With the problems on Mars sorted, the Avengers have a couple of issues worth of back stories for the new characters. Last time it was Hyperion, now comes the turn of Smasher.
Outer space, a while back; a fight involving a male Smasher. He gets killed and a fragment of his goggles is broken off. The goggles are organic and so the fragment grows into a fresh pair of goggles, which are (somehow) found by a young lady (Izzy) on a farm in Iowa. She lives there looking after her father and elderly grandfather; the latter thinks she should leave them to get her freedom back, studying astronomy and "space stuff" like she did before her mother died. That night, whilst looking at the stars through her telescope, the goggles talk to Izzy and tell her to put them on. She does and transforms into Smasher, shooting off into space (much to the joy of her grandfather looking out of the window). She travels through a Stargate (Spoiler those hoping for a Kurt Russell/Richard Dean Anderson cameo will be disappointed) to the Shi'ar homeworld. There she is told that she is a subguardian, one rank behind the top of the Imperial Guard - the Superguardians.
Skip ahead to today; the Shi'ar are under attack and have sent out a distress call, so Smasher turns up with some Avenger reinforcements. Long story short, the Avengers win the battle and Smasher gets upgraded to a Superguardian. Captain America says her grandfather would be proud. In a flashback we find out that her grandfather was friends with Steve Rogers and helped Izzy get her spot on the Avengers.
In other news, Tony Stark has been working on a translator program for Adam (whose name is now Blackveil) as he is still talking in Builder's code and we later find out that the Shi'ar's enemy weren't actually invading but were running from someone...
I preferred this story to the Hyperion one, there were a lot more nicer moments. Whilst I skipped the fight in my review (they get a bit samey!), it had some cool moments. I liked the pep-talk Hulk gave Smasher pre-fight "What's a Smasher to do?" "SMASH!". I liked the way they used Manifold's seemingly passive powers in an aggressive way (by teleporting spaceships into other spaceships). Most of all I liked Izzy's grandfather. Now I thought this was subtly done - I only noticed it on my second read (maybe I'm slow, or just hadn't seen anything spoiler-ish online). It turns out Izzy's grandfather was non other than classic comic book character Dan Dare! Now, I can't profess to being a Dan Dare fan, but I thought it was cool and feasible for this war time hero to be friends with Steve Rogers and it was a nice little nod to a comic from yesteryear - a character that would have known Captain America from his original era, but has naturally aged to modern day.
Wasn't overly keen on the last page, which revealed that the enemy of the issue weren't actually invading the Shi'ar but were fleeing from someone. It was just the way the Shi'ar incorrectly misinterpreted their presence as an invasion and when they realised they'd just destroyed an terrified fleeing armada there wasn't so much as an "oops!" Quite an assumption to jump to in the first place and a little uncaring from such a enlightened society. Still it presumably sets up the next big bad.
The art was solid enough, though I preferred the versions of Tony Stark and Adam (sorry Blackveil) in earlier issues to this one - their appearances were brief so no big deal. I must say I've been most impressed with the covers of Avengers to date, both cool art and pictures that are actually reflective of what happens in the issue. Covers are so often just a cool picture of some of the characters in a scene that doesn't actually happen within the issue!
No Spider character to cover this issue, so here endeth the review!
A liked it! A good done-in-one issue that still managed to keep overall arc threads going.
Yet more Builder's code in the issue...
After writing this review, I found out that Dan Dare comics weren't actually set around World War II, but were actually based in the 1990s. However, the comic was published in the 1950s originally and was strongly influenced by the British Royal air Force of that era, hence my confusion. This means that the link between Dan Dare and Captain America teaming up during WW2 doesn't actually exist but it's still a cool link to an classic comic and perhaps they meet up somewhere else!