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The Avengers #66

Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2003
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Olivier Coipel(p), Andy Lanning(i), Chris Sotomeyer(c)
Publisher: Marvel

Geoff Johns has made a mistake by signing an exclusive DC contract. He has made The Avengers into the team the Justice League are on the Cartoon Network and the Adventureverse. The Avengers for the first time in their entire comic book history are relevant. Kudos must also be given to Marvel comics for having the guts to publish such a politically incorrect story.

As the Sphincter in Chief crows about the total defeat of Iraq, a story exposing the United States government as infested with a bunch of liars, corrupt to the core and dangerous to the people they allegedly protect would in an egregious denial of The Bill of Rights unlikely be published, yet here it lies in The Avengers no longer a humble comic book.

All the Avengers wish to do is find a means to negate the Red Cloud that has killed so many in the Mt. Rushmore tourist area. This would seem to be a simple task everybody would like to see met. The Feds in black become impediments. They are merely concerned with protecting secrets even if those secrets cost lives. This friction provides the underlying conflict.

Mr. Johns reminds the reader that among the Avengers ranks are two men who may be able to solve the problem. In this way the Avengers are a threat to the status quo and far more of an enemy to the robber barons that declared an idiot President. With the Avengers representing the United Nations and countless times expressing their usefulness and willingness to serve global justice, the United States no longer retains its status of super power. Those with super powers become the super power to make the United States claim to supremacy highly dubious.

Captain America--the American spirit is really to be found in the unified planet--and his away team investigates and discovers the source of the Red Cloud. The nature of the cloud itself we discover in a previous scene is in fact based on a real scientific pestilence and not some nebulous biological technobabble. The research makes the threat more credible and heightens the suspense while defining the stakes for which the Avengers fight.

Unlike the women of DC, the Marvel universe's female heroes have never had their intelligence decimated in one fell post-Crisis swoop. Johns with his writing partner David Goyer has lowered the bar for the stereotypical portrayal women. He has created Kendra the newest incarnation of Hawkgirl and given her the average IQ of a kumquat. He has bestowed to Power Girl the brain-size of the average orange pip. The way in which the Avengers discover the source of the Red Cloud exhibits originality and surprisingly focuses on a female member's intellect. Johns seems to enjoy writing intelligent, powerful women but only for Marvel. So this is the only title by Johns where you can find a balance of power and intelligence.

Olivier Copiel again impresses with a distinctive larger than life interpretation of the Avengers that rises above the simple standards of the comic book's past history. Many an artist has given the Avengers realism and made the book aesthetically appealing. Anatomy has been recognized. Visual plotting has entertained, but this is the only time I've seen the Avengers become something other than a bunch of costumes--however well drawn--on a page. With the Olivier Copiel and Johns at the helm, you have faith in the Avengers as heroes.



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