Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

Avengers #8

By Colin Andersen
January 5, 2011 - 21:01

If you’ve read any of my reviews on the current volume of Avengers, then you know that I have not been enjoying it. Though I had high hopes for this return to the old-school style of Avengers’ tales of old, Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr. have been disappointing me thus far and issue #7 was no exception. Issue #8 improves everything a little bit, but not enough to make this the go-to Avengers comic out of all the options at the moment.

This issue starts with exactly what the cover promises: the reunion of the Illuminati. For those that don’t know, the Illuminati was a group comprised of some of the most important Marvel Comics’ heroes that met in secret to handle problems that many heroes probably wouldn’t want to. Previously, it consisted of Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Professor X, Dr. Strange, and Black Bolt of the Inhumans. This group had previously disbanded, but the Avengers become aware of someone (Unbeknownst to them, The Hood) stealing the Infinity Gems that they had all hidden individually and Iron Man decides to call them together one last time to try and figure out what’s going on. This issue is largely devoted to explaining just how the fight last issue between The Hood and Red Hulk went down and to the Illuminati trying to figure who their thief is and how he accomplished everything. Unfortunately, little answers are given, though some hints are left. The last page leaves us with the knowledge that there are some very important people out there that are more than a little curious just what the Illuminati are up to. Honestly, this issue is pretty light on the plot and flew by, though not always in a good way.
    Since not much happens this issue, most of the book relies on character interactions and Bendis pulls some of this off surprisingly well. Of particular note is the scene in which Medusa arrives in response to the summons for her (deceased) husband. What follows is a scene in which Mr. Fantastic first here of Black Bolt’s death and his reaction is wonderful. It is somewhat ironic that what is arguably Bendis’ best character moment occurs through two characters that aren’t even Avengers. This is part of the problem of this current arc; it doesn’t feel much like an Avengers story. I’m not normally an advocate of extra mini-series for me to spend money on, but this story is quickly showing itself to be more of an Illuminati or Marvel Universe story than specifically an Avengers one and might have worked better as a mini. This doesn’t mean the story is bad, but it was a thought that bothered me through the whole issue. On the plus side, Bendis manages to write all of the members of the Illuminati in a believable way; they all act like themselves and it makes the story that much better than last issue. I’d just like to see a bit more of the Avengers in Avengers and, luckily, the last page hints that this will come more into focus.
    As much as I don’t like John Romita Jr’s art style, I have to admit that issue #8 is an artistic improvement over last month. His linework is quite a bit better, making for clearer images that seem less muddy and this goes a long way towards helping. Even his characters look better than normal though they are still oddly flat looking. I was most surprised at how good his Medusa looked considering some of his recent troubles with illustrating women’s hair, though the nature of Medusa’s hair may have helped. He even manages to do justice to the emotion in the aforementioned scene about Black Bolt’s death as you can see the sadness in both Mr. Fantastic and Medusa’s faces. Ironically, again, the book looks its worst when Romita is drawing the Avengers. Though his Illuminati looks pretty good, especially Dr. Strange, the Avengers still look odd and bland, including Iron Man, who’s armor Romita still can’t seem to draw properly. There’s a general lack of detail and poise to the heroes that really hinders this book. Though he seems to be putting more effort into this issue, I’ll still be glad when Avengers gets a new artist, though Romita fans might disagree with me.
    In terms of telling and showing a story, Avengers #8 is a definite step up from last issue. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really tell a good Avengers story. This story is just a bit too all over the place and moving a bit too slow to really be a success. With a better artist, a tighter story, and maybe a different title on the cover this could have been an entirely different review. Here’s hoping that things pick up with the next issue as the Avengers themselves get involved. Here’s hoping that I’ll finally be able to give the grade I want to come next month.

Rating: 5 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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