is used in that way throughout. I wasn’t overly keen on Wolverine’s reaction to using Manifold to get to Mars. “Cap told me you were dressed in a diaper when they recruited you” he says in a derogative way. That’s a little bit hypocritical from someone who lived with wolves wearing very little throughout that time!
Really nice art once again, particularly liked the misty edges to the frames explaining the beginning of creation. A more subtle touch yet effective than just a caption saying “Earlier”.
Anyway, it’s been set up nicely set up for the showdown next issue, let's hope it delivers.
Not as good as the previous issue, but not bad. Typical bridging issue to an arc with some needed background.
If the Avengers need to get bigger, why isn’t Hank Pym on the team?!