Alright, here we go: Jed Mackay’s so far great Avengers run. I really dig this series.
Then again, I am making a judgement call on a great run after reading all of three issues.
Issue: Avengers #3, July 2023
Writer: Jed Mackay
Artist: C.F. Villa
The Plot: The Ashen Combine attacks!
Commentary: Kang the Conqueror warned team leader Carol Danvers that “the Tribulations” were coming, starting with the Ashen Combine, five incredibly powerful city-killing beings in their floating, space-faring Impossible City. That attack begins here, and the issue as a whole is mostly a set-up for the battle to come. As such, the Avengers are mostly just springing into battle by the end of the issue, with a page devoted to each of the five new villains and then a two page or so “I’m gonna fight you now!” pose with the most appropriate Avenger to face off against each baddie with the final two Avengers infiltrating the Impossible City itself.
Well, Iron Man going up against the guy who just morphs cities, and the people who live in them, into “art” on the mean streets of Toronto seems like a stretch, but the other four work.
So, two things jump out: none of these aliens attack the old Marvel stand-by of New York City. Heck, they don’t even attack any American cities, so there’s something to be said for that. But instead, I think the issue works to show off the talents of both Mackay and artist C.F. Villa. Each of the attackers has a rather unique look and motive. One, for example, looks like a headless bird with a face on its chest, it absorbs worship, and attacks Vatican City. Oh, and naturally, Thor goes to take it on. These sorts of moves are the kinds of moments that really work for me, and it looks like the Avengers are going to be taking these guys on for the next few issues. I’m looking forward to this. I just wish it didn’t end when it did. Yes, it makes me anticipate reading more, but it felt like the issue had barely gotten started by the time it ended.
It also makes it very hard to follow my standard practice of not reading more until I have written a review for something first.