July 16, 2024

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Comic Review: Avengers No Surrender

Earth is a game board, and only a handful of Avengers can keep the planet in one piece.

Not too long ago, Marvel had four different Avengers books with four different teams doing four different missions.  As is often the case, Marvel did a big relaunch and ended many series running at the time.  To send off this era of Avengers, the three books did a big crossover event involving the Avengers doing what they always do and save the world,

It was called Avengers No Surrender.  Three teams, three talented writers, and a way to wrap up a number of storylines.  But was it any good?

The Avengers are doing what they always do when something happens: the Earth and its moon vanish.  Captain Marvel, watching from orbit with Alpha Flight, sees the planet disappear.  On Earth, a majority of the planet’s superhuman population freeze in place with only the majority of the various Avengers teams free to do anything.  Three of those teams gather at Avengers mansion after a distress call goes out, summoning the lot of them.  Along with reserve member Living Lighting, there are the combing forces of the main Avengers team, the Uncanny Avengers Unity Squad, and the government team the U.S.Avengers.  The fourth team, made up of Hawkeye and Red Wolf and known as the Occupy Avengers, join in later.

But there’s something off. The hero that summoned the still-moving Avengers, Voyager, is someone the others all seem to recognize as a long-standing hero, but she’s obviously new to the reader.  What is going on?  Well, there’s a game in play between two Elders of the Universe.  One is the Grandmaster.  The other wants to be the Grandmaster.  And when they’re done, they’ll just toss the game board.  That would be the Earth itself.

So, all things being equal, this was fine but nothing Earth-shattering.  Most of the bigger name Marvel heroes were not involved in this one.  Heck, even some of the bigger name Avengers from the various team line-ups were knocked out for various periods.  As for the writing team, we had Mark Waid, Jim Zub, and Al Ewing, and that actually means there was one really noteworthy moment, and that would be when the Hulk entered the field of play for a very simple reason:  this was the return of the character in his current persona of the Immortal Hulk, a Hulk whose smart, angry, and not at all inclined to help anyone.  There’s a massive brawl with the character through the Avengers’ secondary headquarters, showing him swatting aside many of the team’s strongest members (including the Jane Foster Thor, Hercules, a Red Hulk, and Rogue trying to swipe his powers), but his ultimate defeat comes now from fighting but from the pacifist Wonder Man refusing to fight him.  Likewise, Voyager’s real story was rather cool, but overall, it was a fairly average Avengers/superhero team story.  The Earth was in danger, the heroes rallied, and the Earth was saved and everything went back the way it was.  It’s even hinted that the character who died saving the day isn’t really dead.

Was it a good sendoff to an Avengers era?  Yeah, but at the same time, it wasn’t an all-time great Avengers story.  7.5 out of 10 sacrifice plays.