With the problems on Mars sorted, the Avengers have a couple of issues worth of back stories for the new characters. We’ve had Hyperion and Smasher, now it’s the latest incarnation of Captain Universe.
Shang Chi is meditating with Captain Universe trying to talk to her host, but the host is broken and doesn’t want to talk. Shang coaxes her out with some pie and tries to learn more about her past. They know her name (Tamara Devoux) but what are trying to find out more about her, why Cap U chose her. It turns out Tamara was in a car accident that put her into a coma and her little girl was also in the car. But that was ten years ago, and no one knows what has happened to the little girl since then. This news becomes too much for Tamara and Cap U takes over again. Cap U tells us that she chose Tamara because she was broken, because she was dying, just as the Universe is.
Elsewhere in Avengers Tower, Spider-Man is eating Cannonball’s food - a brief scene to show what a jerk Spider-Man has been recently, trying to act all tough in his new costume (yup, this is the issue where it’s made clear that this is now the Superior Spidey featuring in the Avengers). We then join Tony Stark who is still working on a translation programme for Adam/Blackveil and Spidey acts like a jerk to Blackveil (we get it, this Spidey is Otto!). Cap U and Shang join the group and Cap U points out Tony’s translation is wrong and that Adam’s name isn’t Blackveil but is Nightmask. With a snap of her fingers she translates Nightmask’s Builders’ code into English and we can all understand him. He warns us that the system is broken and that the white event is coming…
Tricky issue to review, or rather to grade.
Pros: We got a bit of back story on the new Captain Universe and we got some progression with Adam/Blackveil/Nightmask (maybe we can go an issue or two without a new name for him!). Cons: I could sum it up in two paragraphs.
It’s not that nothing happened it was just quite a drawn out story. Half the issue was just two people sitting in a room. I don’t mind comics without action sequences, I just thought this issue was a bit too “talky”. There was lots of philosophical dialogue and whilst it was in character for both Cap U and Shang, it got a bit much after the first few pages. I just feel that half an issue was made to fit into a whole one. Maybe another sub story or more of Spidey v Cannonball/Sunspot would have been nice.
Talking of Spidey, well it’s the Superior Spider-Man in Avengers now and I thought this was well done. Also good to see people are noticing Spidey acting out of character of late, adds a bit of realism to the whole body switch thing and how long it'll last. It was also interesting to see how Spidey was being used as comic relief (again), but in a way more in keeping with Otto and not the one-liner way of Peter. Again, this was well done I thought. As I have said in my previous reviews, I just hope we get more than comic relief Spidey in the Avengers.
Finally, the art and it’s as solid as it has been up until now. I liked how towards the end we got the exact same frames of Nightmask before and after Cap U translated his language. A nice way of showing what he had been saying all along, just in English.
For me the overall story, whilst well told, was a little slow paced
The Builders' Code has been translated and they included a rosetta stone so we can translate it for ourselves. A lot of the phrases were the same in the past issues (it's coming, the system is broken, etc), but I did like how Nightmask called Cap U Mother and how the pod kids in Avengers (Vol. 5) #4 called Hyperion Daddy!