I have not read an Avengers comic in awhile. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest is that I have been more excited about DC Comics than Marvel lately. The second reason, by no means insignificant, is that Fear Itself really slogged a lot of the Marvel titles. It was a not a good event and because so many Marvel titles were tie-ins or caught up in that event, it messed up the energy and momentum of a number of titles.
Anyway, #19 is the second to come from the event without the Fear Itself banner. #18 was okay, but honestly, by the time I read this one, I had long forgotten the contents of #18. The cover for #19 was done by Daniel Acuna; the writing continues to be done by Brian Michael Bendis. When I first glanced at the cover, I thought the art had been done by Howard Chaykin (whose art I do not like.) However, I learned that it was done by Acuna and I have given it some deeper examination. I like the white background. I realized that the white background really stands out among other issues because it looks so clean and bright. However, the characters are actually outlined in a light blue color. I’m not sure what this is about – maybe to make the transition from white to the other colors better? I am no artist, but somehow these outlines look odd to me. Also, well, I don’t like the layout of the cover, although Captain America is in a rather traditional pose.
The issue starts off in Rikers Island Maximum Security Penitentiary – the Raft – where Norman Osborn has recently escaped. I confess that I do not remember this from previous issues, but it’s not exactly a surprising thing. Anyway, we are introduced to Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daisy Johnson who has been specifically assigned (by Captain America) to root out the situation at The Raft. Again, I know better, but I thought this was Maria Hill. Oops. Do all female S.H.I.E.L.D. agents look the same and have the same attitudes?
Meanwhile, the media has gathered outside of Avengers Mansion for an announcement by the Avengers regarding the roster of the team. We see Captain America trying to recruit Black Panther, who turns him down but suggests that his wife (Storm) be included. Storm gets a full-page entrance, surrounded by the falling leaves of the back courtyard of the mansion. She should, I think, be given a nice entrance, but I find the odd “confetti” leaves a bit odd. Tony Stark has a surprise, too. He reintroduces The Vision – the robot of the old, old Avengers teams. Everyone is surprised, but happy to see Vision. But the best moment is when Vision sees Red Hulk; Red Hulk’s reaction to Vision is also funny. It’s fun to see Red Hulk in these awkward moments. All of these frames, drawn out of doors in sunshine, make the comic have a lighter, brighter appeal to it. After all, Fear Itself (and plenty of other storylines) have been very dark and heavy. It’s nice to not be reading a comic taking place in a basement-bunker at night.
Victoria Hand is there to “liaison” and the team steps out in front of the media on a stage. The frame with all of the Avengers there before the media is pretty standard – I feel like every so often we see some variant of this frame. It would actually be sort of interesting to collect and look at all the frames that have the Avengers on the stage before the media. Anyway, this one is done fine, nothing too remarkable about it. However, guess who is in the crowd? None other than Norman Osborn!
Easter Egg: Last frame – on the microphone the newsman holds out toward Norman Osborn are the letters CBR – presumably standing for Comic Book Resources (www.comicbookresources.com).
Overall, the issue is standard fare – nothing at all amazing to it. The art is clean and matches the story. Acuna does draw a good Captain America. He also uses bold primary colors, which gives the issue a solid feel to it. The writing? Well, again, we’ll just have to see where Bendis is going to take this storyline. However, on its own, there’s nothing remarkable that makes me know it’s Bendis as opposed to someone else.