Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Leinil Yu
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 25, 2013
Jonathan Hickman’s scope has not diminished at all in this book, though the pacing fell through the floor with this issue. After an explosive previous chapter, Hickman dials the action back fully and leaves readers with an issue filled entirely with discussion. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it isn’t poorly written by any means, but Avengers #20 does cool the event as a whole rather than ramp up the momentum it had been building. There is an air of “calm before the storm” inside these pages, as events are set in motion that will no doubt lead to explosive results down the line, but aside from a pair of significant moments this issue is very slow. Primer issues need to happen in an event this large, they are part of the process, but after a robust issue like Infinity #3 I can’t help but wonder if some of that action couldn’t have been held over to Avengers #20 to keep the forward momentum steady. Hickman has the major players in the cosmic battle deliver some pretty hefty speeches in this issue and it will be interesting to see the seeds planted by them grow into plot lines. Hickman’s voice for the Builders, Gladiator, and Ronan the Accuser are very strong and their prominence in this issue considering their power levels is welcomed. As is typical with Hickman, the events of this issue are definitely building to large payoffs later in the event, and anyone reading the entire event should definitely check this issue out. Pacing aside, the dialogue is well written and a couple significant events do take place.
Leinil Yu’s art suffers from the lack of action in the issue, though he provides some strong shots of the major players in this event. His layouts keep the issue as visually interesting as possible, though some pages appeared rushed compared to the quality we’ve seen from him prior to this issue. His art does not detract from the story in any manner, but it lacks some of the energy it had in previous issues. This said, the final panel of the issue is one of the strongest Yu has penciled in this entire event, using shadow brilliantly to convey all of the emotion delivered in two words.
Avengers #20 is one of those comics that will most likely read stronger in trade format when the wait for the next chapter is minimal, but as a single issue mid-way through an event it is extremely slow. The impact of the previous chapter is diminished heavily by this issue and while the momentum of this series is not stalled completely, it is slowed and that is a shame. The events within this issue will play major roles as this event progresses but as a single issue it falters. Readers of the entire Infinity event will still want to check this issue out for the events that will no doubt erupt down the line.