The Serpent has reached full power and has dispatched Nul and Angrir to take care of Thor! Thor is able to quickly defeat Angrir, who is turned back into the Thing and saved from death by Franklin Richards. Tony Stark, after drunkenly berating Odin, has requested use of his workshop. The other Avengers attempt to fight the Serpent head-on, but are quickly defeated. When Cap performs his signature shield throw, the Serpent catches and breaks it! Spidey later convinces Cap that it is time to pack it in, as he feels they have lost. Thor defeats Nul, but passes out from the effort.
As the issue opens, the gathered Avengers carry Thor’s battered body from the battlefield, as he weakly requests to be brought back to Asgard. They bring him to the fallen Avenger’s tower (which was destroyed in the pages of Avengers vol. 4 #14), hoping to use Heimdall’s observatory. Cap notices that people are frightened and it looks like they are retreating. Luke Cage offers to use his own team’s headquarters to run the New York evacuation.
In Asgard-Space, Heimdall and Odin are going through the army being built to raze Midgard (personally, the ridiculous troop names, such as “bonebreaker tanks”, really take me out of the moment. Sounds like a video game). The Avengers, carrying Thor’s body, appear. Cap immediately insists that Odin “fix” Thor, given how valiantly he is fighting (unlike Odin).Odin is displeased with his lack of respect, but Cap isn’t interested in that OR his army. Odin teleports the Avengers away to Broxton and then carries Thor to his private chambers so they may talk. Cap continues to lose hope as the situation appears more and more bleak.
The Serpent continues to gain strength as the world’s population spirals further downward into despair. Skadi though is doubtful of their success, as she knows Thor is prophesied to kill him. The Serpent shrugs this off, claiming she will carry on in his name and that this is all for her.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man is swinging around Manhattan looking for his aunt. The fear has gotten to him, but despite being incredibly unlikely (ridiculously so, really), he does find her. As a fan of continuity, I do have to wonder where her new husband Jay is, given how protective he is, but that’s sort of glossed over here. She gives him a quick speech about responsibility and he is off again to fight the good fight (that was quick).
Back in Asgard-Space, Thor awakens in Odin’s chambers. His father continues to try and talk him out of fighting the Serpent, but Thor will not be talked down. Seeing that he is unable to convince him, Odin offers him the same armor he wore when he first took down the Serpent. When questioned whether the Serpent is the true All-Father, Odin gives a non-answer, claiming “He isn’t my opposite…he is my absence.” He also gives Thor his sword, the Ragnarok.
In Svartalfheim (say that three times fast), Tony Stark has just finished forging his weapons. The weapons combine Stark Tech with Uru (an enchanted Asgardian metal) and have each been designed with a specific Avenger in mind. For himself, though, he wants to coat his entire armor in Uru, while he is wearing it. Odin again tries to give Thor an out, but Thor stands with man, as his father raised him to do. Odin gives him until the Serpent reaches the World Tree, then throws Iron Man into the molten Uru.
Back on Earth, Cap tells the gathered Avengers to defend the World Tree, holding out hope that Iron Man and Thor arrive soon. He then goes to “man the line”: A small group of civilians have taken up arms and ready to fight as well. The man from the first issue who locks his door (I believe it is him) is there and leaves to be with his family. Cap preps the other for the fight ahead as the Serpent and his army arrive…
I don’t really have strong feelings about this issue one way or the other. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t as exciting as the previous issues felt. I guess this is the lull in story telling that happens before the final issue. We needed to get everything together so the last part can draw this to a close. But really, nothing memorable at all happens.
For a negative, the cover is rather misleading. After Cap’s shield was broken, I was expecting much more depth to be given to this event. It’s even depicted on the main cover! However, that particular detail is never even mentioned here. It may as well not even happened, since Captain America himself does not seemed particularly affected.
I also feel that the Serpent’s line that all he has done has been for Skadi sort of comes out of left field as well. At no point else in the main series does he or any other character mention that she will carry on in his name if he falls. It seems like a detail that was added in as an afterthought.
Speaking of afterthoughts and dropped plot lines, does no one want to mention the Thing? Or maybe give us some follow-up as to what happened AFTER he was essentially magic-ed back to his normal self? Yes, I know it wasn’t magic, but the way it was handled was much too clean. After their initial appearances, no one in the main series ever seems to care or mention the Worthy.
Ok, so after going through these details, maybe this issue was a little worse off than I initially thought. I was rather apathetic before hand, but going through this list, I sort of am going back to my initially negative impressions of this series. But I don’t want to be completely negative, so let’s look at some of the other aspects.
I am excited to see what’s going to happen with these weapons Stark made. I also wonder how heroes who don’t kill are going to make effective use of them, but that’s a thought for another rant. It’s also nice to see Odin finally give in and provide Thor with materials for his coming battle. Though watching Thor swing a sword instead of a hammer might be a bit unusual.
I also liked the idea of the civilians on the front-line ready to help Cap. I know this whole event is supposed to be about fear, but it’s cool seeing people fighting back as well. How this will play out (if at all) in the last part though could still be disappointing.
I wanted to rate this a bit higher, but going through it, I just don’t feel like enough happened to justify a 3 web rating. I also feel like not enough was given to other details that happened previously for me as the reader to really even care they happened at all. If you can shrug off some of the biggest scenes (ones that I feel like Marvel really emphasized as the series was first being advertised), than they must not have been really necessary in the first place. Let’s see how this series wraps up.