Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Leinil Francis Yu
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 11, 2013
In Avengers #19, Hickman follows the Carol Danvers team into a dark and confusing place as the cold and calculating nature of the Builders is on full display. Hickman lays the goal of the Builders right out there for readers in this issue, dropping a bomb many saw coming with great weight and precision. While the revelation wasn’t completely unexpected by any means, the skill with which Hickman delivers the payload is exceptional and carries a lot of weight in this issue. What astounded me in this issue is how well Hickman is writing so many characters. I’m talking dozens of characters, each with a clear voice in this mega-event, each bringing their own unique spin to the events that are dominating so many books right now. From the Skrulls to Avengers to the builders themselves, Hickman gives every character a strong voice that justifies why they are in this event rather than making them feel like page filler. Ex Nihilo has grown to be a fascinating character over the course of this Hickman journey, and his counterpart, Ex Nihila is a fantastic blend of creepy, calculating and down right cold and evil. The story of Avengers #19 has completely sold me on this being a truly galactic threat worthy of not just the Avengers, but also the Galactic Council, making the scope of this issue and event as a whole completely epic. The pacing of this issue is fantastic, building to those epic moments while ramping up tension with every single letter in every phrase in the comic. This comic is brimming with tension and Hickman delivers one hell of a final page to make the wait for the next issue of this event unbearable. He is known for his long-form planning and stories with a massive scope, but he is delivering in every way with Avengers #19. Singular character moments to grand planning, politics and machinations, he is simply writing on another level.
Hickman’s work on this issue is exceptional, and Leinil Francis Yu matches his quality admirably. Yu delivers on everything that could possibly be asked of him: emotion pouring out of characters, despair, epic battles, chaos, and some of the coldest foes ever seen in the Marvel Universe. Yu’s Builders are an eerie lot, powerful and lacking emotion to the point of appearing psychotic. Yu’s layouts keep the tension high and the story moving in this issue, providing interesting visuals to balance some of the more dialogue heavy pages. The flow of the issue is fantastic and Yu hits all the right beats to ensure maximum impact at several points of the issue. He still pencils a Skrull like nobody else can, and handles the massive cast very well. His work is simply superb, and fits the tone of this script and event brilliantly.
Avengers #19 does everything right. Individual characters are given the right moments, tension is built up even higher than before, and a huge cliffhanger provides the perfect finish to a brilliantly crafted issue. Hickman is on fire and his work with Yu is proving these two need to do something together after Infinity concludes.
The Verdict: 10/10