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Comic Review: Avengers #5

Marvel NOW! Avengers #5 vol.5 cover Adam Kubert Smasher

This is how you introduce readers to a character.

Avengers #5 is all about Isabel Dare, a.k.a. Smasher, an Iowa-born girl with spaceflight aspirations who becomes an intergalactic Shi’ar guardian. Essentially, she’s Marvel’s answer to Green Lantern, but her powers lie with her suit and her sentient red goggles – not with a magic ring.

In every way, this comic is a return to form for writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Adam Kubert. Hickman presented a largely inaccessible character story in Avengers #4, and Kubert’s art struggled at times, but those bugaboos are erased here. Hickman keeps the story grounded by focusing on Smasher, and Kubert gets the opportunity to impress by drawing legions of alien robots and ships.

It’s not all lasers and starships, though. Hickman develops a heartfelt connection between Isabel and her terminally ill grandfather that really makes you feel her need to break free and become her own person. That drives her origin story, and it also provides the emotional core of this issue.

Hickman is in the middle of a string of character stories here as he fleshes out the expanded roster of his Marvel NOW Avengers. Last week, he introduced readers to the Superman analog Hyperion in a decidedly mediocre Avengers #4. This week, he recaptures the high quality that began his Avengers run by taking Isabel Dare from the farm to outer space a la Luke Skywalker.

Hickman is clearly positioning his chess pieces for a long run on Avengers. While most of this story takes place in space, there’s more on Ex Nihilo’s Adam, and a suggestion of a Big Bad menacing the Shi’ar.

Next issue will address the gaping plot hole that is Captain Universe, who went all deus ex machina on Ex Nihilo in Avengers #3.

Avengers #5 is a tightly-plotted, well-drawn story that turns the obscure character Smasher into a person you care about.

Definitely worth the read.

9 out of 10.

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