Avengers #9


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Avengers #9


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: John Romita Jr.
  • Inks: Klaus Janson, Scott Hanna, Tom Palmer
  • Colors: Morry Hollowell, Laura Martin, Matt Milla
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2011

The expression “all talk and no action” is usually an insult. In The Avengers #9 it’s actually not a bad thing.

This issue is all talk from start to finish, but the subject is pretty dire. Super-criminal The Hood is collecting the Infinity Gems and re-creating the Gauntlet, and the various groups of Avengers who’ve converged on the Himalayas where the Great Refuge used to be want to know how The Hood even knew the Gems exist. A running flashback clues readers in on how it happened.  Meanwhile, the Avengers are busy doing what they do best when they’re not thrashing villains: arguing among themselves.

The Avengers #9 boasts what I think is Brian Bendis’ best script for this young book so far. His much-touted dialogue skills are shown to best effect as the heroes quarrel about the secret of the Illuminati who have been operating without anyone else’s knowledge. The highlight of the issue--the eye of the storm, so to speak—is the latest verbal clash between Steve Rogers, ex-Captain America, and Iron Man. 

Since the Civil War, their relationship has been strained at best, and it looks as if it’s reaching another breaking point now. No other character in comics does righteous indignation better than Steve, and the moral smack-down that he gives to Iron Man is fun to read even as it makes you wince. The former Cap is really putting the screws to Shellhead this time. It’s also satisfying to see Thor step in as the calm mediator and balancing factor between the two. The Thunder God is a great diplomat as well as the mightiest of warriors, and Bendis captures the dynamic of the three characters nicely here. Everyone is in just the right “voice.” This whole bit of characterization is spot-on and makes us look forward to seeing where it goes next.

Artistically, penciller John Romita Jr. and inker Klaus Janson are back on top of their game. In some previous issues, their work had shown signs of getting overly sketchy and scratchy, which marred the finale of the Kang/Ultron story a few issues back. But they’ve sharpened it up since then and are once again in form for this issue. Please let them keep their game at this level or better as we move into what should be an epic battle against the omnipotent Hood. 

Speaking of the Hood, once we’ve learned the very ironic way he came into his new power—something the Avengers would never have guessed—check out his exchange with another familiar character at the end of this issue, and the new twist it puts on his motives. There’s always a girl, isn’t there?

Bottom line:  Good script, good art, good set-up for more. When things move from talk back to action, the rest of this story should be interesting indeed.

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