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Comic Review: Avengers #4

Marvel NOW! Avengers #4 cover Hyperion Adam Kubert

Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers #4 dials back the epic scope and dials up the character focus as the expanded Avengers begin to deal with the aftermath of Ex Nihilo’s attack on Earth.

Avengers #4 sees a squad of Avengers doing mop-up work, chasing an origin bomb to the Savage Land and running into A.I.M. along the way. Thor is hilarious and Captain Marvel is badass, but the lesser-known Hyperion is the real center of the story.

This issue does with Hyperion what Avengers #3 should have done with Captain Universe: it organically introduces a lesser-known Marvel character by blending him with more established Avengers.

At first blush, Hyperion is a ginger-haired Superman knock-off, but Hickman takes the time to establish that the character has a dark, unknown side to him that makes him worth a closer look. He’s got the Blue Boy Scout’s powers and origin, but he’s not wholly on board with being a shining crusader for truth.

If Hickman takes this approach with the rest of the expanded Avengers crew, he’ll do well in making Avengers about more than it’s core heroes.

Hickman has promised that his Hyperion focus isn’t a one-off; Hyperion will play a major role in the grand three-year narrative ahead, so this issue will be an important plot point for the series going forward.

Hickman’s dialed-back, character-centered story goes hand in hand with the dialed-back art in this issue, as Adam Kubert takes over pencil duties from Jerome Opena. Kubert does alright – particularly in that he gives Carol Danvers a better haircut – but he struggles with drawing mouths on his characters. Frank D’Armata brings a more muted color palette to this comic, making it less flashy in every respect when compared to the first arc.

Those hoping for a return to the energy of the first storyline will be disappointed. Avengers #4 is part epilogue for Ex-Nihilo, part prologue for Hyperion. It’s a lot of narrative heavy lifting without a lot of payoff.

7 out of 10

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