Comic Picks By The Glick

Avengers World vol. 2: Ascension

December 12, 2014

With the four issues of the main series collected here, writer Nick Spencer decided to advance each of the core stories being told here in its own issue.  So you have Hyperion leading the assault against the insurgent A.I.M. Island, Falcon meeting up with Chinese superheroes to deal with the Madripoor island dragon, Starbrand waiting to be rescued from Morgan Le Fay by his teammates in the City of the Dead, and Cannonball and Sunspot time-traveling to stop A.I.M. and save the kids of today’s superheroes.  It’s an approach that works well enough for a collected edition, except I can’t help but think that it annoyed the hell out of people reading the single issues since it’s hard to get any traction on a story when you have to wait months to find out what happens next.  It’s still an entertaining read, if you liked the first volume, and while Stefano Caselli only does two issues here, Marco Checchetto proves that he can do big, epic-level superhero action after years of working on smaller-scale titles like “Daredevil” and “Punisher.”

The collection is rounded out with issue #34.1 (really…) of “Avengers” which was a one-off from writer Al Ewing and artist Dale Keown.  It’s a Hyperion solo story whose grounded tone is distinctly at odds with the rest of the book as the superhero works to rescue a kidnapped child from the Mauler while pondering his own role in the world.  As a member of the Squadron Supreme, Hyperion is essentially an ersatz version of Superman who can interact with the Marvel Universe.  Knowing that makes the story more interesting to read, but it’s still pretty good even without that knowledge.  If you can get through Hyperion’s somewhat rambling ponderings, there’s a really well-done confrontation between him and the Mauler where the villain is defeated without the hero throwing a single punch.  Art comes from former 90’s superstar Dale Keown, who is employing a less over-the-top style these days.  His art here reminds me of Steve Dillon’s in its clarity, and while Keown isn’t as good with nuance, he offers more detail and is better at making the superheroics work in the context of things.  This was certainly an odd choice to round out an “Avengers World” collection, but it proves to be satisfying nonetheless.

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