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'Avengers' #5 balances action and Ashen Combine characterization well
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Avengers’ #5 balances action and Ashen Combine characterization well

The Ashen Combine come clearer into focus as the heroes continue to lose!

Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa have introduced enough supervillains to put the Avengers through their paces in just five issues. So far, we’ve seen Thor and Iron Man fall as they’re overpowered, and in Avengers #5, it’s time to learn a bit more about the Ashen Combine’s sentient transportation. I hope Captain America and Black Panther can survive the experience.

MacKay and Villa continue to pack a lot of fighting and revealing moments into this issue. That’s aided by filling each issue with new info on each villain. In Avengers #5, Lord Ennui, an embodiment of atrophy who drains a city’s life and spirit, and Meridian Diadem, an endless dungeon that consumes, converts, and spits out prisoner after prisoner, gets the central focus. Vision is up against Diadem, who seems hellbent on adding her to her army, while Captain Marvel faces off against Lord Ennui. Similar to previous issues, our heroes are in big trouble.

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Captain America and Black Panther are tethering these two fights, attempting to communicate with the Impossible City. MacKay supplies new info about this vehicle, hinting that it may be the edge the heroes need to one-up the Ashen Combine. This builds towards a finale that feels like we’re on the cusp of the heroes potentially turning the tide.

That said, the heroes are still getting wrecked by this team. Vision, in particular, is having a rough go of it, which Villa captures well via tentacles and an army bursting from Meridian Diadem’s chest. Her cobra-like design adds to her creepiness.

Avengers #5 Meridian Diadem

Meridian Diadem is a scary-looking villain.
Credit: Marvel

MacKay is quite good at giving each villain a bit of dialogue to help characterize them – truly, each Ashen Combine character feels utterly unique. Lord Ennui may steal the show as the most strange as he’s uninterested in killing Captain Marvel, but it’s simply his way of doing things.

This superhero comic is so exciting because each villain has a unique and overpowered ability that can’t be toppled by conventional means. You get the impression some ingenuity is to beat them, though our heroes are still pounding their fists at them and not working together yet. With anticipation growing, it’s exciting to get tidbits of info on the villains who will surely return at some point.

Added to the stakes is the Impossible City, which we learn is a victim itself. Considering Earth is in danger, thousands if not millions of humans are at risk, and each Avenger is getting their butt handed to them, it’s impressive MacKay adds this additional layer. By the end of the issue, you’ll hope the city will prevail and not take its own life. That’s a pleasant surprise, to be sure.

The only gripe I have is the general plotting of this arc, which takes place over an hour or so. Given the team is scattered, you know they’ll need to bring the team together to win, so the anticipation of that and having to wait grows a kind of frustration.

Avengers is a pulse-pounding joyride of new characters and excellent action. The series can’t stop itself from raising the stakes of each issue while making each unique villain shine through more clearly. Avengers #5 is an exciting superhero comic in an age when we mostly settle for repetitive tales.

'Avengers' #5 balances action and Ashen Combine characterization well
‘Avengers’ #5 balances action and Ashen Combine characterization well
Avengers #5
Avengers is a pulse-pounding joyride of new characters and excellent action. The series can't stop itself from raising the stakes of each issue while making each unique villain shine through more clearly. Avengers #5 is an exciting superhero comic in an age when we mostly settle for repetitive tales. 
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Great pace keep up your interest
Each new villain, and the Impossible City, come more into focus
The stakes are somehow raised!
The general plotting of the series is slow, with only a few minutes passing, and that only adds to the frustration that the team hasn't joined up yet going solo in each battle
9
Great
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