Rick Remender (Writer), Daniel Acuña (Artist, Colorist)
The Story: Quite a lot of the members of the Avengers unity squad gets explanation about what is happening and what might just happen if things continue the way they are.
The Review: Exposition is always useful. It can bring people up to speed on the status of certain events or characters quickly, reinstate the gravity of a situation and throw new concepts to the readers to appreciate. It’s the perfect tool to bring in new readers to make sure they won’t be lost and to make sure that the regular reader don’t forget the important information in the wait between each issues.
However, it is also something that can severely hinder an issue if it indulge too much in it, which this issue unfortunately does. There are a good number of things to explain, of course, as the connection between some of the horsemen and what made it so has to be explained and certainly put on spotlight for it to be effective, yet there is simply not a lot going on in this issue because of the heavy emphasis on the dialogue and exposition.
It’s not an issue-breaking problem, fortunately, as there are some good concepts brought up front which does advance some of the themes of this series forward, however slightly it does. The scene with Scarlet Witch and the Apocalypse twins does bring some interesting ideas as it mixes some of the older ones like Magneto’s brotherhood of evil and Archangel to the newer ones like what Red Skull is trying to do and what he might achieve if he succeeds. It creates an ominous conflict that plays well with the ambiguous antagonism of the Apocalypse twins, who seems to possess larger plans and a certain nobility despite their methods. It does make those characters a bit more interesting as villains.
Some of the weaker scenes, though, are those with the horsemen of death. As cool a concept as they are, they don’t do much in this issue except torment or question those they interact with. As we see Grim Reaper try to demoralize his sibling about his pacifism, it does serve a bit in strengthening the direction the character has took, yet it doesn’t do much else. Even though the scenes featuring Sentry and Daken bring out some action into the mix to make sure the issue isn’t dull, yet it’s still torment and negativism in order to bring their opponents down. Their points are valid and do ring true to the characters speaking them, yet it seems like those scenes are repeating themselves in the issue, even though it adds one key difference here and there while changing the surroundings. It’s just not that appealing to see what is basically the same basis for a scene multiple times in the same issue.
If there’s a scene that do stand out a bit, though, it would be the scene with Rogue and Sunfire as they prepare to bring the pain to those who have kidnapped their friends. It is an earnest scene that shows an interaction between two characters, showing their personality in a way that builds upon who they are. Instead of being ominous or simply out of place, it shows the difficulties that Sunfire and Rogue had and somehow still has to endure sometime as they prepare for whatever might happen. It is told in a different tone than the rest of the issue and it works quite well thanks to it.
What works quite well, splendidly even, is the artwork and colorization of Daniel Acuña, who brings some of his best work in this issue. While some of the scenes may sound alike in concepts and in their dialogue, they are nothing alike visually thanks to him, as his painted work makes the alien worlds and surroundings even more so, while the horrific aspects become even bleaker with his work. His technology and deep space gives a certain futuristic and cosmic feeling to the book that truly adds to the gravitas of the book, enhancing what is already ominous even further. His characters are expressive with their faces and their mannerism, even though he seems to prefer the hyperbole sometimes in terms of poses instead of the more subtler work he does with some of the characters.
His colors are also quite superb in the same respect, as it does enhance the general tone of the issue considerably. The use of garish colors for the various energy effects and the heavy lighting done with brighter colors do add to the action and toward the alien setting which is heavily featured in this issue.
The Conclusion: While there is perhaps an overload of exposition and dialogue in this issue, the concepts brought in some of the scenes and the art by Daniel Acuña makes this issue enjoyable despite some of its failings.
Hugo Robberts Larivière