Voyager's back story and the bad guys arrive in Avengers #676 (No Surrender part 2)

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Avengers #676 - No Surrender Part 2

Written by: Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub
Art by: Pepe Larraz
Colored by: David Curiel
Lettered by: VC’s Cory Petiit

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!


Summary: This issue starts with Beast examining Jarvis, who was severely injured in the last issue.  He does a bioscan and realizes “Something’s very, very wrong…”

Back at Avengers Mansion, we get a quick recap of the many events Voyager she had been retconned into Avengers history.  Back in Avengers 70 when Kang and the Grandmaster had put the Avengers into battle with the Squadron Sinister, Voyager had been fighting Victory the Electromagnetic Man.  Their powers collided in a way that had made it seem like they had both been disintegrated, but Voyager reveals that she had been knocked out of phase with the universe.  When Earth had been stolen in the current crisis, that jolted her back into phase when the Avengers needed her most.

While the Avengers are trying to work out where Earth is and how to fix things, in Egypt the Black Order have arrived and have been tasked with fighting a new Lethal Legion. After a brief skirmish, two unknown figures tell them that they are not allowed to fight until the pyramoid has been activated.  The Black Order decide to use this time to take clear Earth of its “unique defensive properties.” The arrivey at Avengers Mansion and blow the place up with all the heroes still inside.


Review: I really liked how they integrated Voyager into Avengers’ history.  It definitely helped that Pepe Larraz mimicked the art style from these classic stories.  Not to mention the editor’s notes. If the reader didn’t know any better, you could easily believe that Voyager had been there the whole time.  

I also loved that they created a Squadron Sinister version of Triumph for Voyager to fight.  I had mentioned Triumph in my “Who is Voyager?” column.  During DC’s Zero Hour event, Triumph was revealed to be a founding member of the Justice League that had been wiped from existence and everyone’s memory during an early outing with the team.  If nothing else, Marvel is acknowledging that this was at least partial inspiration for Voyager’s entire character.  By the way, Mark Waid also created Triumph back in the day.

To be honest, I’ve never really gotten into the Black Order.  I don’t particularly like Robert Hickman’s work, and these characters have always felt interchangeable for me.  I couldn't tell you Corvus Glaive from Proxima Midnight.  And they are facing off against a new version of the Lethal Legion which is basically made up of all new characters. The Avengers have a lot of great villains, and seeing these two groups square off did nothing for me.  But to be fair, we still have a long way to go in No Surrender.  The story seems to be more about who is pulling the strings here than the Black Order and The Lethal Legion, so I am willing to give the story time to develop before I judge it too harshly.

I will say that one thing No Surrender has done very well so far is they have made everything feel very epic.  From natural disasters to all the Avengers gathered together, not to mention very powerful villains, you definitely feel like this story is worthy of being called an event.  But at the same time, there are plenty of great character moments to keep everything grounded.  It’s also been curious to see the main Avengers leaders trying to defer to Voyager, who doesn’t seem to want the job at all.  

I also like the mysteries we’ve gotten so far.  What’s up with Jarvis?  Why did certain heroes and seemingly all the villains get thrown in stasis?  Who stole Earth and why are the Black Order and Lethal Legion fighting each other?  No Surrender manages to really make me care about the answers to these questions, which is exactly what a good story needs to do.

By the way, I am thinking that the current Jarvis is maybe a Life Model Decoy and that the real Jarvis has been dead a while. Marvel does like bringing the comics in line with the movies, and in the movies, Jarvis has been an AI since the original Iron Man movie. We had found out a while back that Dum Dum Duggan had long been replaced with a series of LMD's, and I was curious if that had happened to anyone else. This seems like a real apt place to do it.

Like I said last issue, Pepe Larraz’s art is a huge selling point here.  He really adds to the epicness of the story, but at the same time, he was also able to very convincingly mimic Jack Kirby and Sal Buscema when trying to place Voyager into Avengers’ history.  I would love for him to have drawn this entire story, but it looks like different artists are doing each 4-issue block.  I just hope they can keep the art at this high level.


Avengers: No Surrender continues to keep me excited as a reader.  I don’t exactly like the Black Order or this new Lethal Legion, but they just seem to be there to get us to bigger things to come.  This issue featured great art and a lot of terrific character moments. Plus, they managed to integrate Voyager into Avengers history without being overbearing.  It’s not easy to balance all those things, but No Surrender is making it look easy.

 

 


 



Title:

Avengers #676

Written By:

Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub

Art By:

Pepe Larraz

Company:

Marvel

Price:

$3.99

Pros:

  • Storytelling on a real epic scale here

  • The flashback sequences were very well done

  • Art continues to impress

Cons:

  • I am not really sure I want to read a story featuring the Black Order and this new Lethal Legion.

Is it worth your $3.99?

Yes!  One of the best comic book events I’ve ever read.  Manages to keep things balanced and the story moving along at a great pace.  We still have a long way to go, but so far Avengers: No Surrender feels like a real winner to me.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0