By Jonathan Hickman and Salvador Larroca
Hickman’s Avengers run occasionally takes a minute to digest and really take in. There’s so much to ponder and wrap your brain around. That’s what makes this arc, and especially this issue, so odd. It reads faster and seems to have less meat on the bone. It’s still great, though.
The original Avengers from another universe are still running around, being hunted by new versions of Adaptoids, which were created by AIM. Meanwhile, our regular Avengers and SHIELD are trying to make heads or tails of what’s happening right under their noses. The majority of this issue involves these new Adaptoids killing off the alternate Avengers. Sadly, this appears to be their only reason for existing: as nothing more than casualties to show how tough the Adaptoids are.
There is still a ton of that typical Hickman mystery and intrigue, just not enough of it. By the end of the issue, Hickman gives us plenty to chew on, so it appears that we’re going to have to wait for future issues to get any sort of payoff. Well, that’s how Hickman epics tend to work; it’s just going to be an even slower burn, especially since this book has moved to a monthly shipping schedule.
Salvador Larroca’s art isn’t as ambitious as Hickman’s writing, but he’s serviceable. Fortunately, there is quite a bit of sci-fi intrigue, which is something Larroca can do. The new Adaptoids are very interesting to look at, but when their form changes at the end, they start to look a little too much like OMACs. Other than that, Larroca adds his own style and pulls it off well. His original Iron Man looks especially cool.
Hickman is still on top of his game. This is still a really great issue, despite being one of the weaker in the series. As seen in the final pages, there continues to be a plan in place and it looks like things will get more exciting.