Written by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Spencer
Art by Stefano Caselli
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 22nd, 2014

AVENWORLD2014002_DC11_LRAfter a first issue that was huge in scope, and light on character development, Hickman & Spencer narrow the focus in Avengers World #2, as Smasher gets the spotlight in a very strong entry that shows the potential in having a third core Avengers title.

While I ultimately enjoyed the first issue of Avengers World, one of my biggest complaints was that the scope of the issue was so large, and the action jumped around from place to place so much that the story never stayed in one place enough to get any real character work done. I said that I hoped that future issues would be able to balance the scale of the threats with more in depth looks at the characters, and I’m happy to say that my hopes have been answered. The second issue brings the focus down from almost twenty Avengers spread out across the globe to one Avenger in one of the hot spots introduced in the debut issue.

Smasher, Cannonball, and Sunspot have been captured by A.I.M. in the A.I.M. Empire, and while there is a brief scene with Captain America, Bruce Banner and Maria Hill discussing how A.I.M. Island became the A.I.M. Empire and how to rescue the three captured Avengers, most of the issue is spent down on the ground. With Sam and Bobby out of commission the bulk of the issue features Izzy Kane as she gets a grand tour of the new A.I.M. Empire. Interspersed throughout the issue are flashbacks to Izzy’s childhood and the lessons that her grandfather taught her. As alluded to in one of the early issues of Avengers, Izzy Kane’s grandfather was a Golden Age superhero that fought alongside Captain America in World War II. Much of Izzy’s world view as a hero was taught to her by her grandfather, and the flashbacks do a great job in informing much of what is going through her mind in the present day scenes. They go a long way in showing why she makes some of the decisions that she does as the issue progresses while also making an already likable character even more so. By the end of the issue Smasher is given a message to deliver to the Avengers by a member of the A.I.M. High Council, and it is a phrase that will look familiar to readers that have been reading the Hickman Avengers titles, which starts to give off the feeling that everything Hickman has been doing during his time on the Avengers books are connected in one way or another.

The issue does a great job into giving insight into the the character of Isobel Kane while progressing the larger plot. Jonathan Hickman has big plans for A.I.M. As they are featured in both Avengers titles released this week, but their appearance here is much better, and I feel that is in no small part thanks to co-writer Nick Spencer who established much of the current structure of Advanced Idea Mechanics during his stint on Secret Avengers. So not only do we get to know Smasher more, but we get a better idea of what A.I.M. Is up to on their island. It is this kind of balance that was missing from the first issue and if this is what we can expect going forward, Avengers World will be where both threads from the early Hickman Avengers will carry over into, and where we will get to know these characters on a more intimate level. For readers who have faulted Hickman’s Avengers work because of the huge scope losing track of the characters, this may be the book for you.

Stefano Caselli is still on art for his second issue of the month, and this time he doesn’t have to worry about an insane amount of characters. His pencils look great, and the work of colorist Frank Martin is as good as it gets. From the flora and fauna to massive technological buildings on the highly evolved A.I.M. Empire, to the dreamlike quality of the flashback sequences the art team shines. The size, scope and beauty that A.I.M. Has accomplished on their evolved island is relayed in the script by Izzy’s reaction, but really shown and captured by the Caselli and Martin in some stunning work. I said this in the review for the first issue, but it bears repeating; Stefano Caselli has the style for a big time superhero book, and he is turning out the work of his life on what is no doubt his biggest assignment since Amazing Spider-Man.

It’s funny what difference an issue can make, as my biggest complaint from issue one was rectified almost immediately. If the book jumps around from issue to issue while telling a larger narrative that will be fine. The most important thing is that within those issues the creative team continues to balance the plot and character development as they did in in this issue. Avengers World has gone a long way with its second issue In showing that it will stand alongside of Avengers and New Avengers as the flagship titles of the Avengers line.

The Verdict: 9.5/10

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