by Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Daniel Acuna (art)

The Story: Daisy to the rescue!

The Review: I’ve gone on at length in previous reviews of this book and New Avengers about the ill-conceived, half-baked nature of the HAMMER War.  Put simply, it’s dumb, it doesn’t make sense, and the concept falls apart at its base level the moment you take a step back and take a real look at it.

However, as a mainstream superhero comic, there is at times a balance that has to be struck between fundamental flaws like these and, well, fun.  Thankfully, this issue of Avengers is more tolerable than those previous in this story because, with the story now in full swing and reaching its climax, Bendis is able to bore full speed ahead, moving past the puzzling and illogical elements of the plot, even ignoring them, focusing instead on intense action, great artwork, big stakes.  The result is a comic where the fun to be had outweighs the more troubling aspects of the overall narrative concept and, as a result, you probably won’t notice or think about them anywhere near as much.  The comic moves at such a brisk pace with so much fun and action to be had that it doesn’t really give you time to stop and ruminate on the HAMMER War’s general failings.  The result is a much more enjoyable comic.

Granted, it’s really helped along by Daniel Acuna’s art, which takes the comic to a whole different level.  His work is gorgeous and he has a tremendous handle on tone and mood.  His work, particularly his gorgeous colours, capture and enhance the particular emotion that is prevalent in each scene and the result is a much more resonant comic.

As a big Secret Warriors fan, I’m also pretty happy with Daisy Johnson/Quake getting a real chance to shine this month.  She gets a really great big moment that will leave fellow Secret Warrior fans really happy.  Madame Hydra also has a great scene in a face-off with the US military which manages to, finally, establish her as a strong, unique, and charismatic central villain in a story-arc that has thus far suffered from being too much of “Avengers vs. random goons.”

And perhaps that’s ultimately what makes this issue more fun:  we get to see the Avengers kicking ass or, more aptly, beating the crap out of crowds of random goons.  Previous issues have suffered from just showing the random, faceless goons getting the better of the Avengers, which wasn’t compelling, distinct, or believable.  Seeing Avengers kicking bad guy ass, by contrast, feels much more right and provides good old, classic fun and doesn’t suffer from the head-scratching, awkward overall of previous issues.

Conclusion: Spends more time with the fun and less time on the stupid, leading to a much more enjoyable issue.  The amazing, lush artwork also makes this one worth a look.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans