Dracula is amassing an army of vampires and is preparing to sacrifice the people of New York for his nefarious goals. It’s up to a ragtag group of heroes to put a stop to it in the finale of Marvel Action: Chillers.
Sadly, after all of the fun build-up of the last few issues, this finale kind of falls flat. There are multiple moments throughout where the creative team sets up a problem or an obstacle, only to solve it almost immediately. In the case of the opening of the book, Ironheart is facing down a team of hypnotized superheroes. What could have been an exciting sequence is undone rather quickly.
To explain why this finale didn’t quite work for me, I unfortunately have to talk about a few issues with the story as a whole. Beware of spoilers ahead.
The rest of the issue is centered around building a device to counteract Dracula’s brainwashing ability. When the device fails, the heroes simply move to another tactic that works almost right away — kind of. Actually, there’s not much acknowledgment at the end of the issue regarding whether or not the majority of the people hypnotized by Dracula were released from his hold. A bunch of ghouls bite the dust, but what about the regular folk? That part is left oddly vague.
Overall, this last issue plays out in a rushed fashion. Several scenes feel like the reader has been given the CliffsNotes version of what went down. For instance, wouldn’t it have been great to see the team track down Captain America and Elsa, instead of being told that it happened off-panel in the middle of a page?
In some ways, it almost feels like the miniseries could have benefited from one more issue to make these brief failures from the heroes stand out more. As it is, the issue reads like a series of easily resolved semi-cliffhangers.
Even so, there are some fun elements in this issue that carry over from previous installments. The character interactions are very endearing, particularly between Ironheart/Wasp and Cap/Elsa. It’s always enjoyable to read a superhero book where everyone actually likes engaging in heroics. The brief action sequences are also fun, even if they do mostly consist of a panel or two of punching/blasting. Thanks to some dynamic posing and expressive faces, Gretel Lusky gives these sequences some much-needed energy.
Meanwhile, Nahuel Ruiz’s colors pop on every page, particularly when there’s magic involved. The villains feel appropriately gloomy and gross, with the colorful heroes cutting through the shadow.
Overall, however, this issue kind of leaves behind the interesting storytelling conceit of the previous issues. What’s left feels a bit like a scramble to the finish line.
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