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Avengers #60

Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Kieron Dwyer (p), Rick Remender (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
The book opens in the 13th dimension, where we see Scorpio uses the Zodiac Key to ensnare the group of Avengers who has been cast into this realm by Order. As Scorpio decides to do away with the Avengers he's captured, the book looks in on Order, who is learning that Thor is not a person one wants to tick off, as the Thunder God is laying into Order demanding that he reveal where he sent the Avengers that vanished at the end of last issue. As the Scarlet Witch joins in on the fun and uses her chaos magic to cause some serious damage to Order, we see the entity finally relents to the pressure. Meanwhile back in the 13th dimension we see the Falcon was able to momentarily wrest the Zodiac Key away from Scorpio, and this saves the Avengers from the agonizing deaths that Scorpio had planned on serving up. We then see Thor's group arrives in the 13th dimension with Order, and while the rest of the Avengers busy themselves with Scorpio and the scorpion army he had gathered, we see the Scarlet Witch uses her power to rejoin Order with his missing half, Chaos, and the Inbetweener entity is reborn. We then see Scorpio manages to escape to plot another day moments before the Avengers & the missing cities are sent back to Earth.

Comments:
Last week's Peter Parker: Spider-Man #50 came in at 38 pages of art, as did this week's Ultimate X-Men #25, so I do have to ask why this book can charge the same price when it offers up only 28 pages of art? I mean, at first it looks like this book has shortchanged the reader out of ten pages of art, but when one includes the ads pages this issue has 40 pages total, while the other titles I used as examples come in at 48, I start to suspect this issue was mistakenly given its double-sized issue price $3.50 U.S., when it should have been given the $2.99 U.S. extra-sized issue price. Of course, this doesn't keep me from being annoyed at the idea that I was cheated out of the extra ten pages, and if this wasn't a mistake then shame on Marvel for hoping no one would notice that this book was ten pages short. Plus, from a storytelling sense this issue certainly could've used those missing ten pages as the crisis was resolved far too quickly, with the Scarlet Witch acting as the ever convenient quick fix solution that has always had me casting a wary eye the character's way whenever she's involved in the fighting. In the end Geoff Johns would've known how many pages he had to work with, so the quick finish can't be blamed on this issue's missing ten pages.

Now that I've used up a column revealing my penny-pinching nature, I guess I should get around to discussing the issue at hand. This issue does act as a pretty solid display of Geoff Johns' ability to handle a team book, as he nicely shifts the focus around, so that several character's played a key role in the battle. From the Falcon's vital contribution early in the issue that effective saved the lives of himself & a half-dozen of his fellow Avengers, to the great demonstration of the sheer power at Thor's command as he hands Order his head. There's also a nice scene where Ant-Man makes an active contribution to the battle, and while I found Scarlet Witch's contribution resolved everything too easily, the story did a pretty solid job of detailing the idea that she does draw her powers from chaos, and as such this crisis is ideal suited to her abilities. There's also some nice little moments that show a strong understanding of these characters, like the little exchange between Namor & Thor, where Namor claims Thor stole his thunder, or the scene where She-Hulk decides to borrow a page from her cousin's book, as she offers up her version of the Hulk's classic catch phrase.

Kieron Grant's final issue is pretty solid, and I suspect I'd be more upset about his departure if I hadn't taken note that the next three issues are in very good hands artistically. Still, Kieron Grant has proven himself to be a pretty solid monthly artist, as while he does require more guest-artists than I'd like to see from a monthly artist (4 of his 13 issues were handled by guest-artists), he has proven to be a pretty good fit for the big scale action that's a regular part of this book. He offers up some very impressive work on this issue, as there's a great double-page shot of dozen angry Avengers storming forward into battle (though I do have to ask why the Vision didn't make the cut). There's also a great shot of Captain America & the Falcon toward the end of this issue, as Kieron Grant nicely experiments with the perspective of the panel. The art also delivers some nice chilling shots of the villain in action, as the panel where he begins to vaporize the Avengers is a sure fire method of building up my interesting in the material, and the last page of the issue does a good job of revealing the threat is even larger than it had appeared. The sequence where Thor teaches Order a lesson in humility is also nicely conveyed by the art, as Thor looks positively enraged.

Final Word:
I'm a bit annoyed by the idea that this issue was bumped into the higher price range without supplying the extra pages to justify this jump, as I ended up paying an extra $2 for six pages of art. The story also felt rather hurried, as we get one of those ending that I've come to dislike, as the villain gets away, and everything is instantly returned to status quo with a wave of the hand. Now I'll concede that Geoff John has shown a strong understanding of these characters, and while some of the dialogue in this issue felt rather stilted, and frankly a bit dumbed down, there are moments that displayed a wonderful understanding of the characters, such as the opening sequence the explores the Falcon's past, or the scene where the relationship between the Scarlet Witch & the Vision is discussed. Geoff Johns also ends the book on a couple high notes, as I'm extremely curious what request has been made of the Avengers, and the situation with Jack of Hearts looks like it's going to provide an interesting story.



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