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Avengers #76

Posted: Saturday, January 3, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Steve Sadowski (p), Andrew Currie (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
When his daughter is kidnapped by a disturbed man who has already killed his own daughter, we see Ant-Man rushes away from the Mansion during his attempt to apologize to Jack of Hearts. However, when Ant-Man's rescue attempt goes wrong, and we see he's about to kill the man who kidnapped his daughter, we see Jack of Hearts arrives to stop him. We then see the explosive Avenger manages to redeem himself in the eyes of Ant-Man, when he kills himself and the kidnapper.

Comments:
Since I'm running a bit behind on my reviews and I've already seen the identity of the Avenger who dies in this issue discussed quite freely online I'm not overly concerned that I might be spoiling the surprise when I reveal that it's Jack of Heart that fights his last fight in this issue. Out of all the Avengers who I didn't want to die Jack of Hearts was pretty much at the bottom of this list, as frankly Geoff Johns made very little effort to make the character even the slightest bit likeable. I mean he was short-tempered, prone to take everything the wrong way, and frankly the only significant role he was given during Geoff Johns' run was to provide the quick fix solution to the She-Hulk crisis. Now don't get me wrong I tend to be rather fond of the jerks as Guy Gardner was one of my favorite characters in the DCU in the late 80s, early 90s, and Hawkeye and Quicksilver are pretty much permanent fixtures on my favorite Avengers list. However in order for these characters to work the writers have to do more than simply show the character being jerks, as Guy has some fantastic moments during their Giffen/Dematteis Justice League run where we see there's more layers to the character, and Peter David made me a fan of Quicksilver with an equally impressive moment in an issue of X-Factor where the character was in session with Doc Samson. Jack of Hearts dies in this issue and my only reaction was that I was glad it was him and not an Avenger that I actually have a vested interest in.

As for the art, Steve Sadowski doesn't turn in his best work as he had a far tighter style over on the JSA, and this has me thinking that perhaps Andrew Currie isn't the best match for Steve Sadowski's pencils. Now the art does a pretty effecting job of making Ant-Man's arrival into something that would put a good scare in the villain, and the ensuing fight between Scott and the man who kidnapped his daughter does have a nice sense of energy to it. I'll also credit the art for capturing the violent intensity of Jack of Heart's power, with the scene where he vaporizes the gun as well as the man's hand being a particularly effective display. As for the big explosion that signals the character's death, it wasn't all that bad though the scene does seem to be crying out for a sound effect. I also want to make mention of the cover, which does a great job of capturing the grief of the Avengers, while leaving an ominous hint as to what members are left on the chopping block.

Final Word:
Now that I've made it clear that I wasn't a fan of Jack of Hearts I'll now proceed to deliver why I found this issue to be a clear cut case of a writer throwing together an issue to finish out his contract. I mean the Avengers have a member who is essentially a walking time bomb that can destroy an entire city, and they display a woeful lack of concern when there's only a couple minutes left on the clock before he explodes and he's still not anywhere near the zero room. We also have an encounter where the Avengers seem to feel it's an exceptionally smart idea to turn one’s back on a crazed man with a gun, and in one of the most unsettling moments I've come across in the pages of the Avengers Geoff Johns seems to feel that because the group calls itself the Avengers this gives the characters the freedom to kill the criminals. Still a bad issue by Geoff Johns is still going to be heads above what I imagine Chuck Austen is going to offer up, but still it's a shame to see Geoff Johns leave the title on such a sour note.



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