AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #24/ Written by KELLY SUE DECONNICK & WARREN ELLIS/ Art by MATTEO BUFFAGINI/ Colors by RUTH REDMONT/ Letters by VC’s CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Talk about an exercise in lost momentum. The first two installment of Avengers Assemble‘s final arc were fun, snappy rides. These last few, not so much. Sure, Matteo Buffagini’s art is super pretty to look at, as is typical, and Anya’s new costume is kind of cool, but that’s not enough to save or improve such a boring, repetitive story. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis have demonstrated they are capable of a much higher quality of work in almost all of their other books, so why does Avengers Assemble feel phoned in?
Unsurprisingly, there is little new to say here. The plot is nearly identical to previous issues: Anya regroups at Avengers Tower, gets a new mentor (Iron Man this time) and a new life lesson. June Covington does a thing, chase and/or action scene during which June escapes, and end with oh no June’s DEFINITELY going to do something next issue! The series ends next month so June will actually need to do something, but at this rate, don’t expect anything worth your patience.
This is such a waste and a shame. Avengers Assemble is usually a fun series, and this arc’s premise – a teen hero coming into her own with help from bigger name heroes – is genuinely good and pretty easy to work with. And its execution was good, before it fell into this pit of repeating the same thing over and over again. It’s not even entertaining! The repetition could be excused if it was at least interesting or funny, but Avengers Assemble has been neither of those things.
There are plenty of obvious ways to make it more exciting each issue, too. Give June Covington more than just two scenes of “doing a thing” and “upgrading herself so she will DEFINITELY do a cool thing next issue.” June is such a neat character and she’s been delightfully evil in her reduced pagetime. And what about Spider-Girl? Anya’s our heroine, so why not have her do something else instead of always going back to Avengers Tower, swapping out for a new mentor, striking out on her own, and then running into other Avengers who she strong arms into helping her. Or instead of swapping out mentors like Pokémon, stick with one or two and have them be the core characters of the arc. Team Spider Lady was fun, and Anya, Natasha, and Jessica all play off of each other well. They could have made for a good team for the entirety of the series’ run. Really, sticking with any of Anya’s mentors would have better served the story as a whole.
Dull and wasteful may be the name of the game today, but there were some brighter points. Matteo Buffagini provides gorgeous artwork, and he and Ruth Redmont just knock it out of the park as a team. Long may they work post cancellation. Anya’s story is a snore but she isn’t, and now that she is the recipient of an official (and pretty well done) Cap Speech, she’s a Real Avenger. With any luck she’ll show up in the Marvel Universe more regularly, and in better-written books to boot.
Until then, Avengers Assemble will have to suffice, though suffice it does not. Consider spending your hard-earned money on something good this week – Mighty Avengers, maybe.