Written by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer
Art by Stefano Caselli
Colors by Frank Martin
Letters by Cory Petit
As Avengers comes out, it becomes more and more clear that each issue is only a small drop in a cosmic-sized bucket. Avengers #14 is no different, and those who love epic science fiction themes, universe-spanning problems, and unique superheroes will not be disappointed.
This issue remains consistent with the story line that Jonathan Hickman has established in the first thirteen issues. The impact sites that were created when the Builders deployed their terraforming origin bombs become active and begin to interact with each other through a disruptive electronic transmission. Each impact site begins to fulfill their purposes as laid out by Ex Nihilo in the opening review page, as the Avengers try to resolve the numerous disasters created by the EMP effect of the origin site signal.
This issue is low on character development, high on science fiction, and full of mystery that may frustrate a reader who is hoping to hop on to the series due to its Prelude to Infinity tag. The only obvious connection to Infinity is the sense of building disaster that Hickman and Spencer slowly build as more mystery is created by the activation of the impact sites.
The plot of the issue is reliant on the reader’s previous knowledge of Hickman’s run on Avengers, as the first five pages are light on story development and heavy on visual development. When Hickman’s and Spencer’s dialogue does kick in, it is evident that the Avengers are as lost on how to handle the origin bomb sites as the reader is on what the heck is going on. This, however, is not a downfall. Hickman has proven in previous issues that patience is a virtue, as he slowly reveals small clues about what is going on.
Hickman and Spencer, also skillfully portray the insecurities of the Avengers in dealing the immense, unknown threat that the origin bombs create. Reading as Thor rages about feeling inadequate in the face of these mysterious threats provides the reader with a sense of foreshadowing that increases anticipation for upcoming issues. It also instills a sense that the Avengers may be out of their league with this threat. While that may be a familiar story telling device Hickman and Spencer are so subtly with it—not portraying an extremes of confidence or despair—that it creates an aura of excitement for what is to come.
Stefano Caselli’s art is surprisingly similar to that of the previous artist, Mike Deodato, and falls in line with the overall tone that was established at the beginning of the series by Jerome Opeña. Caselli shines with originality in his visual representations of the impact sites. As each site awakens to the signal, new life takes form. Caselli depicts these science fiction elements with visual emotion that adds to the foreshadowed sense of doom. This element alone helps drive the anticipation Hickman and Spencer create in their sparse narrative.
The broad scope of the story and the subtle connections to future events may leave readers wishing for more out of the creative team, but as Hickman has proven in past issues patience is a virtue. The foreshadowing and continued intrigue that is built through the mystery and science fiction elements in Avengers #14 makes this a highly enjoyable read.