ďRed Zone part 5: The Great EscapeĒ
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Olivier Coipel (p), Andy Lanning (i)
The Red Skull is back and heís the Secretary of Defense for the United States. She-Hulkís missing and the Red Zone is spreading. What will the Avengers do?
I thought about trying to pick up the Geoff Johns Avengers comics a few months ago. I hadnít read them, but everybody said they were good. Now Iím glad I didnít have the money to do that then. There are so many things about this issue that I didnít like, I donít know where to start. Most of the dialogue is just clichť-ridden and ridiculous. This characterization of the Skull is just not up to snuff. For a writer known for making villains interesting again, he does a woefully inadequate job here. In case you canít guess, the Skull is no longer a Nazi, really. It turns out that Americaís so close to the Nazi ideal that the Skull had a change of heart and wants to run America as is. No Fourth Reich necessary. Itís already here. And when Captain America actually bursts in and in a full-page shot says, ďDonít you dare salute that flag!Ē I nearly wept with embarrassment. And capturing our heroes in glass rooms and filling them with gas? This was old when Batman was a campy tv series. Itís probably just me, but Iíve yet to read a good Avengers story with this incarnation of the book.
The art doesnít leave much to be desired. It is functional and tries to help us make our way through this mess of a story, but it has its problems too. I donít know whose idea it was for the Skull to prance around the White House in his old Nazi uniform, but come on. That combined with the silly pin-up of Cap busting in were enough to make me just shake my head and give up. Iím sure that Iím giving Coipelís work an unfair shake here, but I was so distracted by the awful, awful writing, that it may have colored my perceptions a bit.
So Chuck Austenís taking this title over, huh? Canít hurt. Until then, Iíll go back and read my Kree-Skrull War and Korvac Saga trades. Hell, even the Celestial Madonna and Avengers-Defenders War stories were interesting and fun. They might not have been great, but they were imaginative and tried to live up to the stature of the characters involved. You know, the way a companyís top-tier heroes are supposed to be treated. ďDonít you dare salute that flag!Ē Groan.
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