by Jonathan Hickman (Writer), Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan (Artists), Sunny Gho (Colorist)

The Story: The galactic council and the Avengers prepares for their final battle on Earth as some people express doubts and a certain sensation of feeling small.

The Review: While big action scenes are the very foundation of capes comics, a series cannot strive on punches being thrown and huge super powers being used to vanquish foes. During big arcs, events or any such things where a lot of action will be one of the main focus, there usually breather issues where the focus comes a bit more on characterization or how things are simply shaping up, where they will go. Results may vary, but those kind of issues can break down the monotony of repeated clashes if handled right.

This issue of Avengers is one of those, as it acts as a bridge between the latest issue of Infinity (issue 5 to be precise) and the last one. Focusing on the Avengers and the galactic council as they prepare and plan ahead for their eventual fight against Thanos, it serves up as a character piece as well as setup for what will come next. However, does it manage being a satisfactory issue with the action being toned down?

It’s a bit of a shame, but there isn’t much going on in this issue as Hickman use it in order to set up things that had been shown in the final pages of Infinity #5. As far as the plot goes, it’s pretty much Captain America talking strategy with the council, then Manifold being a bit out of his element, all preceded by a seemingly budding romance that had been hinted previously by a random line of dialogue in a past issue.

A rather shallow plot can be overcome with some humor, some action and perhaps some genuine character moments, yet a lot of this is a bit thrown to the side to serve the story. There are some character moments that do give some panel time to some characters that haven’t received that much to begin with, like Smasher, Sunspot and Cannonball, along with the obvious favourite of the author like Captain Marvel, Captain America and Thor, but it seems to serve more as padding rather than actual development.

The moment between Smasher and Cannonball could make for a rather interesting subplot in itself, yet the why and how are never really referenced as it opens up the issue, only to be disturbed by Sunspot and the awkward attempt at humor. The actual conversation between Thor and Manifold is the closest it comes at giving some genuine characterization, with the thunder god speaking about roles and the purpose of each and every one in the team. It’s an actually great moment, yet it does not amount to much in the scheme of things as many characters are ignored in the process. Those looking for perhaps a bit more time with some of the newer Avengers might be disappointed in this issue.

Of course, what do help in making the issue a tad more enjoyable is Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan on the art, with all the cosmic goodness set in some pages. While there are a few rough patches here and there along with some messy lines that make certain details or characters look a bit ugly, this issue is for the most part good-looking. When dealing with the more sci-fi and cosmic elements, Yu seems to have a talent at bringing in the huge scope of things to come, like how he portray the huge wave of spaceships and the deep space backgrounds. The characters are also mostly well-drawn as well, with their body language and their expressions being detailed and clear enough in the key scenes that focus mostly on the characters themselves to move the story along. The panel layout is also quite good, with Yu playing a bit with the conventions to allow the story to progress at a more interesting pace along with the focus to be put on the right elements. It may not be the best-looking or most impressive Avengers issue in which they participated in, but Yu and Alaguilan are strong here despite that.

Sunny Gho is notable though with his work on colorization, with a certain mix of outlandish colors that allow the colder elements in the background to not play too big a part in some scenes. The council room, the depths of space along with most of the architecture serve as a base that allow a good number of contrasts to work with the other elements and the characters, who comes off as a bit more memorable as a result in those scenes. The same technique is also used with the scene on Titan and with Black Dwarf, yet it doesn’t have the same visual punch as the other scenes that are mainly focused on the Avengers and the council.

The Conclusion: The great art by Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan, with the colorization of Sunny Gho as well as some small character moments are the very best thing in this rather uneventful issue. A misstep on Jonathan Hickman’s part when it comes to Infinity and its progression.

Grade: C

Hugo Robberts Larivière