Review: Avengers #18
With the major Marvel event Infinity now upon us, so too comes the first major tie-in comic. What is interesting about Infinity as an event is that it is directly tied into both the Avengers and New Avengers series by Jonathan Hickman, so reading their tie-ins will certainly help to flesh out the main story line that takes place in Infinity. With that said, Avengers #18 is an excellent comic that goes through a ton of development while also showing some really powerful moments and beautiful art.
A major part of this issue deals with the return of the Skrulls for the first time in a major way since Secret Invasion. The reader is shown how since having their home worlds destroyed and being defeated in a huge way on Earth, the “Skrull Empire” is less a united people and more a collection of different factions. However, their entrance to the War Council is a well orchestrated affair, as Hickman takes us back to a conversation the Skrull leaders had previously about their course of action in regards to the Builders. Through strong characterization, the Super Skrull KL’RT is portrayed a leader amongst these men and someone who commands respect. The world weariness that is conveyed through both Hickman’s writing and Lenil Yu’s pencils effectively makes the reader actually see that this is a once proud warrior now beaten down to a shadow of his former glory. Another outstanding job is done with the Skrull General DM’YR, who gathers sympathy from the reader for being an older soldier who was once a hero to his people. The Skrulls return is a marvelous story to have, as they are shown humbled and now willing to join enemies such as the Kree and Humanity to help repel the Builder threat. The fact that Hickman can evoke sympathy for a hated enemy in the Marvel Universe such as the Skrulls speaks to how well he writes in this issue.
The rest of the issue also continues to be a well paced and excellent read. The Galactic Council is such a interesting place where space politics and other debates are usually wagered, as it has been seen in the Guardian of the Galaxy series. However, here it is refreshing to witness a collection of galactic races that don’t in-fight with one another and actually have combined to focus on the Builder threat. There is something spine-tingling about seeing all these popular Marvel creations residing in the same room and suppressing their own pride, anger, or reservations to come together. Humor is provided by some of the Avenger members such as Cannonball and Sunspot, and even mentions of Secret Invasion are brought up with characters that were hugely affected such as Jessica Drew. When it comes time for the space battles, panels light up with color while new maneuvers and attack patterns are calculated. Just the magnitude of this fight is amazing to realize, as all of the major space races are fighting together for their survival. The ending of the issue does have a resolution for the battle that took place while also leaving a cliffhanger that is sure to make the wait for the next tie-in a long one.
Lenil Yu makes a triumphant return in this issue when it comes to penciling Skrulls. His distinctive style helped to make Secret Invasion so great, and it is a welcome sight to see his uniquely designed Skrulls walk into the Galactic Council. There are some commanding panels involving the Skrulls, such as a close up shot of KL’RT’s face and eyes in the bottom of the first page that really demonstrates an emotional and yet hardened demeanor for this warrior. When General DM’YR is talking about the past, his face perfectly evokes a saddened expression of a person who once had purpose and honor. Yu’s pencils also excel in the epic space battle, which is very colorful and, though there are many different ships, it is understandable which are enemies and allies. Colorist Sunny Gho balances the diverse set of colors very well, and they do not overwhelm the reader with too much on each panel.
Avengers #18 is such a excellent comic because it is able to tell three different stories effectively, as the audience witnesses the Skrulls recent history and inclusion, the Galactic Council’s preparations for war, and the ensuing space battle that possibly could be a huge setback for the Allied galaxy races. Many tie-ins suffer from a lack of real relevance to the event they have to crossover with, but this issue actually is a part of the “Infinity” event and therefore showcases some major story lines that will most likely affect what happens in the future of the cosmic Marvel event. For those interested in “Infinity,” go pick up Avengers #18 and prepare for an example of how a comic can develop a plot while also delivering great characterization and plain fun moments.
Avengers #18 gets 5/5