Review: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #22

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #22
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Warren Ellis
Art by Matteo Buffagni
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 18, 2013

AVNASS2012022_DC11_LRNot enough people rave about this title, in my opinion. It’s the ideal team book: short-ish adventures, utilizing unique combinations of characters, loosely tied in to the events of the greater universe but focused enough to be appreciated and understood on its own. This issue brings us further into the Inhumanity event, which is nicely summed up in the recap. Spider-Girl’s quest to find her teacher, a victim of terrigenesis, continues. She is joined by Spider-Woman, Black Widow, and assorted AIM henchmen. The big bad is Dr. June Covington, a.k.a. the Toxic Doxie, whom the internets tell me was created by the writers of this very issue a few years back.

I’ve been reading a lot of heavy books lately, and this was a lovely palette cleanser without being completely mindless. The beats are a little more plot-driven than character driven, but there’s no shortage of fantastic character moments. Whether it was DeConnick or Ellis who came up with the Bruce Banner limo scene (I’m guessing DeConnick), it was inspired. And, because Warren Ellis’s name is on the cover, the story turns on a new development related to technology, genetics and the surveillance state. I don’t know for certain that he came up with that particular plot point, but it smells like him (see also: Transmetropolitan, Black Summer, even the episode of Justice League Unlimited he wrote).

Bonus points to whoever designed Dr. Covington’s snappy outfit. Again, the internets tell me she used to dress like the Scarlet Witch for some reason. Red bustier plus pink tights are a no-no in my book, but then I harbor deep affection for the attire of many Silver Age villains so I probably have little to no room to judge. Buffagini, Diaz and Woodard deliver clean lines and bright colors. I also dug the visual effect in the genetics lab at the end of the issue.

Throw in a Zelda joke that is extra fun for lovers of both beloved Nintendo franchises and early 20th Century American authors, and you have a really solid tie-in that is easy to follow and enjoyable to read. Avengers Assemble has been very accessible throughout the multitude of crossovers this year, especially the tie-ins written by DeConnick herself. It’s nice, as a newer reader, to be able to play in the Avengers sandbox without having to undertake the mammoth homework assignment of catching up on the main Avengers titles (I’ll get there…eventually). The book, and this issue, are everything a fun superhero comic should be: clever, thoughtful, kinetic, and bright.

The Verdict: 8.0/10

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