Marvel Adventures Avengers #15

Background

The Avengers—Captain America, Storm, Hulk, Spider-Man, Giant-Girl, Iron Man, and Wolverine—battle evil in an all-ages format.

Story 'Bringers of the Storm'

  Marvel Adventures Avengers #15
Summary: Spider-Man appears
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Writer: Jeff Parker
Pencils: Leonard Kirk
Inker: Terry Pallot

Our story opens with the Avengers battling trees in Ireland. Apparently, weird mystical events are occurring all across the Northern Hemisphere, and this is the latest manifestation. Between Storm's winds and Spidey's webbing, the trees are quickly subdued. As the Avengers ponder what to do next, two ravens fly up and try to attract Storm's attention.

Storm, who is apparently a Norse-mythology buff (who knew?) recognizes these ravens as Hugin and Munin, Odin's companions, and deduces that Asgard is in trouble. The Avengers race off to Norway in their Quinjet; while in transit, they reminisce about their old comrade-in-arms Thor. Thor is the (ahem) golden boy of the Avengers: Storm admires his way with thunderstorms, Wolverine admires his willingness to fight crime with a giant hammer, and the rest just admire him generally. Only Spider-Man, it seems, hasn't worked with Thor in the past, and he learns the hard way you shouldn't crack jokes about everyone's favourite Avenger.

In Norway, the ravens open a portal to the Rainbow Bridge, and the Quinjet arrives with a bang in Asgard. But Heimdall isn't on hand to welcome the newcomers; instead, the Quinjet is assaulted by siege engines. It seems the Dark Elves, led by the sorcerer Malekith, have invaded Asgard and disposed of the Asgardians somehow. The Avengers waste no time throwing down with the Dark Elves-- "Elves! Knock [Storm] from the sky!" cries Malekith. "She must be stopped first!"-- and the Elves take the worst of it. Luckily for Malekith, he has powerful allies. A band of Frost Giants arrives, demanding the rocks that are their due. Malekith pretends that the Avengers mean to keep the rocks for themselves, and the Frost Giants immediately make with the violence (and bad singing).

Things cease to go well for the Avengers. Iron Man gets knocked out of the sky, Hulk and Wolverine get crushed beneath giant hammers, Giant-Girl gets pawed, and Spidey gets backhanded into a big rock.

Spidey ponders the rocks for a moment, then asks Storm to fire some lightning his way. Storm, baffled, complies nonetheless, and in a flash the stone is transformed into an Asgardian warrior! (One of the Warriors Three, I think, but don't quote me on that.) As Storm uses her lightning to free more Asgardians, Spidey explains all the clues that we readers missed: the ravens, and Malekith in his own way, were excited by Storm; the Frost Giants seemed unduly interested in rocks; and so forth.

All of this exposition is interrupted when Storm manages to blast the rock imprisoning Thor, who appears in splash-page glory. Malekith tries to curse him into stone a second time, but a quick blow from Captain America dissuades the elven general, who flees from the battlefield like a coward. Leaderless and facing an army of angry Asgardians, Thor not least, the Dark Elves and Giants quickly are routed, and the day is saved!

Our issue concludes with the heroes and Asgardians settling down for a gigantic feast. (As far as I could tell the Asgardians didn't bind and gag their bard for the affair. Guess they don't read Asterix.) Singled out for praise by the God of Thunder, Spider-Man learns just why it is that the Avengers love Thor.

General Comments

Not a lot to shout about here. We saw the Avengers go to war against an epic-fantasy-style army as recently as last issue, which reduces the fun. The big climax to the issue is Spider-Man solving a mystery that we readers didn't realize was a mystery until it was solved, which also reduces the fun. And plot holes abound: why did the imprisonment of the Asgardians make Irish trees start attacking people? Who wrote the message on the tree bark warning the Avengers not to go to Asgard? (See, it was never followed up on, so I didn't mention it in the synopsis.) Where is Odin while all of this is going on? Why should lightning unpetrify the Asgardians? If the Avengers have so much history with Thor, why did none of them recognize Loki for what he was back in issues #5-8? and why didn't they ask Thor for help?

None of these are serious flaws, but they don't help one enjoy the issue, either. And the story as a whole is so uninspiring that it doesn't give you any reason to look past them.

Overall Rating

Eh, it was okay at best. Give it two webs. If you haven't picked this one up yet, don't bother.

Footnote

Next issue, old home week continues as Hawkeye makes an appearance! Who's next, the Vision? Quicksilver? Jocasta? Triathlon?

This book is on the verge of being overpopulated already. The last thing it needs is a parade of guest stars...