by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Mirko Colak & Alessandro Vitti (art), Andres Mossa & IFS (colors), and Dave Lanphear (letters)

The Story: Nick Fury and the kids try to make good their escape and Phobos clashes katanas with Gorgon.

What’s Good: This issue is basically one gigantic action scene or, more accurate, one extended escape attempt.  As such, the book has a fast, frenetic pace that really feels frantic and desperate.  In that sense, it’s a fun, exciting, and easy read.  Don’t expect to have your brain challenged, but this is basically Jonathan Hickman going Michael Bay on us without tumbling cars in the air.

There’s also a really cool sword fight at the end of the issue that is genuinely epic.  The conclusion of it was breath-taking, leading to a really big ending for the issue and a really important event for the series, unless we’re being baited.

Part of the reason this sword fight is so enjoyable is Hickman’s use of Phobos’ prophetic abilities, which also lends a very engaging tone to the entire issue.  Fury’s escape route’s being dictated on the fly by Alex and what he has “seen” was both effective and foreboding.

Best thing about this issue though?  Alessandro Vitti returns like a breath of fresh air for the books final scenes, including that sword fight.  Instantly, the quality of the book spikes as a result and I can’t express how happy I am to have him back.

What’s Not So Good: That doesn’t change the fact, however, that the first half, maybe more, is done by Mirko Colak, who’s art is even worse this month than last, particularly now that he doesn’t have IFS covering up his weaknesses with their great colors.  It’s suddenly even more apparent how little detail Colak puts into his work.  From faces to backgrounds, it’s completely underwhelming

Worse still, all the failings he exhibited last month are also even more glaring.  Many faces are still swollen messes, Daisy still looks Asian, and Yo Yo…. well, I’m not sure what Yo Yo is, but it’s definitely not female.  Colak’s sense of anatomy is even wackier.   In one panel, Daisy looks downright disturbing; she has the physique of a husky male lumberjack with enormous breasts.

But probably most incriminating is that Colak’s complete inability to draw an action scene returns in full force.  There’s no sense of fluidity and, quite frankly, half the time I only have the vaguest idea what’s going on.  Transitions between pages are also non-existent.  This is really, really bad news for an issue that is largely composed of action and an escape sequence as it makes the whole thing muddled and confused.

It’s also worth noting that all this action makes for a very fast read.  I was done with this in under five minutes and I’m by no means a fast reader.  Up until the sword fight, it also feels largely insubstantial, and Colak’s artwork definitely doesn’t help that.  The storytelling on Hickman’s end isn’t anywhere near as problematic as last month, but up until the last scene, nothing really feels especially vital or meaningful.

Conclusion: Way better than last month, but seriously torpedoed by bad artwork.

Grade: C

-Alex Evans