Jumping in late to this title, I was worried that I would be behind on what was playing out in the cosmic universe that Earth’s mightiest heroes were exploring. Due to expert writing, however, this fear subsided quickly, becoming introduced to the early age Avengers that I had previously heard about and the very powerful threat that loomed over the world. The team put forward seemed fresh yet familiar and the villains were steeped in the lore that makes the Marvel Universe so interesting and rich.
Avengers #4‘s story feels a lot more like a small part of a larger tale in comparison to some of the other books I’ve been reading. As characters become so familiar, development in group tales such as these becomes less vital, in favour of serving a larger narrative which pits our heroes against much larger stakes. Thor and his father have a troubled relationship, with Odin being the leader of this original avenging team. His pessimism in the face of danger is neither wise nor cowardly. There is clearly something in Odin that wishes his son to succeed but cannot truly believe that this will be the case. The insect invasion that is also plaguing Earth is an interesting subplot that further fleshes out the cosmic side of this tale. The overlap between the ancient beings of the universe and the ancient warriors that protected it are certainly compelling and I enjoy the symmetry between the two.
The bond between Thor and their resident Hulk is perhaps confused, although sweet. However, don’t expect this companionship to go very far. Neither character tends to hold onto another for very long, with Thor or the Odinson going through a lot recently. Loki’s role is a little puzzling for me also. His alliance with the celestials seems to meet some higher ambition he has to perhaps stand alongside true gods, thus seeing Earth’s humans as nothing more than insects. That’s ironic considering what Earth is infected with. Is a heroic turn to save Earth eventually inevitable as Loki’s beliefs are tested? This would be perhaps too predictable. The addition of the Eternals is also a welcome change with some shocking deaths amongst them. The writers are making this feel like a truly cosmic affair.
The art has a very old school vibe and I can even see some ties into the sort of artwork that went into the movies.
I had a lot of fun with Avengers #4 and it seems the writers did too. There seems to be less weight behind each book, with the knowledge that whilst they could be game-changing, the outcome of this story is whether it is quality or not, rather than setting up another twelve titles. Some books as of late have fallen into the trap of focusing more on how the book adds to a wider universe, rather than effectively using what they already have.