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Comic Review: Avengers #3

Avengers #3 Jerome Opena Iron Man and Captain America Pies


What, you ask?


If you’re lost, you know what it feels like to read this comic.

Avengers #3 takes all the momentum of a runaway freight train and goes barreling off a cliff mid-issue to leave you lost and confused.

One thing is for certain, though: writer Jonathan Hickman just drove a ton of hits to the Captain Universe article on Wikipedia.

You see, it turns out the Avengers have had a supremely powerful cosmic being in their back pocket this whole time, and only now have they decided to use her.

It makes sense, though; obscure C-lister Captain Universe is part transcendental entity, part Brick Tamland from Anchorman. She’s as likely to tell you about the universe as spout a non sequitur about pie.

Brick Tamland Steve Carell Anchorman I Love Lamp

“I love lamp.”

Avengers #3 is the long-anticipated dust-up between the backup Avengers and Ex Nihilo. It starts as fantastic as you might expect, and both Ex Nihilo and his robot Aleph are great to see in combat, but Captain Universe becomes a deus ex machina to completely destroy the momentum and energy of the fight.

This was supposed to be about the Avengers getting bigger, not about one unexplained character solving everyone’s problems.

It was supposed to be accessible to new readers, not exclusive to people with a deep knowledge of the Marvel Universe.

Jonathan Hickman seemed on the right track with taking the spirit of Marvel NOW! and twisting it to create Ex Nihilo, a villain obsessed with renewal. But Hickman throws away all the great work he’s done when he introduces Captain Universe – without backstory – and makes her the lynchpin of the narrative.

Captain Universe aside, Hickman offers some solid storytelling moments. Abyss continues to whisper in Thor’s ear; Ex Nihilo is a proud papa when he creates his own Avengers-inspired Adam; Steve and Tony are excited by the success of their best-laid plans.

There’s really only the one grand flaw to this story.

On the art side, Jerome Opena continues to earn full marks on pencils, and colorist Dean White does a great job making this comic really pop. It’s definitely a visual treat.

If you know all about Captain Universe already, you may get more out of Avengers #3 than a newcomer might. If you don’t, maybe do your homework before coming in.

Avengers #3 concludes the Avengers World storyline with a nice little bow, though from the intro we got in issue #1, one gets the sense it was finished too early. Ex Nihilo is neutered, and it’s unclear where the next threat lies.

Perhaps the next story will be more consistent.

Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena bring all the tools to make to make this series a great comic, and while they falter here, there’s still every indication they can right the ship going forward.

7 out of 10.

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