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Avengers #63

Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Alan Davis (p), Mark Farmer (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
The book opens with Captain America thinking back on how he came to be friends with his fellow Avengers, Thor & Iron Man, before we jump to the present where Cap has himself a front row seat to a knockdown fight between Thor & Iron Man. However in spite of the additions that have been made to his armor, Iron Man's suit is steadily smashed apart by Thor's attacks, and when the Golden Avenger is cast aside we see Captain America moves in to try & reason with the enraged Thunder God. While Thor is not in the mood to listen, and Iron Man stands ready to reenter the battle, we see Captain America is able to get both men to stand down. However, interference from Doctor Doom causes the fighting to break out once again, and while Captain America sends Iron Man off to keep Russian forces from entering the battlefield, we see Cap deals with the American troops who were on the verge of rushing in. We then see Cap attempts to settle Thor down, but it takes a reckless attack that nearly kills Cap to get Thor to recognize how far gone he is. We then see Cap's message finally sinks in, and Thor backs down. However, we see in the end Doctor Doom manages to get what he wanted, as in the interests of world peace Latveria annexes Slokovia.

Comments:
This issue puts a pretty solid closer of what has been a fairly entertaining crossover, and while Thor backs down from his position a little too quickly, it is important to note that by the end of this issue the relationship between the big three of the Avengers has been fundamentally altered. There's also the simple fact that Geoff John displays a wonderful understanding of this relationship, as the opening three pages do a fantastic job of establishing the friendship that existed before this issue, as it is seen through the eyes of Captain America. There's also some great character moments to be found in these pages, from the never say die approach that Iron Man takes in spite of the tremendous beating that he takes at the hands of Thor, to the wonderful moment where Captain America shows the respect that he commands from the American military gives him even more pull than a direct order from the President of the United States. There's also a scene that is sure to make trivia fans happy, as we finally learn what would happen if Thor slammed his hammer into Captain America's shield, and the answer is truly surprising. It's also nice to see Doctor Doom playing a role in this story, and it's great to see the rivalry between him & Iron Man gets some play.

The idea that the city of Asgard has been hovering above Manhattan for the better part of a year (in comic book time no less), leaves me a bit curious as to why this crossover is the first real acknowledgment of this idea outside the pages of the monthly Thor series. I also have to wonder why the American military was so quick to rush to Slokovia, as while their presence allowed a pretty impressive scene where Captain America is able to get the group to back down, the simple fact of the matter is that their presence does seem rather arbitrary, and given a concern was expressed that Doctor Doom might take notice of the situation, I'm not sure how the mobilization of American forces along his borders is suppose to placate Victor Von Doom. I also found Thor's sudden decision to stop fighting a bit hurried, as while I can see his anger being quelled after he very nearly killed Captain America, the situation wasn't resolved when Thor decided to back down, and the entire driving element of the conflict up to that point was the idea that Thor was unwilling to back down. We did get a fairly dramatic scene out of it though, as Thor effectively quits the Avengers, and the friendship of the big three looks to have been shattered.

Getting Alan Davis to provide the art for all three chapters of this crossover added a nice sense of continuity between the chapters, and it also doesn't hurt that it is Alan Davis providing the art, as he's an accomplished artist who knows how to deliver comic book style action. From the explosive battle between Iron Man & Thor, to the equally harrowing bout between Thor & Captain America, the art did a wonderful job of conveying the importance of these encounters. The level of excitement is also nicely increased by the art's ability to convey the emotions of the cast, as the mad fury of Thor is very convincing, as is Captain America's steadfast resolve as he stands up to the advancing American troops. There's also some nice little surprises, like the emergence of Iron Man's early armor design, or the reveal shot when we see what Thor's hammer did to Captain America's shield. The big impact moments are also worth a mention, as to one page shot of Thor striking Cap's shield is a poster worth piece of art, and the final page of this issue nicely sells the new status quo that exists in the aftermath of this crossover. The cover to this issue is also quite an effective visual, as it perfectly captures this big moment we get inside.

Final Word:
The art of Alan Davis really sells this issue as the big climatic finish to what has been a fairly enjoyable crossover. The writing of Geoff Johns also serves to make this the strongest of the three chapters, as there's some wonderful moments in this issue where it's clear Geoff Johns has a solid grasp of what not only makes these characters mainstays of the Avengers lineup, but also what each one of them brings to the table. We have the supreme confidence & sense of authority that Captain America conveys, the overly cocky, but steel-trap mind of Iron Man coming into play, and the regal, almost haughty way that Thor deals with others. There's also a nice sense of urgency to the battle, as the issue did manage to convince me that Thor was not going to back down easily, and this in turn left me a bit unimpressed with the rather abrupt ending that we received. Still, in the end this crossover did serve to shakeup the status quo between these three, and the fallout that results should make for interesting reading.



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