All-New, All-Different Avengers #10
Writer – Mark Waid
Artist – Mahmud Asrar
Colours – Dave McCaig
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit
The Avengers have been captured by Annihilus after having been drawn into the Negative Zone while trying to help a group of aliens amidst their search for Nova’s father. Our heroes are in a pitiable state with only Thor in any kind of shape to face off against the enemy though a few more remain free and the youngest recruits finding themselves the only Avengers in chains. It looks like Annihilus wants to once more expand his empire into our universe and thus the reason our heroes find themselves in the predicament they are in. Nova feels like he is to blame, after all, the only reason any of them are here is that they are looking for his dad, but he does have a plan to get free and so too does Tony, all it requires is a little teamwork. Mahmud Asrar brings Mark Waid’s story to life and it is filled with a few little character moments, but more than anything a lot of action. There is one moment that will thrill long-time Marvel readers, specifically when Tony discovers just how it is that Annihilus is going to achieve his plans and then there is another that is exceptionally mind-boggling, again involving Tony and the means he went to save the Vision and defeat their opponent. Tony might be a futurist and a pretty smart guy, but it seems a little far-fetched that he could rewire alien tech to do what he needs as easy as he did. Possible, but silly. The story is left on a cliff-hanger of course, Annihilus not being particularly defeated and it leaves the fate of one hero up in the air. This latest jaunt into space by the Avengers is definitely different from the norm, our heroes usually going in style and more as a police force than anything else. Here, they have already lost their ship and have been defeated by circumstances more than once and it makes things just a little refreshing to see. Always being the unbeatable force tends to get a little stale after a while, so it was nice to see Waid shake things up a little and show that there are forces stronger than our team, even if some of it was simply bad luck. At the end of the day, this was a fun, straightforward story that fully entertained.
3.5 out of 5
Doctor Strange #9
Writer – Jason Aaron
Artist – Chris Bachalo
Inker – Mark Irwin, John Livesay, Victor Olazaba, Al Vey, Tim Townsend, Jamie Mendoza
Colours – Java Tartaglia, Chris Bachalo
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit
The Last Days of Magic rumbles on by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo and it finds Zelma and Wong welcoming former magic users to the Temple of the Secret Defenders. The explanation behind what Wong has been doing in this place is finally revealed and while it might have seemed duplicitous at first, it was all to help out his master, Stephen Strange. Wong’s motivations were pure, for without him, there is a good chance that Stephen might have failed in the past where he had succeeded. As it is, what Wong is doing requires sacrifice and usually that of the ultimate kind. It is something that Stephen cannot abide and no matter how strong the Empirikul might be, he will not fight them at the cost that has been paid until now. In this particular issue, Aaron paints Strange quite differently from what we have seen of late. Here, Stephen is a determined man, strong and forthright and one who knows that sometimes you have to put finesse aside in favour of the hammer. From the first issue, Aaron has also continued to propagate the mystery of what has been hiding in the basement of his Sanctorum, something he cannot let up as it is not only immensely powerful, but evil as well and could cause untold destruction if let loose. As it stands, the Empirikul have unknowingly done so and it spells trouble, not only for them, but for everybody. It is a creature made of pain and as it is, that is all that it knows. The Empirikul, no matter how powerful they are, have never faced something like it before. Stephen has, but if he has to face the both of them, there is a good choice that he will not make it out of the confrontation. Bachalo once again provides some spectacular pencils, aided and abetted by an army of inkers and to say that the man was born to draw this book is a statement that would be hard to prove otherwise. By the end of this story, the level of excitement has never been higher the conclusion to this arc cannot come fast enough.
4 out of 5