Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Salvador Larroca
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 30, 2014
For a comic that largely takes place in a single room, Jonathan Hickman writes one hell of a tense comic. When written well, Bruce Banner is a brilliant, yet volatile, character and Hickman dials right into the core of what makes Banner great and the most dangerous man on Earth in this issue. Spoiler warning: the vast majority of the comic is a standoff between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner regarding the events of New Avengers thus far. There is a lot of bad blood between the group who headlines the New Avengers title and the Hulk, going back a lot of years, and while Hickman doesn’t delve too deep into the continuity to keep it readable for new readers, that underlying rage within Banner is palpable. Let’s face it, there is no other character as scary when angry as Bruce Banner, so every single page feels like a nuclear bomb ready to detonate at any second. Above and beyond the tension and spot-on dialogue, I really enjoyed Hickman’s take on Banner. Often times he is shown as being hyper intelligent but not working on the major issues typically handled by Richards, Stark, etc. and Hickman shows just how brilliant Banner is in this issue. He also throws in some clever twists that lead to a moment that was quite surprising and a shift in the status quo of both Avengers and New Avengers. Avengers once again feels like it is going places after being in a bit of rut, and while there isn’t a ton of action in this book, it is an intense read with a great cliffhanger.
Salvador Larroca delivers his best art yet during this stint on Avengers, keeping that ever present tension high in the characters’ faces. After his long run on Invincible Iron Man it is obvious he is comfortable with Tony, but Larroca does a really good job of making Banner look like a man on the brink of madness, ready to Hulk out at any given second. Tony’s arrogance and aloof nature spills from the panels he is in, and Larroca sells the gravity of the situation very well. This is some of the best work Larroca has done since his time on Invincible Iron Man, and the colour work from Frank Martin really sharpens these pencils and caps the visuals in this issue off nicely.
Avengers is firing on all cylinders again and there is an aura in this comic that Hickman is priming for something big again. This is an issue over 40 in the making when you consider New Avengers, and it was really satisfying to read this conflict. Avengers #28 is a tense bit of character work, but Hickman and Larroca do it very well and I highly recommend you check this issue out.
The Verdict: 8.0/10