Review: AVENGERS #16

AVENGERS #16
Written by Nick Spencer, Jonathan Hickman
Art by Stefano Caselli
Release Date: July 17, 2013

AVEN2012016_DC11_LRAvengers is storming toward Infinity, with many of the threads Hickman has been spinning from the beginning tying together in a knot of glory and mayhem.

Glory and mayhem. Two of my favourite words have come together to describe this issue of Avengers so well. The pot is starting to boil over and all of a sudden the epic “Avengers World” team seems all too small for what they will be up against. Spencer and Hickman bring the thunder in issue #16, brilliantly ramping up the tension that has been building since the first panel of this new volume, and adding in new elements that immediately take a bad situation and make it supremely worse. Spencer’s pacing in this issue is perfect, moving from huge battles to intense conversations to the machinations of A.I.M. and hitting every beat along the way. This is a comic with one of those rare balances of action, dialogue and intrigue, and one of the best single issues I have ever read with Spencer’s name on it. This comic reads like an epic film, building slowly an unleashing toward the end, leading to an absolute must-read issue #17. I was also struck by how well Spencer has worked in Hickman’s world. The dialogue between Starbrand and Adam is dead on how Hickman was writing these characters, which is no easy feat when you think of the somewhat-out-there concepts those particular characters are dealing with. With the double-shipping and grand plan of Hickman any slip in character during Spencer’s time on Avengers would have stuck out like a sore thumb, but it was smooth and unnoticeable, which is to be commended.

Complimenting Spencer’s strong writing in this issue is Stefano Caselli’s jaw dropping art. Caselli is quickly becoming a heavyweight in the Marvel ranks and his work in this issue is a great example of how this talented man is ready for an event book to call his own. Caselli does a fantastic job capturing the grand scope that is the Avengers and his layouts and style give this comic the feeling like it is being pulled directly from the film universe (in a good way, not just photo-realism). Caselli deftly builds toward exciting & tense moments throughout the issue, unleashing fantastic splash panels and interesting layouts to capitalize on the big moments within the script brilliantly. His style matches the tone of the script perfectly and his extremely high quality work makes this comic shine.

Avengers #16 is a fantastic example of why Avengers is the flagship book of the Marvel Universe. There is no bigger comic in the publisher’s line at the moment, and the drive toward Infinity is getting more interesting by the page. Spencer’s work with Hickman’s overarching plan is some of the best he has done in the Marvel U, and Caselli’s art takes the comic to the next level. This is a must read comic for readers looking for the most epic book Marvel has to offer.

Verdict: 10/10

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