In Review: Avengers #4

Great action and suspense as the mystery of the ancient Celestials continues to be revealed.

The covers: Two to track down if the gods allow it. The Regular edition is by Ed McGunness, Mark Morales & Jason Keith. This picks up from a cliffhanger last issue: Thor and She-Hulk are racing to confront Odin who powers up with bright orange and white light. Thor looks fine, She-Hulk’s profile looks too flat, and Odin is difficult to make out because of the coloring. This is a good idea for a cover, but it comes across as murky. Several Marvel comics will be having Variant covers celebrating Captain Marvel and you can bet this issue has one. Created by Kate Niemczyk and Morry Hollowell this frontpiece features Danvers facing the reader in her military greens, arms crossed, green sunglasses, and her long long blonde ponytail whipping in the wind. Behind her is a military jet on a runway and above her are three similar jets flying over. The sky is a beautiful clear blue and the exhaust trails from the jets are snow white. Great looking cover, but not one I would go out of my way to track down; I prefer to see my heroes in costume on covers. Overall grades: Regular B+ and Variant C+

The story: Jason Aaron’s tale returns to one million years ago as the first Avengers sought to repel an invasion by the Celestials. Each character is introduced to the reader by young Odin and his commentary is terrific. He throws his hammer at one of the giant space beings, but with a turn of the page the reader is transported to Old Asgard in the present. There Thor, accompanied by She-Hulk, asks his father to tell him how he and his “primordial allies defeated a dark celestial.” The All-Father refuses, telling his boy that the Odinsword and Jarnbjorn will offer him no assistance in taking them down. However, knowing his son will not relent, Odin shows him a locked door the Thunder God has never seen. Stopping before the barrier, Odin says, “What’s behind this door could end the world. Or perhaps save it. Open it if you dare, Prince of Asgard.” The two heroes enter the chamber and instantly encounter a foe they were unprepared for. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange and Iron Man are at the home of the Eternals and discover something shocking. Just as they believe they will learn what has occurred, one of the heroes receives something on Page 8. At Alpha Flight space station, Marvel and the Black Panther learn more about the giant insects that have been causing troubles on Earth. And at the North Pole Loki reveals some hidden history to captured Captain America, who might be able to escape due to the stealthy arrival of another Avenger. Aaron’s giving every hero some solid time in this issue while moving the story forward. Page 15 had the most shocking scene of the book and the one that also made me cheer. This book is a fun superhero read where the stakes are high and the action epic. Overall grade: A

The art: Two pencilers for this issue, Paco Medina & Ed McGuinness, and two inkers, Juan Vlasco with Mark Morales. The issue starts with an explosive image of the primordial Avengers beginning their attack on the Celestials. It would be a true double-paged splash were it not for the one panel showing Odin’s hammer about to hit one of their foes. Each character looks amazing and has me hankering for a miniseries focusing on these characters. Page 3 journeys to Old Asgard and Odin looks absolutely beaten as he slouches forward in a throne lacking any ornamentation. When the All-Father gets a close-up he resembles Anthony Hopkins, which I’m sure is no coincidence. She-Hulk looks fantastic at the bottom of 4 and I completely believe in her raw strength for the action she performs on the following page and the pose she has in the large panel. Though only shown in two panels, the magic that Strange exudes at the Eternals’ home looks great. The reaction on the character at the end of 8 is perfection. Marvel and Black Panther only get one page and an additional panel this go around, but both look fine. The pages involving the Celestials look good, with the helmeted beings being fierce. My favorite page of the book is the full-paged splash on 15. This event and visual will be spoken of for a long, long time by Marvel fans. The final page of the book is also a full-paged splash and shows an event from the past. I really like it, as I’ve liked seeing all these characters and I hope this art team gets to show more of them in future issues. Overall grade: A 

The colors: David Curiel is exactly the right colorist one would want on a team book. His colors are as explosive as the visuals, making everything bold. The first two pages demonstrate his skill right of the gate as all the ancient Avengers are shown. Look at his work with blues in that second panel that increase the power of the artwork. The All-Father’s helmet and armor make him a stand out on every page he appears, and the same can be said of She-Hulk whose vivid emerald skin is wonderful. Tony Stark’s iconic armor has an incredible shine in every panel it appears. The North Pole is freezing in blue colors. The reds and yellows on 18 are glorious. Curiel can do no wrong. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit creates the text of this book which includes Asgardian speech and narration, scene settings, She-Hulk’s growls, sounds, yells, dialogue, weakened speech, and Motherboard’s speech. The Asgardian speech and narration will stick to a reader as soon as it’s encountered due to its ancient looking font. The scene settings are big in an impossible to miss font that instantly notifies the reader as to the story’s location. The She-Hulk’s constant growls are sources of joy that reinforce her never ending anger. The yells come in several different fonts and sizes so the reader can more easily hear the characters’ bellows. The sounds are excellent, exploding with all the power one would want in a Marvel team book. Overall grade: A

The final line: Thor and She-Hulk search for a weapon to defeat the Celestials, while other characters are in their own unique dangers. Great action and suspense as the mystery of the ancient Celestials continues to be revealed. The visuals are worthy of this epic tale. An excellent super hero book. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Avengers-2018-4/digital-comic/48535?r=1

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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