By: Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), John Dell (inker), Laura Martin & Larry Molinar (colorists), and Chris Eliopoulos (letterer)

The Story: The Avengers try to stop Namor from burning Wakanda to the ground.

The Review: One word describes this issue:  fun.

I’ll admit, I’m not one easily wowed by superhero punch-ups, but somehow, seeing Namor battle heavyhitters like Red Hulk, Thing, and Thor was pure, gleeful, comics bliss.  There was just something magical about seeing these heavy-hitters throw down (with one particularly brutal panel that particularly sticks out – that’s a pun that’ll make sense when you read the issue).  The fight was wonderful fun that had me really enjoying myself and flipping the pages, with the issue never dragging or boring me one bit.

But that’s not the sole appeal of this book.  I actually really like what was done with Namor here.  One of the real areas of potential that made AvX #6 so good was the idea that the Phoenix is accentuating the Phoenix Five’s character flaws, highlighting that mere mortals really can’t handle the strain of being imbued with such grand, cosmic powers.  In that light, seeing Namor go absolutely batshit crazy really worked.  Namor’s always been a bit of a dick, but the Phoenix simply causes his naturally wrathful and superior nature to reach new, genocidal, uncontrollable heights.  It’s great to see the comic live up to at least one aspect of the potential that the concept of the Phoenix Five carried.

There’s also definitely a very cool, “oh snap” moment this month that literally had  me “ohing and ahing” out loud.  This month, an extremely powerful, iconic character that has been little more than a background character for several years now makes his presence, and his stance, known in a BIG way.  Words cannot describe how cool this moment was, but it’s definitely a personal highlight of this series.  It’ll take you by surprise, despite making perfect sense and being completely logical.  I’m just really thrilled to see this character take prominence again and remind us that he/she is really powerful and a someone that we may have forgotten about entirely as a heavy-hitter with stakes in this game.  Frankly, this was an awesome scene that almost paid the $3.99 admission all by itself.

I also really enjoyed Adam Kubert’s art this month, perhaps even more than I did Coipel’s.  Kubert has the perfect style for big event books like this.  The action scenes are great, full of both energy and scale, and Kubert shows complete mastery of emphasizing the drama and the stakes.  Kubert’s art naturally carries the flow of the script, which transitions from big moment to big moment.  As such, the art contributes greatly to this being a breathless read that you won’t be able to put down.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable issue.  Great action scenes meet great use of the character-altering aspects of the Phoenix’s possession and we wind up with a huge development involving a fan favourite character.

If there’s one downside, it’s that this issue ends incredibly abruptly.  In fact, it doesn’t so much end as it does cut off.  I suppose that’s not too big a deal, however, given that we’ll be right back here in two weeks anyway.

Conclusion: It’s not a terrifically smart read, nor is it one that’ll take you a lot of time to get through, but it’s boatloads of fun and, in the end, isn’t that be what reading big Marvel event comics all about?

Grade: B+

-Alex Evans