Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ivan Reis(p), Oclair Albert(i), Chris Sotomayor(c)
When last we left Gyrich, the United States government attempted to recruit him as a spy. The Avengers now operate under the auspices of the United Nations; all active members possess diplomatic immunity, and the U.N. granted Avengers Mansion embassy status.
As we have recently seen in the news, the Presidolt administration does not co-exist well with the United Nations. The U.N. offends the stupid man's delusions of grandeur. Because of this sad fact of life, the Avengers gains more resonance than ever it had before. The Marvel world reflects the real world, and although one must ask where the Avengers were during September Eleventh--mentioned in the dialogue--the mirroring provides a more meaty read and actually makes the comic book rise above mere entertainment, which would have been perfectly acceptable.
While the Avengers concentrates on the schism between the United States and the United Nations, Geoff Johns wisely focuses upon smaller issues that will play a part in the grander scheme of things. This story continues to pave the way for Gyrich's redemption. Part of that redemption comes in the form of breaking the birdseed with the Falcon, whom he originally pressed into the Avengers to satisfy Affirmative Action--which incidentally the Presidolt wishes to derail. Do not expect these two old enemies to hug. Instead, Johns presents a realistic story where the two men grudgingly agree to allow each other to breathe unhampered.
Along the way, Johns makes the Falcon more powerful a figure than he has been in the past, and he garnishes sympathy for Gyrich. What amazes me is that I felt more positive toward this traditional Avengers jackass than I do toward Trevor Barnes, whom I really, really loathe.
Lest you believe that the story is all about talking and coming to terms with each other as kind of a masculine version of the chick film, Johns naturally draws the two characters into a simple hero/villain confrontation. It's fitting that Mr. Johns uses an old Captain America foe and poetic in the way the Falcon defeats the mentally ill miscreant. While the quick defeat lessens the foe's ability to terrify, the scene shows exactly how such a figure may appear in a world where you can expect somebody to swoop to the rescue from the sky.
The artwork by Ivan Reis--known more for his work on Ghost--stuns with panels that just emanate the power of the Falcon. The scenes in which the Falcon uses his abilities--such as his link to Redwing--become impressive moments with the subtlest of touches. Mr. Reis' attention to detail is a treat, and his skill at evoking believable emotion becomes important aspects to enhance a tragedy that will be averted.
The saddest part of the Avengers is that this era will soon be diminished with Geoff Johns departure for DC. For once, the Avengers really were "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" and not the Justice League's younger cousin still having much to learn.
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