21st Jan2021

‘Avengers #41’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jason Aaron | Art by Javier Garron | Published by Marvel Comics

It’s easy as a reviewer to just pick up and review books you know you will like. I’m as guilty as anyone. If I see a certain character guest starring, or a certain creator involved, I will probably pick up that book and possibly review it. Nothing wrong with that of course. Comics are there to be enjoyed, and everyone picks their own poison. Sometimes, though, to keep things fresh it’s worth just checking out a random book. If you enjoy it, great, you’ve expanded your reading pull list. You don’t enjoy, no harm no foul. You’ll have a deeper appreciation for the books you do like. I literally chose this book, Avengers #41, to review at random. Of late, the books I would willingly read every month from Marvel are a small, select bunch. I still love the characters of course, but I do find the editorial/ corporate direction these days often head-scratchingly frustrating. Speaking of loving the characters, I’ve always loved The Avengers. The guys in this book aren’t strictly ‘my’ Avengers but still.

So, it seems I’ve picked up the book during the second part of the ‘Enter the Phoenix’ storyline. It seems the Phoenix force has returned to Earth looking for a host, and was intercepted by The Avengers. Namor also entered the fray, wanting the Phoenix power for himself. The Phoenix force decided a super powered fight club was necessary to find out who was most worthy, and so several heroes (including Namor) have been teleported to the White Hot Room to fight for the right to Phoenix up. As I said, kind of a secret wars/ fight club vibe. We start this issue with Black Panther taking on Man-Thing (and yes, he really was giant size), both given a scrap of the Phoenix force to use. Panther wins out this time. Meanwhile, the other stranded heroes try and make sense of just where they are, and if it’s possible to escape. Some great guest stars in the book it must be said.

Next up, Luke Cage taking on American Eagle, Shanna the She-Devil taking on Devil Dinosaur and Moon Girl, Jane Foster fighting The Orb, Hyperion sort of fighting Shang-Chi, and Red Widow seemingly literally plucking Howard the Duck. Jason Aaron getting out some early 1980’s angst on that one it seems. The fight between Black Panther and Nighthawk is the most interesting, as it takes place on two levels. The obvious physical one, but also the mental, as these are also two political adversaries trying to psychologically outdo one another. It’s fun to read, and there’s some great dialogue pinging back and forth between the two. The match ups chosen by The Phoenix are interesting, but we get to see very little of the actual combat. Although understandable in terms of limited page count and pacing, it does take away some of the fun and suspense we need to feel.

I can tell I am a little out of touch with all things Marvel by some of the characters. Namor now a full on bad guy it seems, rather than anti-hero. Nighthawk a right-wing politician/hero, and Devil Dinosaur has a Moon Girl, not Boy. As for Black Panther, if they power him up any more he’ll be taking down Galactus next. So, was it worth picking up?

Overall, yes it was. It was a fun read after all, although Aaron trod a fine line between fan service and fan fiction. It did feel as though he phoned this in a little, or at the very least could write this stuff in his sleep. Really did feel as though he had recently re-read his old Secret Wars books too, although the old ‘ spirit them away somewhere and make heroes fight each other’ thing has been going on a long old while to be fair. The art, by Javier Garron, grew on me as the issue progressed, though overall I find his style a little too messy for me at times. Not the art lines themselves, they are nice and clean, just the panel choice and layouts.

Would I buy next issue? Genuinely on the fence. With so many books looking to command both my money and attention, this just doesn’t quite reach that tipping point for me. That being said, not a bad book, and one that should have a following in the younger readership.

***½  3.5/5


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