By: Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer (Writers), Mike Deodato (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist)

The Story: Don’t threaten Hyperion’s children while his Avengers buddies are here. Just don’t.

The Review: This run on this title has been a weird affair so far. There are amazing ideas being thrown, some great characters set in the teams that could very well expand the base idea of what the Avengers could very well be and a progression that is still building up to something greater.

With all those qualities, however, it seems that there are a lot of setbacks. For all the cool ideas, there is some really cold dialogue ripe with exposition. For all the cool buildup, there is close to no resolution or any sight of payoff. While none of the issues were an actual bore, this title lacked excitement in a ‘’rollercoaster’’ kind of way, with some issues being close to solid, while some were just confusing.

This issue, however, as the conclusion of a two-part narrative, is more the former in the rollercoaster that is Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers. With a focus set on Hyperion as he discovers just how he is changed by his sudden caring for these evolved zebra-children, the tale is a bit stronger as it shows a development toward a character that is only seen in this title. Considering the number of people who are parts of the Avengers now, it’s always fun to see some progression in a character arc, which is not something that is easy to see when more than half of your cast has their own title. Let’s just say that I seriously doubt that there will be major development for Spider-Ock here.

However, as strong as the central plot around Hyperion and his children is, there seems to be some weakness around the other cast members. The more I read some of these issues, the more confused I am with the inclusion of some characters in certain issues. Sometimes, there are some characters added simply to be part of the background, to add flavor to some action sequences or to just say a specific line or two before being part of the scenery. Here, characters like Spider-Woman and Captain Universe serves as this, serving as foils to other characters while contributing close to nothing in terms of fun or development. They are just here and that’s it.

Still, the plot itself that those characters don’t actually contribute to is quite solid, even though it does not seem to add much to the tapestry that Hickman is constructing so far. Perhaps it’s this very fact that makes it much more enjoyable, as it’s not more teasing and hinting toward something big. Here, he just delivers a small tale with a small payoff in its ending. Continuing with the High Evolutionary, an old Avengers foe with a concept that fits in perfectly with the kind of ideas that Hickman plays with, the tale revolve around this enemy taking interest toward those seemingly perfect creatures that are under Hyperion’s protection. Of course, the story itself is fairly simple in its progression and in its conclusion, yet there is some heart to it this time as we can see some traditional problem/twist/solution plot building this time around, which is a nice change of pace.

Another nice thing I can say about this issue could be summarized with this: Mike Deodato. The way he composes all these panels is simply astounding, with a mix of creativity in the big pages filled with various small panels of various sizes. It’s kinetic and it creates for a rather energizing and tense effect during the actions scenes. He seems to be quite good at mixing the more technological aspects of the script alongside the wilder objects and scenery of the Savage Lands, which creates quite a contrast.

Another person which does provide fodder for this contrast is Frank Martin, the colorist of this issue. Here, he create a small effect that does provide some help for the readers, making the more villainous, yet superfluous aspects attached to the High Evolutionary, be it the machinery and his minions, much simpler in terms of colors. He uses duller shades of grey, red and rather unimpressive colors on them while he manages to give some more love to the backgrounds, the preeminent characters and the various effects of the action scenes (explosions, mostly).

The Conclusion: While there are still some small problems, Hickman and Spencer does a bit better here by providing us with a smaller amount of teasing and focusing more on Hyperion and his desire to protect the children. With some great effort from Deodato and Martin, it’s also quite pretty to look at too.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière