Avengers Forever wraps up its first story arc this week before “THE DOOM OF ALL DOOMS” starts in April, but how will our heroes defeat multiple Red Skulls?! To close things out, writer Jason Aaron brings in the Goddesses of Thunder–Thor’s daughters from the far future–and a concept surrounding Mjolnir from different dimensions. It’s going to be a wild ride, especially with Ghost Rider now serving as the All-Rider.
This issue opens at the end of time, which was explored in King Thor, and it continues the story Aaron set up there. Given this is a multiverse story, one can surmise these Goddesses are not part of the 616, but there’s a lot of chaotic action in this issue so it’s tough to say. What is fairly easy to say is a multiverse is a crazy place and it’s clear Aaron has just begun to scratch the surface.
The biggest takeaway from this issue is the multiverse is very much untapped. Not only do we get to see a bunch of colorful Red Skull versions, but we also get the promise for a lot more by the series end. The cliffhanger page, in particular, connects to something that further complicates things in the Marvel universe.
Unfortunately, the story is rather thin here. The first half reintroduces the Goddesses for fans who may not know them, although stuff like the Wolverine Phoenix will require some research or reading of back issues. As a climactic fight comic, it certainly offers lots of fighting, but you won’t believe the heroes are going to lose for one second. Especially with Aaron’s Goddesses at the center of things.
Even the main threat which consists of many versions of Red Skull across the multiverse ends up being rather weak and nonthreatening. The balance of the Goddesses with the main fight limits their appearance in general and when they are fighting they come off more like faceless goons than supervillains.
Their inclusion also lessens the impact of Ghost Rider’s new claim to fame as the All-Rider as well as the colorful new Avengers introduced in the series too. Characters like Tony Stark Ant-Man ends up feeling second fiddle. In one scene involving Wonder Man, there’s meant to be an emotional moment for him, but since we only just met him last issue, plus he barely gets a moment to shine here, it feels half-baked.
Art by Jim Towe is good, although it doesn’t quite stack up to Aaron Kuder’s hyper-detailed art from previous issues. The art isn’t bad it simply has a cartoony and simpler look that doesn’t fit with the rest of the series.
If you love the idea of a larger multiversal story building, don’t skip Avengers Forever #4. That said, the fight scenes feel less impactful and you won’t believe the heroes have any chance of losing for a second. It makes for a middling finale to Red Skull’s many multiverse versions joining forces.
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