Mind Capsules – All New, All Different Avengers #5 and Black Knight #4

All New All Different Avengers #5
All New, All Different Avengers #5

Writer – Mark Waid
Artist – Mahmud Asrar
Colours – Dave McCaig
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit

The fifth issue of the Mark Waid-helmed All New, All Different Avengers is its best issue by far as the mystery of the Vision deepens and Ms. Marvel gets kicked out of the Avengers. It all begins when the Vision decides to give himself a power upgrade, namely the ability to create holograms. The first time he uses this power is to frame Ms. Marvel so that the rest of the team thinks she is a hazard to innocent bystanders. Nova is outraged of course because he knows something is up with the Vision, yet when he tries to confront the synthezoid, he too is kicked out. Waid and Mahmud Asrar then send the Avengers against Equinox, a villain of little import who has had a major upgrade in his power levels and keeps spouting off about the Dynasty, another mystery that keeps rearing its head. This particular issue is a little light on comedy which is nice to see. There are still a couple of bits here and there and an awkward conversation between Tony and Sam which gets a chuckle, but for the most part, it is old-fashioned Avengers business. Asrar’s pencils are extremely tight in the book and with Dave McCaig’s flair for colour; the book looks as fantastic as ever. While Asrar has always been a good artist, he has really come into his own the past couple of years and his work here is some of his best ever. Though it took a few issues to get started, the book has finally found its feet and is starting to become a book that will be hard to miss. It does not have that frenetic pace, the big moments or sense of urgency that Hickman’s run did, instead catering to a more classic period in the team’s history, but it works and instead of tying into and signalling a change to the Marvel Universe at large, it is its own beast and self-contained. It will be quite interesting to see how or if some of these events play out in other titles, namely Ms. Marvel and The Vision. Seeing Marvel strengthen up their inter-title continuity would be great to see, especially if done right. This was definitely a fun story and the way the creative team left it off makes you impatient to read the next part which cannot come too soon.  All of that and an amazing cover by Alex Ross too!

4 out of 5

Black Knight #4
Black Knight #4

Writer – Frank Tieri
Artist – Luca Pizzari
Colours – Andrew Crossley, Antonio Fabela
Letters – VC’s Joe Sabino

Due to recent events, Dane Whitman – the Black Knight, now finds himself locked up and separated from his Ebony Blade. Even so, Dane is still having visions of his ancestor Percy who thinks that Dane should just kill all the Avengers and be done with it. Dane of course says no to that option and soon enough, he finds himself a free man thanks to his loyal subjects, something which the Avengers are unable to prevent. Frank Tieri has crafted a very captivating story so far, one that is more a character study than anything else, though there is a fair amount of action to be had as well. When you boil it down, this is a story about Dane Whitman and the addiction/corruption between him and the blade. It is a cursed object and he knows that it is affecting him in ways that are not wholly good, yet he also understands that it is as much a part of him as any of his limbs and that no other man can wield it safely. Tieri portrays Dane as a man who is strong in body and mind, even if he does talk to ghosts, as the man is able to rule a kingdom on a strange world and able to unite the various tribes under one banner. Even so, when the book ends, Dane is left a broken man as Steve Rogers and the rest of the Uncanny Avengers take the Ebony Sword back to Earth and leave Dane to rule his realm on Weirdworld. It is an interesting contrast, to see Dane so sure of himself during the beginning of the book and then completely humbled by its end. Luca Pizzari provides some wonderfully different pencils to most other books under the Marvel banner and draws everything from the native citizens of Weirdworld to the strange creatures that inhabit it with great aplomb. With only one issue to go before Dane’s latest adventure comes to an end, you have to wonder if he will reclaim his weapon or if he will learn to live without it.

4 out of 5

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