Friday, July 23, 2010

The Avengers #3

I should say right up front that I'm enjoying this new (yet classic) version of The Avengers.

The stories are big, the opponents are bigger, the stakes are high, the characters are compelling, the humorous bits make me laugh out loud, the art is fantastic and the action scenes are a lot of fun.

I only have two problems with the series (and this issue in particular).

First of all, the storyline is the standard decompressed affair where it takes issues and issues to get anywhere. The first issue introduced the menace from the future, and here we are three issues later and the team hasn't yet gone to the future to tackle the problem. The old line is that Stan and Jack had more story in 20 pages than most comics today have in 6 months. We can debate whether or not that's a good thing (different strokes, different folks), and in a series that's jammed with action scenes, it may seem ungrateful to say "Let's speed it up" - but I'm saying it anyway.

My other problem is one that keeps cropping up lately - the cover of this issue has nothing to do with the interiors. None of the three characters on the cover appear in this issue, although two of them seem to be manipulating events behind the scenes. And I have no idea who that spikey-haired Spidey guy might be.

But the problems are far outweighed by the goodness piled on this issue, from Bendis' script, which includes great comic lines, crazy rants from Apocalypse and a really nice moment between Tony Stark and Spider-Man; to the fantastic art by John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson (that final page splash is a joy forever).

Despite the decompression, this series really is a return to the best of classic comic book storytelling, as we get a big, big story that pushes our heroes to the limit and beyond.

Good stuff! You really should be reading it.

Grade: A-

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