Hey Doomies, it’s two weeks in a row for the first time in almost 10 years. Look at us go!
First up is Avengers #12. I have always been kind of biased against Jason Aaron ever since he stole Van Jensen’s Wolverine story idea and then tried to make his case by denying what his story was about. Then I didn’t really care for him because he wrote the terrible Original Sin event.
His writing has always felt to be the voice of the insecure—never quite confident to stand on its own, so it’s protected by the emotional safety net of knowing winks and chuckles.
So I don’t know if he’s matured or if I’ve just softened, but I’ve overall enjoyed his run on Avengers. While talented people like Jonathan Hickman are capable of retconning beautiful elaborate histories, Aaron’s training-wheels kiddie version in this series has been earnestly endearing, with these ancient versions of modern avatars casting an interesting shadow over the relaunch of the series, no matter how unreasonable.
The last few issues have been a little scattered, what with the rise of Angry Namor (I missed how he grew his head back after he lost it during the incursions a few years ago) and the cameos of Squadron Supreme (I haven’t paid attention to what they’ve been up to since they beheaded Namor a few years ago). It’s all led to some general Avengers distrust toward the U.S. government. In this issue, we find Black Panther assembling a ground team to be his eyes and ears around the world.
Part of what has been so charming in Aaron’s run is that he seems to be reaching for and normalizing some of the most fantastic and even silly parts of the Marvel Universe, but embracing what makes them ridiculous. For example, the Avengers live inside the corpse of a Celestial; their head of security is now a talking gorilla.
It sure helps that Ed McGuinness is illustrating the thing (for the most part); he is one of the few artists who can execute a cartoonish style without compromising the gravity of a story, and his style is perfect for a story that reaches for and bear-hugs comics’ sometimes “wouldn’t it be cool if..?” ambitions. Unfortunately Ed wasn’t able to deliver this whole issue, and a backup crew of lesser artists supported him.
The tough part of Aaron’s act here is that it’s difficult to stay on the good side of the line he’s walking, and the ending was a laugh-out-loud attempted “cool” moment that made me immediately think of the Dwayne McDuffie classic (In)Justice League #13. (Seriously, read that for one of my favorite rants ever.)