REVIEW: Avengers #2 – “Limbo”

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AVENGERS #2
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Mike del Mundo
Colorist: Mike del Mundo & Marco D’Alfonso

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 12/7/16

After the youngest members departed to form Champions, the current team of Avengers is down to six. Or seven, if you include Spider-Man. But once Vision’s plot to kidnap the villain Kang as a baby results in dozens of paradoxical Kangs ready to turn the plan around on the Avengers themselves, the team may soon be down to zero.

Plot: Now that Kang has traveled back through the time stream to kill the Avengers as children, the lot of them have been transported to Limbo. It turns out that at least one future version of Kang has seen the error of his ways and wishes to help correct the consequences of Vision’s choices and his own. But how can they keep themselves alive on Earth if they technically no longer exist there? Looks like a job for Hercules!

Story: Regardless of how easily time travel story lines can become convoluted, the one thing they must have to be compelling is solid character work. Thankfully Mark Waid delves into each Avenger as an individual from the start, giving them each a distinct voice that fans can relate to as well as making everyone stand out to new readers.

The character who needs the most introduction in the context of the recent Marvel universe is probably Hercules, which is why it’s so fitting that the first arc of this Avengers run sends him on a solo mission to rescue the others. While learning more about him and his past, the issue also focuses on the rest of the team interacting with one another in Limbo. This juxtaposition further cements the relationship dynamics that draw readers in while making room to focus on one character in particular.

Both sides of the story come together perfectly, as what appears to be a passing moment on Earth ends up being crucial to those trapped in Limbo. The final twist, meanwhile, sets up an important task for another new member: Nadia Pym. It’s a testament to Waid’s storytelling skills that these characters already seem as familiar as their predecessors.

Art: This style of art is not one I’m immediately used to, but the almost faded lines and pastel colors feel perfectly suited to Avengers‘ opening arc. Just as the dialogue helps each character stand out and justifies why they need to exist, the light penciling seems in danger of snuffing them out like Kang. 

Despite the ethereal quality of Mike del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso’s work, the detail that goes into every panel is astounding. When Hercules walks into Sybil’s office and demands to speak with her, his ripped shirt and and smug smile tell readers as much about him as his assured words do. And even background characters, like the secretary below, provide a tapestry of riches in a single facial expression.

With the over-saturation of team up books in the world of comics, it’s fitting that the art of this one should be one of the biggest reasons it stands out. It doesn’t like like many other stories out there at the moment, but it’s every bit as engrossing.

Verdict: Avengers #2 continues building on a very strong story, allowing each of the protagonists to shine at various points. The plot is dense enough to entice veteran fans, and compelling enough to bring in new readers who wish to learn more about the newest set of heroes in the Marvel universe.

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