When the characters in your comic are actually stating how confusing the dialogue is? That’s usually a bad sign.
Jonathan Hickman’s worst traits are coming out to play in this series once again. It’s odd, because clearly Hickman is very popular, but I find his more cerebral, abstract plots to be disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of entertaining elements in this issue. When the new Starbrand first appears, Captain America approaches the kid in a kind fashion, and Cap’s confidence shines off the page. He really is looking out for this kid and trying to defuse the situation. Hulk acts perfectly in character to just smash, and he and Captain Marvel have a great team-up moment when she fast-pitches him from space. It is also enjoyable seeing another super-powered foe able to take on the Avengers’ toughest members. Iron Man’s armor looks pretty beat up for most of the issue. So Hickman does have a good fight in here!
But man! Every time Nightmask opens his mouth, the book screeches to a halt. There is way too much explanation about the universal system, the broken cycle, the meaning of this and that. I don’t think I’m an idiot (maybe I’m wrong) but it seems like a bunch of circular nonsense. I honestly had to make myself go back and read the dialogue to see if I was missing something. Nope, just vague ominous comments that don’t really mean anything.
Dustin Weaver’s art is a lot of fun. He does a fantastic job on Captain Marvel, both helmeted and un-helmeted. This might be the best I’ve seen her look in any comic. (As an aside, I’d sure like to collect CM’s solo book, but that art is awful.) Weaver’s art is character-heavy, even in combat scenes. CM and the Hulk’s nice moment in space. Cap’s confidence, Star Brand’s confusion and petulance. They all jump off the page. I’d love to see more fights like this!
I just need to accept this is the Avengers. Flashes of great action and violence with long stretches of pseudo-science dialogue.