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Avengers #5 | Comic Reviews | Nerdy Nothings

Avengers #5

Avengers #5


One of my weaknesses when it comes to viewing comics critically is that I tend to focus on the writing side of things and spend very little to no time on the art. That comes from having a background in literature as opposed to the visual arts; it’s too easy for someone like me to “read” a comic by only taking in the words and flying through the pictures just to find out what happens next. It’s a tempting trap, especially in a well-written and gripping story, but it’s something one shouldn’t do with comics, a medium which is by definition a marriage of words and pictures.

Let me start by saying this, then: Avengers #5 is an amazingly-drawn, beautiful book. John Romita Jr. is the perfect penciller for this series. Around my comic shop, it’s been cool to hate on the man for the past few years, especially after some less-than-stellar work like The Sentry, but Avengers belongs to JRJR. His line work, composition, and page layout have an amazing energy to them that not only imbues Avengers with an incredible energy that befits its cast, but feels incredibly epic. In my opinion, this is precisely what the Avengers franchise needed to do to establish its place in the Marvel Universe when it relaunched several months ago, and this book has achieved that end admirably.

Credit for the art cannot go to Romita Jr. alone—inkers Klaus Janson and Tom Palmer (both industry superstars) and colorist Dean White add the perfect textures to each page, making this series as a whole and this issue in particular something you just want to stare at. Looking through a comic just to enjoy its art is, I feel, a practice often forgotten in this age of hyper-decompressed and “realistic” (re: wannabe-movie script) stories, and that’s a shame. I mean, look at the opening for the issue – a one-page splash with two of our most colorful heroes jumping into action against an ominous purple sky, while drab cavemen ravage modern cars, and dinosaurs and alien spaceships observe in the background. This is an opening page, full of contrast, action, and intrigue. This is a page that tells me I’m looking at a comic I very much want to read.

And speaking of reading—I cannot ignore the writer for long. Brian Michael Bendis is one of Marvel Comics’ biggest assets—a talented (and timely!) writer who can crank out as many as five or six books a month and still make them all at least readable, if not downright great. Avengers #5 is in the latter category. The whole first story arc of this series has been a crazy ride, taking our heroes across time and space, involving them in a game of chronal cat and mouse and finding the weirdest damn things imaginable for them to fight. Bendis’ script gives JRJR the fuel for his epic artwork; I daresay this is a perfect collaboration of writer and artist. I really like that we’re five issues in to this new series and we still don’t exactly know what our present-day Avengers are supposed to do. Which future people can they trust? Is everyone just using them as pawns in their own game? It’s a fascinating plot, made more so by the fact that the book doesn’t give us time to think about it – as soon as we get a little more information, our heroes are stolen away in time again, thrust into another battle they must overcome before they can finally save the day from Ultron, or whoever the big bad turns out to be. I can see where that story structure might wear on some, I suppose, but I feel that this book is so sharply written and drawn that the best thing to do is just enjoy the ride.  We know our heroes will eventually triumph, but we don’t know how, and it’s nice to have a superhero comic that remind us that a lot of the fun is just getting there.

tags: avengers, brian michael bendis, john romita jr.

  • http://www.myspace.com/newtestleopard Matt Heckler

    This is how out of the loop on Marvel comics I am. I didn’t even know Avengers got rebooted. I assume that means “New Avengers” is done? And also, are the five dudes shown in the image the only members of this Avengers team?

  • http://andrewstamm.com Spaceman Spiff

    New Avengers is still around, they just started over with a new #1 and a slightly new iteration of that team

  • http://nerdynothings.com Rebel Rikki

    Hey Matt,

    Actually, the Avengers team is quite expansive. Besides the guys on the cover it includes Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, Noh-varr, and Maria Hill (in an advisory capacity).

  • http://andrewstamm.com Spaceman Spiff

    I’ve been trying to figure out if Noh-varr is a full member or if he was just brought in for this storyline…

  • http://nerdynothings.com Rebel Rikki


    Yeah, I had that question too. This issue seems to imply that it might be the latter. I like the dynamic he brings to the team, though, so I wouldn’t mind if he stuck around.

  • Kyle Gnepper

    I really enjoyed this issue. Some of the turns and misdirections have made for a very good read, and I can only hope that future Stark time line gets made into a poster somewhere

  • http://nerdynothings.com Rebel Rikki

    Yeah, the timeline! I forgot to mention that in my review. That was great.

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