Review: Avengers #18

Guess who's not in this issue?  Everybody on the cover but Steve Rogers.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Avengers #18

So we’re having another transitional Avengers issue. Another time when the Avengers have gone through some kind of trial and tribulation and now that it is over they have to regroup and decide who shall carry on as an Avenger. Ever since Avengers Disassembled it’s become the fall back position of Avengers books to give us a random issue dealing with the team dealing with the team. Avengers #18 is that issue. So what will the Avengers do in a post-Fear Itself world? Apparently, like the New Avengers, they’ll battle Norman Osborn.

I’ll give Avengers 18 this; it introduces an element that makes the whole Norman Osborn idea at least passably interesting. Starting way back at Civil War, Bendis jumps from major event to major event as seen through the eyes of a rather industrious medical technician, who steals examples superhero DNA (hair, blood, etc) from the aftermath of various conflicts. That’s pretty much where the interesting points end. The rest of issue is filled with the Avengers and New Avengers now living in the old Avengers mansion because the new Avengers tower fell during Fear Itself. All of the Avengers mill about, eat cake, drink coffee and talk about the future.

During the luncheon Ben Grimm breaks down and talks about the horror of being possessed by the God Of Fear and how he feels responsible. There’s a bit where Mockingbird stares down Spider-Woman because of her “thing” with Hawkeye. Bendis even offers up a comical exchange between Jarvis and Master Wong. Finally, Captain America asks, “Who will be an Avenger?” – because, once again, the team is in turmoil. Issue #18 ends with the industrious medical technician telling Norman Osborn and his cronies that she has DNA from every superhero ever. I’m figuring this will somehow tie in to Osborn’s new Dark Avengers.

While not a bad issue, Avengers #18 is a disappointment for a few reasons. The obvious one is that we get another Avengers group therapy session, another question of who will be on the Avengers. At this point, does it matter? Pretty much every hero walking gets to be on the Avengers, so who ever is in this week doesn’t matter. Secondly, I was hoping the whole Osborn thing would stay locked into the New Avengers but no, we now get two separate Avengers teams battling the fall back position of evil in the Marvel Universe. I’ve heard Bendis is the highest selling writer in comics. Not a hard thing to do when every character in the Marvel Universe is jammed into his two teams.

The art from Daniel Acuña is good, a more fine art approach to the book than John Romita Jr. Acuña’s art works particularly well here because Avengers #18 is a stagnant issue. There isn’t much movement or action, so you’re really stuck focusing on the art itself, which is quite beautiful. If Avengers becomes more action oriented, which I hope, I’m thinking Romita Jr. would be a better choice.  Though it has a lot of positive elements to it, Avengers #18 is another issue in the continuing decline of the individuality of the Avengers.