Marvel Adventures Avengers #25

Background

The Avengers take on Arnim Zola in tale that proves, yet again, that no one writes Marvel Adventures: Avengers better than Jeff Parker.

Story 'Who Wants to Be a (Different) Super Hero?'

  Marvel Adventures Avengers #25
Summary: Spider-Man appears
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Writer: Jeff Parker
Pencils: Ig Guara
Inker: Sandro Ribeiro
Lettering: Dave Sharpe

The last time we saw the Wrecker he was a solo act. But between then and now he became smart enough to put together a Wrecking Crew, and dumb enough to bring them to New York to pull a bank job. Now the Avengers only need to travel across town to take the villains out, which is convenient, I suppose. Giant-Girl, Iron Man, and Wolverine do the honours...

...or they would, if a mysterious force didn't switch their minds for those of three slumming thrill-seekers. The newcomers, eager to play superhero, try to take down the crew, but being rank amateurs, they only embarrass themselves: the new Iron Man can't operate the armour properly, Giant-Girl grows so fast she bangs her head against the ceiling and knocks herself out, and Wolverine is so klutzy the Wrecker and Thunderball easily pound the stuffing out of him.

Later, after the Crew escapes, the Avengers try to figure out what happened. Ant-man (who appears to be a full-time member these days) has the data to prove the Avengers were the victims of body-snatchers, but can't figure out who was responsible. Giant-Girl and Iron Man can fill in that part, though: while recuperating in the infirmary, the pair check their e-mail, and both find spam that offers super-rich clients the opportunity to become a superhero for a day.

Cut to the corporate headquarters of Arnim Zola, a Swiss scientist who offers his clients the opportunity to live anyone's life for a day. The Avengers (including Wolverine, who's all healed up from the battle, but neither Giant-Girl nor Iron Man) have come in civilian garb, determined to gather the evidence necessary to shut Zola's operation down. They are met by Zola himself, who's all too happy to explain the nature of his services. The Avengers' cover is quickly blown when Zola makes a crack about Wolverine's stupidity and Logan, with his hair-trigger temper, gives him a mighty sock to the jaw... so mighty that it knocks Zola's head off!

The Avengers, non-plussed, change into their hero garb as Zola explains that the head Wolverine just decapitated is just a prosthetic. Zola cleverly removed his own head and placed in a secure location, while governing his body remotely... a body he's retrofitted with a camera on the neck and a flat-screen TV on the chest. While the Avengers decide what to think about that, Zola blasts them all with his mind-switching ray and calls his new bodyguards, the Wrecking Crew, to dispose of the heroes.

A very, very funny sequence ensues. The heroes attempt to defend themselves, of course, but as they're all in the wrong bodies, a fact which at first they don't even recognize, they aren't too effective. Hulk, in Storm's body, tries in vain to uproot a tree; Wolverine, in Ant-Man's body, is aggressive as ever but too small and weak to back it up; and so forth. Spidey, in Cap's body, can aim the shield well enough, but can't defend himself without spider-sense or spider-agility. Captain America, in Wolverine's body, is more useful, and holds the Crew off while Storm gets the hang of piloting the Hulk's mighty muscles. Sensing that the Crew might be defeated, Zola switches Storm into the Wrecker's body and the Wrecker into Hulk's body, but the Wrecker-as-Hulk is too reluctant to damage his own, original body to fight... which encourages Storm-as-Wrecker to begin smacking her/himself around with her/his own crowbar. "Not the face!" cries an anguished Wrecker-as-Hulk.

Hilarious!

Meanwhile, Ant-Man-as-Spider-Man (that's a whole lot of hyphens right there) retrieves Pym's ant-controlling helmet from the unconscious body of Wolverine-as-Ant-Man. Shrinking Spider-Man's body down to size, Ant-Man infiltrates Zola's body and hacks Zola's signal, knocking out the Wrecking Crew and restoring everyone to their correct body. As the Avengers board their Quinjet to track down and seize Zola's disembodied head, they amuse themselves by watching TV on Zola's chest-mounted screen.

General Comments

A pure synopsis can't capture the joy of this issue. There's a laugh-out-loud joke on almost every page, and the zany slapstick of the ultimate battle sequence is so good it needs to be read in the original.

It's clever, action-packed, and funny as can be. Pick this one up if you can; your comics dollar gets full value here.

Overall Rating

No question about it: five webs. It may be the best issue this title has yet seen; it's certainly in the top three, along with the issues featuring Ego the Living Planet (Marvel Adventures: Avengers #12) and MODOC (Marvel Adventures: Avengers #9).