Avengers has been very good at mixing things up with the Multiversal Masters of Evil posing a different kind of threat. Not only are they popping up from their own dimensions, but they’re harboring some impressive powers as each one is a kind of amalgam of two villains. Part three of “The Death Hunters” story arc kicks off in today’s Avengers #53, and it’s set on Avengers Mountain.
So far, we’ve seen different villains popping up in this and Avengers Forever, but major players like Kid Thanos and Dr. Doom have yet to show themselves. Until now. This issue opens with Thanos preparing to cut up a woman who is bound and very much awake. Through captions, writer Jason Aaron reveals a Thanos who is more interested in discovery through harming others than necessarily just killing them. He’s science-focused, but also a bit youthful in his interest in discovery.
He’s also a bit obnoxious, as we learn in the next scene when Dr. Doom prepares an attack. Something super fun about this series has been little wrinkles that add to the characters while allowing the story to move forward at a good clip. Finding out Dr. Doom is wearing the skin of an ex-lover is twisted and efficient in giving readers a sense of how he’s different from his 616 counterpart.
This issue also shows how each of these characters is incredibly powerful. You’ll believe Dr. Doom could take out any of these heroes, but given those standing in his way, there’s a unique wall he must fight through. That’s Valkyrie, who has a unique connection to Death. Namor, meanwhile, has a hard time fighting Thanos. Like with previous chapters, the Avengers are a bit disadvantaged when going 1 on 1 with the Multiversal Masters of Evil.
This issue is also plotted well for action aficionados, giving readers enough action and character elements for the middle portion of the book to feel satisfied. Then it comes in with a big hero reveal in the third act followed by a cataclysmic cliffhanger. One gripe is the extra focus on Thanos at the start, which feels a bit stuffed in when Dr. Doom doesn’t get much attention. The larger story playing out continues to feel a bit isolated with the format the series has taken, too.
Art by Juan Frigeri is great to bring the bombastic in-your-face fight scenes right into your eyeballs. Aaron’s Avengers run has felt in-your-face from the start with Ed McGuinness, and Frigeri brings that and more. Tricky things like showing size and scope are depicted well with the Celestial headquarters getting barraged with attacks. Colors by David Curiel remind us this is a bright adventure comic. Flame effects, details in clouds, and difficult shadow work of characters inside the Avengers Mountain look clean and look great.
Bring a big bucket of popcorn to Avengers #53, as it brings the action and laces it with interesting character developments. It also comes with its share of surprises and a cliffhanger to get you excited for more.
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