As one of three concurrent missions from S.H.I.E.L.D., Nightmask, Starbrand, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye were exploring an abandoned town in Italy when they got transported to a city of the dead. Once there, they met up with Euroforce and faced Morgan le Fay's army of the dead.
(The other two missions were a team sent to deal with Madripoor being on the head of a dragon raised by the Gorgon and A.I.M. island rapidly advancing using technology from the future.)
The issue starts with some splash pages to remind the reader of the three situations going on: A dragon with the island of Madripoor on it's head flying towards China battling the Ascendants (China's version of the Avengers), Morgan le Fay's armies of the dead attacking locations around the world and A.I.M. getting too big for their boots!
S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill, alongside Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner, is trying to deal with all these issues and decides the best course of action is to target A.I.M.'s leader, Andrew Forson. Tracking him down is a piece of cake though as he's starting an interview on TV! The Scientist Supreme is keen to tell the world how A.I.M. may have been selfish in the past but they are now keen to share their technology with the rest of the world for free. Whilst curious as to how some of their technology works, Banner directs Iron Man to Forson's location to deal with him.
Meanwhile, S.P.E.A.R. (China's version of S.H.I.E.L.D.) radio Director Hill to tell her that they are trying to deal with the Madr-agon with the help of the Avengers team (Black Widow, Falcon, Shang Chi and Wolverine). Hill then radios Hawkeye to see how their team is getting on. They seem to be holding their own with help from Euroforce. Spider-Woman isn't happy with Maria for not telling her that Morgan le Fay was behind the army of the dead; Hill protests she didn't know.
Back at the press conference and Iron Man has turned up. Forson does a good job turning any argument Tony has against him, as A.I.M. aren't really doing anything that Stark has done in the past (he makes some really good points actually). However, the Scientist Supreme has enough and kills the TV transmission before revealing that he sent a robot in his place and that the robot is also a bomb. BOOM!
In the lower decks of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, Maria waits for Sunspot and Cannonball to return from their trip to the future (using A.I.M.'s technology against them in Avengers World #9). They do but unexpectedly bring back the Next Avengers with them. Maria wipes Bobby and Sam's mind (Secret Avengers style) and is left wondering what to do with the young team.
The issue ends in the same manner it began with three splash pages of the three different events and how bad things are looking...
When Avengers World started it had a single issue describing three events occurring in one day that S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers were trying to deal with. Subsequent issues divided the stories up, focusing on one of the missions. Well this issue brings the plots back together again and as such it's quite a busy comic. The story advances a bit with the interactions between Forson and Stark (who hasn't been in this comic up until now) and as such the actual missions, whose stores we've been following up until now, only really get a page or two each. I suppose that's the way of comics that have a cast of dozens, if you want all of the characters to appear then they aren't going to get much of a turn each.
As I mentioned last review, I like the way that this comic depicts the whole world and not just America, this is seen here with the “Avengers” from other countries introducing themselves to S.H.I.E.L.D. although I find the reintroduction of the Next Avengers interesting. They last appeared in Avengers (Vol. 4) #1 as the children of the current Avengers from the future. It's interesting to me as none of the children are from current couples. Storm isn't with Black Panther, Hawkeye isn't with Mockingbird, Wasp isn't with Hank Pym, Thor isn't with Sif and Captain America isn't with Black Widow. So why create children from non-existant couples? I suppose it fits in with the Marvel multiverse where anything from the future or past is actually from an alternate Earth and so anything and everything is possible. X-men comics have been doing it for years with Nate Grey and Rachel Summers as just a couple of examples. Indeed the future daughter of Storm has recently turned up in X-men, clearly the alternate Storms have been busy! I just think it's a bit silly how Marvel are so concerned about not letting their characters grow up too much, removing children and marriages as necessary, but also are quite keen on creating children from the cast that never ages. Still at least these kids are from the future and so have aged naturally as opposed to some never before seen side effect of a goblin serum! Maybe Marvel should give the MC2 universe another go if they are so keen to have the next generation of characters appear without changing their current ones!
Back to the issue and not much really happens, it just serves to tie the stories back together and attempts to show how bad things are getting with the three separate situations. Not sure I buy how bad things are really getting, the last significant threat the Avengers dealt with was on a galactic scale during Infinity. Surely three events on one planet, with other super teams helping out, isn't that bad. That aside, there are some nice funny bits in the comic. I still very much enjoy the way Banner is written as the sarcastic genius, clearly taking its cue from the Banner in the movies, and whoever came up with Madr-agon as the noun to describe the dragon carrying Madripoor really earnt their money that day!
There's nothing wrong with this issue, but there is nothing outstanding either. The humour, the initial way Forson deals with Stark and the art raise the grade from above the median. Time to wrap up the stories though Mr Hickman/Spencer methinks, it's been nearly a year!
As a footnote I want to mention something that annoyed me. I may be overreacting a little, I'm not sure, but one little note bugged me. In the panel where Dane Whitman is on the radio to Captain America saying he's not bothered that he was overlooked (again) when the current squad of Avengers was assembled (when clearly he is) there is an editorial footnote. The footnote suggests that Cap overlooked the Black Knight because of his “mental health issues” and to see Original Sins #2 for more details. Now I've not picked up that comic but its review suggests that this “issue” is that the Ebony Blade has corrupted all of its previous wielders, turning them evil, and maybe that will happen to the current Black Knight. I'll assume the "mental health issue" is that Dane may be turning evil because of the mystical sword he uses but even if there is more to it then that I was saddened that the editor would suggest that someone with mental health issues should be turned away from the team. An illness is an illness and sometimes help is needed to overcome them – victims shouldn't be shunned. Also given that Hank Pym and Bruce Banner have had “issues” and were founding/current members of the Avengers, is that really the message Marvel want to send? Recent events have highlighted the tragedies that can occur with these issues more so than normal and granted the comic was written before things happened but can we try and be a bit more enlightened and understanding in the future please.