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Avengers By Hickman Complete Collection vol 1 s/c

Avengers By Hickman Complete Collection vol 1 s/c

Avengers By Hickman Complete Collection vol 1 s/c back

Jonathan Hickman & Jerome Opena, Adam Kubert, Steve Epting


Page 45 Review by Stephen

From the creator of THE NIGHTLY NEWS, and the writer of BLACK MONDAY MURDERS etc who recently rejuvenated the X-Men franchise (see HOUSE OF X / POWERS OF X) and, before that, the FF in FANTASTIC FOUR VOL 1 and VOL 2, this contains Hickman’s NEW AVENGERS #1-6 and AVENGERS #1-5. Apparently – for I have no memory of this – I wrote reviews.

New Avengers: Everything Dies

“Goddess, oh goddess.
“Save me from what this world demands.
“Save me from righteous men.
“Save me from thinkers.
“Save me from summoners.
“Save me from midnight kings…
“And the devil himself.
“Oh goddess, save me…
“Save me from what we are about to do.”

Both Jonathan Hickman’s AVENGERS books are about Big Ideas, eloquently and indeed ominously expressed. This one will have you shivering, even more so on the second read-through once you realise all of its awful predictions comes true.

They’re certainly not about the supervillain du jour although, unexpectedly, a couple of very big players do pop their helmeted heads round the multi-dimensional door, and that last page bodes well for no one. Of the two, however, this boasts the closest relationship to its previous incarnations in that there is a set team and sense of family. It’s just that this particular family is The Illuminati, so there’s a lot less trust involved given a) their past, b) what is at stake and c) the drastic solutions proposed.

The still-covert Illuminati are now Reed Richards, Captain America, Iron Man, Dr Strange, Black Bolt, the Beast, Namor the Submariner… and the Black Panther who previously, quite adamantly, refused to join. It is he who summons them now, even though Namor was last seen slaughtering thousands of his Wakandan subjects (see AVENGERS VS X-MEN).

I keep saying “see” but that’s merely a service: Jonathan Hickman is a keenly intelligent writer and will show you all that you need to know as you go along while chilling your blood to sub-zero.

In addition, Steve Epting’s art is so beautiful I could almost cry (please see Ed Brubaker’s VELVET). His Black Panther is everything I cherished in John Buscema, John Perez and John Byrne’s interpretations but, if anything, he is here lither still. And when he confronts Namor in public with not threats but a promise, his eyes blaze with the fiercest of intensities.

Epting’s ability to convey scale is well off the… scale, and it needs to be for what the Black Panther witnesses is a giant purple planet – and it is another Earth – bearing down on our own on a collision course of mutual destruction. From this parallel Earth descends a white-haired woman with cohorts, one of whom bears the trigger for a bomb. The bomb is an anti-matter bomb and has been armed on the alternate Earth. It is detonated.

But according to this white-headed woman – now their captive and called the Black Swan – this is only the first such Incursion. Every single Earth in the multiverse is headed for collision, one after the other, each destroying the universe it lives in. Something has triggered a mass, multi-dimensional implosion. Her solution was to blow up one Earth to save another. She saved this entire universe’s lives, and indeed the one she came from (give or take its planet Earth). Will The Illuminati be prepared to do the same?

“It breaks hope – it crushes what makes us decent and steals what little honour remains. You have no idea what is coming.”

They don’t. And, one by one, the Black Swan is proved right on every single count.

Friends fall apart, and more dramatically than you can possibly imagine.

Avengers World

“We have to get bigger.
“We have held for so long, but there is something looming just past the horizon. We can’t see it, but it’s coming. It’s going to be too much, and too soon – and we have to get ready now.
“We’ll keep this quiet until they’re needed – you and I will do most of the recruiting. Specific people for specific needs. But they’ll be out there. Ready… Waiting…
“And then, when that day comes, all you have to do is say the words… Wake The World.”

Oh, it’s coming all right: INFINITY’s but a whim away and you wait until they decrypt the Builder Machine Code. How good’s your Warren Ellis?

Speaking of Ellis, I know Tony Stark is sounding all Miranda Zero, but don’t expect their new operatives’ deployment to be quite as selective as within GLOBAL FREQUENCY: it’s more like banging a global gong, inviting everyone and their mother to dinner.

Hickman’s written a very different AVENGERS book here: it’s no longer a tightly knit family affair, but a military assault reacting to worldwide catastrophe as a group of god-like gardeners plant themselves firmly on Mars and set about weeding out the weaklings on Earth by introducing their own strains – like anyone with green fingers does when they move into a house and discover that their new back garden is blighted by dozens of hideous hydrangeas. What…? Horrible flower, the hydrangea.

Anyway, that’s one bloody big battle, but what they’re left with is an enigmatic being whose language they can’t comprehend – one who appears to have a very important message for mankind if only the Avengers can interpret it in time…

Please note: if you’re wondering why Spider-Man is so hilariously rude right now – I don’t mean cheeky as he’s always been; I mean downright supercilious – you may wish to catch up on events in his own title, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN. Clue: that isn’t exactly Peter Parker under that mask. It may look like him, but someone’s rented a room in his noggin’ and eviction is proving problematic.