Last month, Avengers #51 started “The Death Hunters” story arc focusing on Iron Man and Thor, and now it’s Captain Marvel and Captain America’s turn. They may be the main Avengers in this issue, but it’s really about Starbrand, especially once you reach the cliffhanger. It’s also an issue that continues to show how dangerous the Multiversal Masters of Evil are and how disposable the Deathlocks are in a fight.
You get to see both Caps, Deathlocks, and two of the Multiversal Masters of Evil clash this week, which is also featured in the preview. Writer Jason Aaron continues to explore the Starbrand character, who is no longer a baby but a small child. She’s got a lot of spunk, and probably shouldn’t be left alone with all that power. The issue opens with Captain America attempting to connect Starbrand to her mother which helps shed a bit of light on her character.
This issue features some entertaining action from Juan Frigeri who gets to show off the Black Skull (a Red Skull/Venom combo from Heroes Reborn) and a Ghost Goblin (a Ghost Rider/Green Goblin combo). Both are fearsome-looking while taking out Deathlock after Deathlock. You get the sense that even two of these Multiversal Masters of Evil characters are formidable. Combined with colors by David Curiel, it’s great fun to see what sorts of attacks they have as they clash with the heroes.
Frigeri plays with layouts in interesting ways, with panels seemingly spilling off the edge as if a double-page layout was planned yet abandoned. It gives the issue an airy, open feel. The action can feel a touch cramped at times with a lack of background drawn in, making it tricky to track the action and placement of characters.
As far as the heroes, Starbrand steals the show in the narrative. Her spunky nature and attitude clash with the by-the-numbers Captain Marvel and Captain America characters. You can never really tell what she might do or say, which leads to a rather shocking cliffhanger.
A slight problem with this story arc is that it hasn’t come together in its first two chapters. Threats abound for our heroes as they are attacked by the Multiversal Masters of Evil seemingly at random, but where is the story going? The larger picture is hard to see.
The lettering by Cory Petit is clean and especially fun when it comes to Black Skull. The tails on the word balloons are jagged and dangerous-looking. Paired with clean but subtle touch on the Deathlock word balloons, and the chaotic nature of the green Ghost Goblin word balloons, there’s some great comics fun to be had with the lettering here.
Avengers #52 is a good reminder comics are fun when they take big swings with heroes and villains. The Multiversal Masters of Evil is turning out to be a wildly inventive group of villains and the twist by the end will have you excited for more Starbrand.
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