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Avengers #75

Posted: Monday, December 15, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Scott Kolins

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
With Hawkeye's plan of unleashing the Hulk to keep the rampaging She-Hulk occupied turning into an even more dangerous situation we see the Avengers are working to keep this from getting too out of hand. However, seeing the fight is moving beyond their ability to contain, Iron Man comes up with a fairly risky plan that involves bringing Jack of Hearts on scene to explode and then reabsorb the energies he unleashed, which also acts to restore She-Hulk to her normal condition.

Comments:
The Hulk versus She-Hulk sounds like a promising bout, and it certainly starts off strong, as I rather enjoyed the Avengers reaction to the plan that Hawkeye came up with for the situation. However, by presenting both She-Hulk and the Hulk as intellectually challenged, this serious-minded battle becomes a bit goofy, as their conversation reads like Geoff Johns is trying for some kind of comedy routine. I also found the ending involving Jack of Hearts to be a bit convenient, and the moment he arrived on the scene Geoff Johns seems to feel the ideal rewarding finish to offer to the readers is to have the entire crisis solved with a single action, as not only are both the Hulk and She-Hulk rendered unconscious, but She-Hulk's power control issues are fixed as well. Now I'm a big Hawkeye fan so I enjoyed the sections of the issue that centered around the character, with his final page declaration that he's rejoining the team being a very welcome moment, even if he's rejoined the team just in time to be written by Chuck Austen. However, I found myself a bit unimpressed by this issue in spite of it's bringing Hawkeye back into the fold, and I found the ending to be particularly irksome, as there's a moment where She-Hulk looks at the damage her rampage did, and instead of taking responsibility for it, we see her take the cowardly way out by letting Banner take the undeserved credit, and what's more Captain America encourages this unheroic behavior.

As for the art, Scott Kolins is in his element when he's called upon to deliver the massive damage that the Hulk and She-Hulk are able to generate during their fight, as the opening sequence where Hawkeye is sent flying when the ground beneath his feet is reduced to rubble is nicely presented, as is the panel where Iron Man is tagged by a right hook from She-Hulk. Now the big moment of the issue where Jack of Heart's detonates is a bit weak, as instead of an massive explosion that truly conveys a sense of power, we get a giant dust cloud that is dominated by a sound-effect. The art does a nice job showing the devastation that She-Hulk caused though, and it was this shot of the town that left me largely annoyed by the choice She-Hulk made, or rather the one Geoff Johns had her make to give his story its conflict-free resolution. This issue also manages to answer the question of whether Hawkeye would ever stand a chance against the Hulk, when the art shows us what happens when Hawkeye targets the Hulk's eyes.

Final Word:
The main selling point of this issue is the battle between the Hulk and She-Hulk, with the Avengers thrown into the middle of this chaos to make things interesting. However, Geoff Johns missed to boat on this fight because he offered up She-Hulk in a severely dumbed down state, so what we have instead is a rather silly conversation between two dimwitted opponents, and to make matters worse the focus is never really centered on the fight, with the big ending coming about as the result of a third party arriving with the perfect solution. This also feels like an story arc that really was all that well thought through either as there's a scene at the end where She-Hulk makes a decision that goes against everything the Avengers are supposed to stand for, and Captain America is standing beside her actively encouraging her decision. However, the one redeeming feature of this issue is that it does act as a pretty solid reminder of how much fun Hawkeye can be as a member of the Avengers, and I'm delighted by the prospect of his return. I mean his opening conversation alone is worth the price of admission for Hawkeye fans.



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