“Lionheart Of Avalon, Part 4”
Writer: Chuck Austen
Artists: Olivier Coipel (P), Andy Lanning (I)
An eventful issue, “Lionheart of Avalon, Part 4” by Chuck Austen and Olivier Coipel resurrects a hero, reveals Thunderball’s secret, demonstrates why the Scarlet Witch is an Avenger, and hints that Hawkeye’s arrows may actually be valuable treasure. Yet, despite the rapid plot progression, this AVENGERS issue is again afflicted with sloppy and overly-contrived storytelling as the Wrecking Crew endeavors to escape from the horribly clueless Avengers.
It seems that Austen is so focused on reaching certain plot points in this story-arc that he neglects the journey to these points. And although the plot points are interesting, readers receive a jumpy narrative, one that tries to make us believe that certain events can occur although the logic leading up to these events is sketchy, at best. For example, one plot point asks readers to accept that the Avengers fear for the Wasp’s safety whenever she’s alone with Yellowjacket. In one scene, while hiding her face, the Wasp must reassure her teammates that her ex-husband didn’t just beat her. Now, the renewed tension between the ex-spouses is completely plausible, but Austen goes a little too far—taking one hit that occurred many years ago, and multiplying that one hit into an occurrence that is common enough for the Avengers to still be actively distrustful of Yellowjacket—a hero, long ago forgiven and accepted back into their ranks. Again, Austen seems determined to make a point but provides little support for that point.
More problematic narrative occurs when the Wrecking Crew leisurely meanders out of the mansion. They argue and take their time, even dragging an unconscious Hawkeye, rather than carrying him and running to freedom. And their escape is only noticed because the Wasp happens to be looking out the window. Now, is it that easy for villains to escape—undetected—from a mansion belonging to Tony Stark? Unlikely. Next, upon seeing the escapees, the Wasp immediately grows to giant-size, busting open the entire side of the mansion and sending her teammates falling from the building. Clearly, the Wasp is angry and willing to do heavy damage in order to save Hawkeye. Yet, when she reaches the Wrecking Crew, she merely hugs onto the escape-jet, rather than snapping it in two or ripping open the roof in order to pull Hawkeye to safety. The Wasp’s passion and incompetence here are, again, hard to accept.
Onto smaller sloppy areas—Thunderball is shown dragging Hawkeye across the mansion grounds but then asks for the Wrecker to hand him the unconscious archer; after the jet crashes, Thunderball is first to rise from the wreckage although it would seem that the Wasp in her giant form and with her positioning during the crash would be the least affected person and, thus, would rise before Thunderball; and though the Scarlet Witch was left far behind when the fight moved to a nearby town, she inexplicably catches up to Thunderball. In short, this issue is so full of far-fetched and inconsistent storytelling, that it’s difficult to fully enjoy the rather interesting developments and beautiful art.
Coipel’s art, in fact, is very impressive, especially in its character details and lively action. The Scarlet Witch is particularly well drawn, with exquisite attention to her hair and features. And even though the Wasp’s jet ride is silly in principle, it looks exciting.
Overall, the credibility of this story-arc continues to be questionable because of Austen’s lack of attention to detail and lack of logical narrative progression. Readers reach intriguing plot points, but the experience is too jarring, too contrived. Fortunately, the art partially compensates and there are a few promising developments for the upcoming story-arc finale.
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