Comics : Avengers (Vol. 5) #21

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This review was first published on: Nov 2013.


Previously in Infinity: The galactic council sent Thor to surrender on their behalf to the Builder on the Kree Capital World of Hala (currently under Builder control). This was a rouse and ended with Thor killing the Builder with a solar powered Mjolnir setting the Kree free to rejoin the council.

Also Captain Universe is still in a coma and Ex Nihilo is leading the other Gardeners in an uprising inspired by the discovery of his sister, the last surviving Abyss.

For those keeping score, this issue is set between Infinity #4 and Infinity #5 with New Avengers #11 running alongside.

In Detail...

Avengers (Vol. 5) #21
Dec 2013 : Review (No SM)
Summary: No Spider-Man
Editor:  Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Jonathan Hickman
Artist:  Leinil Francis Yu
Inker:  Gerry Alanguilan
Cover Art:  Laura Martin, Leinil Francis Yu
Lettering:  VC's Cory Petit
Colorist:  Sunny Gho
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We start (after the increasingly more annoying whole page title caption) with a reminder that Captain Universe is still in a coma. Ex Nihilo says that her recovery is taking too long and they need a miracle. Next (after another title page splash – yup we only managed one page before another one) the Kree are frantically repairing a damaged Supreme Intelligence who only has six minutes left to live. "When did Supremor get attacked?" you may ask. Well a quick flashback shows us that Ronan the Accuser did it. The Supreme Intelligence had done the math and determined that Thor's victory over the Builder meant nothing and they would still lose. Ronan took exception to that and lashed out at the Supremor with his hammer. Fortunately the Kree could repair the Supreme Intelligence.

The freed Accusers go on to retake Kymellia III (the planet of horse people where one of Black Bolt's wives comes from) whilst the Spaceknights from Avengers (Vol. 5) #16 rescue Centauri IV and the Skrulls liberate Korm Prime. It's not all wins for the council though so they decide to play their trump card and release the Annihilation wave. The Builders however easily turn the hive mind of the swarm against themselves, destroying each other. The Shi'ar Emperor has had enough of this and enough of watching, he's going back to his Gladiator roots and is personally joining the fight.

Elsewhere, The Gardeners are surrounding the escape pod housing the comatose Cap U with Abyss floating above her. Ex Nihilo spouts some rhetoric about miracles and the odds of them happening and then the Gardeners all channel their energy through Abyss to restore their mother. Captain Universe comes round saying she thought she would never wake but that a day is coming soon when she will close her eyes forever (bit of a downer thing to say when emerging from a coma!). She then sets about her task putting her children in order and heads to the Builders' command vessel. After obliterating the Alephs present, she asks a Builder why they are doing this; that even after they stopped worshipping her, they still revered life. The Builder tell her that the Universe is dying and that Earth is the axis point to this destruction (as revealed in Infinity #4 and further fall out from the Age of Ultron event no doubt). Cap U won't let them destroy any more and destroys all the Builders, but not before one activates the erasure protocol in all of the remaining Alephs. Their new declaration? To destroy everything!

In General...

Ah, it had to happen – the filler issue of the event, well at least half of it was. Let's look at the evidence. A page telling us how Captain Universe was in a coma and had been for a while (the recap page told us that). A scene with a damaged Supreme Intelligence followed by the flashback telling us how the damaged occurred and then a fully repaired Supremor. I didn't understand the need for this scene at all (apart from to use up some pages), it added nothing story wise apart from indicating the Accusers believed more in the fight then in their boss. Why set up a perilous situation for the Supreme Intelligence for it only to be fixed 3 pages later? Why tell the story of Ronan's anger in flashback? Surely it would have been better to just show his frustration against the Supremor as it happened and then have the Accusers leaving it dying as they headed back to the war; this would have set up some kind of cliffhanger and maybe drama that wasn't resolved so soon. Finally we have the final trump card of the council, the dreaded Annihilation wave, released only for it to be defeated with a wave of a hand. Half a comic and nothing has really happened to further the plot. We just see the council win and lose some battles and as such reaffirm that the Builders are far from beaten – nothing we haven't seen previously in this event.

The second half of the comic is slightly better with the restoration of Captain Universe, though this takes a bit too long for me. Still we get to see the powerhouse that she is, wiping out Aleph and Builder with ease. Is she powerful enough to stop all the Alephs now they've all been set to destroy? Also are they hinting at the end of this character, saying how soon she will close her eyes forever? Time will tell (hopefully not before giving some closure to her host Tamara's story of the loss of her child).

Finally, the art and that's one thing that isn't disappointing. Dealing with battle scenes, resurrections scenes and tense close ups very well. Great use of colours too. I'm interested in the way Captains America and Marvel are drawn together, they are very intense and close. Following on from the Smasher and Cannonball/Sunspot potential in Avengers (Vol. 5) #18, is another couple being set up in this event? I believe Steve Rogers recently lost his girlfriend in his solo series (though when that is set in relation to this event I don't know) so could be.

Overall Rating...

Apart from the return of Captain Universe and the Builders response, nothing happens which moves the plot of this event along. Why have an event span so many comics when you have to fill for space in them? Fortunately at least some of this comic told a bit of story else the mark would have been lower with only the art saving it.