Where to start! During the first day of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers collaborating more, three concurrent missions were occurring.
Mission 1: Nightmask, Starbrand, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye were exploring the abandoned town in Italy when they got transported to a city of the dead. Once there, they met up with Euroforce (Europe's version of Avengers) and faced Morgan le Fay's army of the dead. Sebastian Druid was was set by S.H.I.E.L.D. as back up but Morgan killed him.
Mission 2: A team sent to deal with Madripoor being on the head of a dragon raised by the Gorgon heading to China. This team of Avengers buddy up with China's version of Avengers called the Ascendants.
Mission 3: Following weird weather patterns off the coast of the USA, another team investigate A.I.M. island which is rapidly advancing using technology from the future. This involved a punch up between Iron Man and the Scientist Supreme and a trip to the future to get the Next Avengers (a team of alternate universe prodigy of current superheroes) to help. This also led to A.I.M. attacking the Whitehouse (which has become mission 4!)
This stories were told together, then split up, then brought together and then split up again. Can you tell it's been a year of comics yet only one arc? Fortunately this is the conclusion.
After a brief recap of each of the missions, Maria Hill is quite keen to finish these fights and stay in S.H.I.E.L.D. employment. Cut to a Pym particles boosted, size of the dragon, Shang Chi fighting the Madr-agon. Shang simply defeats it by removing the temple that the Gorgon used to raise it all the way back in Avengers World #1.
At the City of the Dead, Spider-Woman's team is doing their best to fight off Morgan's army when Sebastian Druid's spirit rises from his corpse (he is in a city of the dead – where else would he go?!). Now he is no longer part of the land of living he understands how Morgan's magic works and with one word reverse her hold on the armies of the dead. This restores Paris, Berlin, Rome and London back to normal and allows the good guys to wail on Morgan, defeating her.
At A.I.M. island, and following the Next Avengers previous attack that erased all the future technology, Hyperion, Sunspot and Cannonball can attack. Messenger (Smasher under A.I.M. control) intercepts but soon comes to her senses and helps smash up the A.I.M. city.
Finally at Mission 4, it's just the simple case of the last team of Avengers beating the A.I.M. agents that were sent there. As this team consists of Hulk, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, it really doesn't take long.
Later that day, Cap A and Maria Hill are reflecting on a busy day. Cap tries to find out how S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to take out the A.I.M. technology, but Maria isn't letting on (we also find out here that the Next Avengers are staying in present time instead of returning back to the future). All in all Steve Rogers is happy: the Avengers put out a call and the world answered.
I can't tell you how happy I am that this arc is finally over! 14 issues and in my opinion so much filler. That's what made this issue so disappointing for me. It reminded me of Avengers (Vol. 5) #21, how a threat had been built up and built up over a year, only to be resolved in a few pages. They spent 13 issues setting up a story, dividing it up into different missions, joining it together again, splitting it up again and then concluding it as one in this single issue. Let's do a page count of how quickly 13 issues worth of stories were wrapped up: Madr-agon plot, finished in 3 pages, City of the Dead plot – 4 pages, A.I.M. island plot – 3 pages and A.I.M. invading Washington – 2 pages. All these new teams introduced with whole issues dedicated to their back stories and for what? None of them (except the Next Avengers) significantly changed the outcome of these missions.
When this comic started I liked the set up, how in the Marvel Universe several bad things can happen in a day and this is how they deal with it. I liked the way we got to see other parts of the world and the heroes that came from those places. It just went on for too long and as such this conclusion was rushed for me. Rushed and predictable. I guessed during my review of Avengers World #12 that Druid wouldn't stay “dead” for long and here he is, back with us saying one word (ONE WORD!!) and Morgan's work is reversed in a second. That's how quickly you needed to end this arc? Same with the Next Avengers resolution, they fought future tech with future tech and everything went back to normal. Couldn't you have made it two issues at least and given us a bit more for each mission so it wasn't such a hasty fix? Did they even really explain why A.I.M. suddenly invaded the U.S. President's house?! What was the point other then to have a hero shot in front of the Whitehouse?. Perhaps the writer had shown too much of the rest of the world and needed to reinforce the American roots of this comic!
Whilst a fan of the art, the way the Madr-agon was drawn threw me a little. This dragon is so big it has a whole island on it's head. An island with cities and goodness knows what else on them. Yet when Shang Chi is fighting it (using Pym particles to an unprecedented level, but that's another issue!), it stands amongst a few city blocks in China. The scale seems off, unless Madripoor and it's inhabitants are small enough to fit within a few city blocks of China. On a positive note, the double page group shot at the end of the comic is lovely (though not sure why Captain Universe is present, she wasn't in this story).
A disappointing and rushed ending to an arc that showed such promise, and a bit of realism by featuring the rest of the world, initially. The art saves this from the worst score I could give.