By: Matt Fraction (writer), Stuart Immonen (pencils), Wade von Grawbadger & Dexter Vines (inks), Laura Martin, Justin Ponsor & Matt Milla (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Lauren Sankovitch (assistant editor) & Tom Brevoort (editor)

The Story: It all ends here with the Serpent taking on the Avengers.

Five Things: 

1. TGIO!  Or Thank Goodness It’s Over!  This was a crappy event because this story just wasn’t robust enough to warrant it’s line-wide treatment.  It didn’t need to take 7 issues to complete over 6 months and it didn’t need ~100 tie-in issues.  The only thing keeping me from being angry at how much of my money went into this event is that I’ve already taken most of the issues to Goodwill.  There were a few high points (The Deep, Hulk v. Dracula, Jeff Parker’s tie-ins on Hulk and Thunderbolts), but mostly this was really unremarkable stuff (and Parker was just making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear).  Part of it is that this gets graded on a curve.  When you tell us the story is an “event”, more is expected.  If this had been a crossover between Invincible Iron Man, Mighty Thor and Avengers (2 issues each) it would have been much better.

2. Really choppy storytelling.  There was a lot of unnecessary bouncing between scenes in this issue and it wasn’t always entirely clear when the switches were taking place.  It just wasn’t clear where this Thor/Serpent battle was taking place relative to the bigger scrum between the Avengers and the Worthy.  Heck, I wasn’t sure who was fighting with the Serpent for most of the issue (“Is that Thor?”).  It was like everyone was in a hurry for this to be over.

3. Death = “Meh…”  Isn’t it amazing that an event that…… SPOILER……  kills both Captain America (or at least a Captain America) and Thor would be a “meh?”  How does that happen?  Well, it happens because death is no big deal in comics any more.  Comic fans are long conditioned that superhero deaths are temporary, but they’ve rarely felt more temporary than they do right now.  All of these characters have been dead before and Marvel is rarely letting them stay dead for any length of time.  The whole point of these folks dying is to see how the universe exists without them, but when you (a) tell all of your stories in a decompressed fashion and (b) bring the dead folks back in a year, we only get to see one 6-issue story before Marvel starts teasing the “return” of the characters.  How can I miss you when you won’t go away?

4.  Art not up to Immonen’s usual standards.  This isn’t bad art by any stretch of the imagination, but I think the excellence that Immonen was bringing to the early issues of this event were covering up some serious flaws in the story.  I don’t know if Immonen got rushed at the end or just got bored with the crummy story, but this just isn’t his best stuff.  The devil is always in the details.  For example, there is a double-pager showing the Avengers with their silly new weapons springing into action towards the reader that has all kinds of dumb poses: Iron Fist is kicking for no reason, Spider-Man is swinging on a web that is attached to nothing (like he’s being dragged behind a truck), Black Widow is doing some bizarre ballet pose and Hawkeye is hovering higher in the air than any of the other Avengers despite the fact that he cannot fly.  This is the kind of spread I expect from Greg Land, not from Immonen.

5.  Not much closure.  Unless you want to get worked up about the deaths, there isn’t any closure here.  I want an ending where the heroes slap each other on the back and declare that it’s Miller Time.  There isn’t even anything like Norman Osborn saving the day at the end of Secret Invasion.  The ending is basically that Sin is going to try to get her hammer back.  Of course, this is just so that story can bleed into Fear Itself 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 and the new 12 part maxi-series “The Fearless”.  Count me out.  If Marvel wants to do that, just have an ongoing series called “The Status Quo” and quit making us add stuff to our pull lists.

Conclusion: It’s over.  Marvel did a lot of damage in this one.  Nothing happened in this event except for a couple of temporary deaths.  Bad job.

Grade: D

-Dean Stell

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Conclusion