Thank goodness Jonathan Hickman took mercy on me and told me who Manifold is. I’ve actually read a bunch of Secret Warriors issues, but other than Quake, I don’t think I could recognize any of the Caterpillars. I do like that Hickman gets to graduate a pet character, that’s always fun to see.
Hickman flashes back to let the reader in on the recruiting process for this “Bigger” Avengers line-up. This issue sticks with mostly established characters. Manifold, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel, Sunspot, Falcon, and Cannonball each have unique reasons for joining. Some heroes, like Dr. Strange and Luke Cage, seem to have reasons not to join. (Who else thinks Luke Cage is about to open up a new Heroes for Hire franchise?)
It’s not surprising to see the classic Avenger types returning, but I think I’m most excited by Sunspot and Cannonball joining up. These two have the potential to be the Wonder Man and Beast of our time; they are clearly going to relish their time in the spotlight.
Ex Nihilo and his crew deliver some classic super-villain monologues to the captured Avengers on Mars, too. Nihilo does have a method behind his madness, and his “affection” for Earth makes him feel even more like a modern High Evolutionary. That robot dude reminds me of the one in Kieron Gillen’s short-lived SWORD series.
Jerome Opena has some interesting takes on a couple of these guys. Hulk is very monkey-like, and his Captain America looks uncomfortable in that new suit. I still can’t stand Captain Marvel’s haircut, that weird swoop makes her look like Elvis. The creatures look great, as do the new villains. I also like Opena’s Wolverine; not surprising since he drew the character so long in X-Force.
This book is still trucking along, with a lot of character building and plot movement this issue. It’s light on actual action, but that’s OK. This is an origin story.