From Quasar to Red Skull coming back, the finale of Avengers: Standoff really tried to leave its mark with this finale issue from writer Nick Spencer and art from Daniel Acuna.
While this issue has its strong moments (some really strong ones), it still feels like an extended promo. Instead of showing how important the actions taking place are, the characters are talking about it.
I'm sorry, but I don't need Steve Rogers narrating how he thinks this battle is a story "we'll bore our grandkids with someday." I want to see it, I want to feel it.
Let me veer off the road to prove a point for a moment.
You know how people are weirdly terrified of Jared Leto's Joker? It's not because of Leto or the character, it's because he has things like "damaged" tattooed on his f*cking forehead. We don't need to be told how to feel or react.
That's the most frustrating thing about this issue. There are tense moments, there are dark moments and there are moving ones; but it all gets bogged down when we are told just how important this is.
These moments of brilliance I speak of are connected to the early build of Zemo. The dude is literally just casually walking around blasting S.H.I.E.L.D agent's brains out. But, we go from this brutally effective build to Zemo wondering in a winter wasteland being laughed at as a joke.
While this helped accomplish a quick-and-easy re-build of Red Skull, it left me feeling a little cheated from buying into Zemo as a legitimate threat.
It's not your job to tell us what's important and what's not. It's our job, the reader/customer, to tell you what's important.
Back to this book:
I swear I enjoyed this book, but it was so frustratingly close to being something special. I set it down happy, but confused.
Captain America is back, and just like Spider-Man, there is about to be two active versions. That's fine, and the lead-in and payoff to that moment worked very well. Rogers led the Avengers into battle and served as Mr. Pep Rally while Sam Wilson was painted as this push-over, Captain America fanboy.
In a way it's satisfying, but yet still frustrating to see Wilson's run as lone Cap come to such a expected yet surprisingly swift halt.
Either way, Spencer gets the reigns of Steve Rogers at a very important time. OG Cap is back, but how does he split the duties between Rogers and Wilson?
We also get several lead-ins built including Thunderbolts, Maria Hill possibly being ousted and Zemo's imprisonment of Dr. Selvig.
The highlights of this book include anything concerning Kobik and Kraven the Hunter picnic parties. The art is fantastic and while there is a lot going on, Acuna shows off his ability in making each character seem different, special and unique.
I love the way he inks Steve Rogers. There is this old ball coach feel to him whenever he barks out marching orders. I'm a big fan.
Spencer got to make a splash with the return of Quasar and Red Skull, and the return of the Hydra leader was extremely satisfying. The build to Avengers vs. Hydra will never get old if writer's keep figuring out ways to build it up like this.
Next up, the Avengers and Captain Americas will have their hands full with a new incarnation of Hydra and, of course, Civil War II.
Rating: 8/10 I swear I enjoyed this book, but it was so frustratingly close to being something special. I'm sorry, but I don't need Steve Rogers narrating how he thinks this battle is a story "we'll bore our grandkids with someday." I want to see it, I want to feel it.