Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Scott Kolins
Publisher: Marvel Comics
While Captain America, the Scarlet Witch and Iron Man battle to contain the rampaging She-Hulk, we see back at the Avengers Mansion Ant-Man is busy feuding with the equally abrasive Jack of Hearts, who is about to be locked away for fourteen hours to drain off his excess radiation. Meanwhile back at the battle things are not going all that well for the Avengers, but the last page arrival of a former teammate may yet win the day.
This issue earns itself a gold star largely for its final page, as if Geoff Johns was looking for the one thing that could possible take the sting out of his impending departure, combined with the arrival of Chuck (you know it's going to suck) Austen, it would be the arrival of this character. In fact I'm so delighted by this character's arrival that I'm simply going to come right out and say that it's Hawkeye, as I simply don't think I could make it through this review concealing this information. Hawkeye was my favorite Avenger for the better part of the 1980s, and he's the sole reason that every issue of the "West Coast Avengers" and "Avengers Spotlight" found their way into my collection. Hawkeye is the character who rocks the boat, upsets the apple cart, and generally makes thing more interesting. Plus, his gimmick is pretty darn cool to boot, as while Green Arrow is making a hasty retreat away from the goofy Silver Age charm of his trick arrows, Hawkeye has managed to advance with the times, so that his trick arrows actually feel like something a character would use to give them an edge in combat. Now the rest of this issue is a somewhat enjoyable exercise as a trio of Avengers battle an enraged She-Hulk, while a subplot involving the feuding Ant-Man and Jack of Hearts continues on, presenting both of the characters as grade A jerks, but the Hawkeye fan in me is willing to give this issue a passing grade based solely on that final page.
As for the art, Scott Kolins turns in some very impressive work on the action sequences, and this is good to see as if there was one element that he excelled at during his run on the "Flash" it was delivering the big moments. Now his raging She-Hulk looks a bit goofy at times, as the wide-eyed stare and constant grimace gets to be a little over the top. On the other hand though the scene where she knocks the charging Iron Man back was a great looking sequence, as was the scene where she's busy sending tanker trucks flying. The gas explosion was also quite impressive, as was the ever-classic ground slam that effectively sends a building crashing down on our Avengers. However the visual highlight of the issue would have to be the final page, as Scott Kolins perfectly captures the Robin Hood-like quality of Hawkeye, with this one-page shot of the character.
This issue packs no where near the sense of excitement that I've found when the Avengers have squared off against the Hulk, as while there's some fairly major league destruction in this issue's big brawl, the simple fact of the matter is that Geoff Johns has decided that the most Avengers he could spare for this crisis is three. I mean I realize that the previous arc did a number on the Avengers line-up, but this feels a bit like a big party in which half the guests didn't even bother to show up. Now it's entirely possible that the Avengers didn't believe this encounter would turn into a fight of this magnitude, but frankly it's not nearly as much fun as it could've been, though the final page arrival of Hawkeye did a pretty fair job of amping up my personal excitement level. As for the subplot involving Ant-Man and Jack of Hearts I can honestly say that Geoff Johns has succeeded at making both these characters thoroughly unlikeable, which I guess is a step up from the active disinterest that I held for the characters before Geoff Johns got his hands on them.
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