This week Mister Miracle and Big Barda begin their assault on Orion’s forces, and the “No Surrender” mega storyline kicks off in Avengers!
Mister Miracle #6 (DC Comics)
I mentioned in my review of the first issue of Mister Miracle how the Tom King and Mitch Gerads series could do the impossible and give me a solid introduction to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga, but now six issues in (and a few Kirby trades later), I can easily say that was definitely the case. Simply put, this is one of the best series currently on the market. As the final issue of the first arc of the miniseries, Mister Miracle #6 has much of the same charm as you’d expect from King and Gerads by now, but there’s also some pretty major surprises and reveals as well.
Mister Miracle and Big Barda are attempting to enter Orion’s headquarters in an effort to prevent Mister Miracle’s upcoming execution. Of course, the couple also takes this time to discuss condo renovations. As the two make their way closer and closer to Orion’s chambers, the conversation reaches a fever pitch, as Scott Free finally realizes why Barda is so dead set on changing their living space.
You can probably figure out why Barda is so interested in remodeling, but this juxtaposition of a seemingly mundane couples conversation with insane superhero/space opera action is the perfect example of why Tom King has been so special on this book. Anyone could have these two characters lead an assault on Orion’s forces, but only King would think of having them engage in this kind of conversation while doing it. These two completely opposite aspects of the book work wonderfully together, creating one of the best issues of King’s run.
Adding to the wonderful insanity of this issue is Mitch Gerads’ art, which does a tremendous job of delivering on the dialogue that King sets up in this issue. Gerads’ panel layouts and artwork does wonders with this script, but then again, when hasn’t it? Gerads adds a lot of funny physical humor to the issue that adds to the book’s charm as well. He and King are quickly becoming one of the new “instant buy” creators in comics.
If you haven’t been following Mister Miracle, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a wonderfully weird and grounded take on a fantastic world, and honestly stands as some of Tom King’s best work to date (which is no small task when you look at how awesome his Batman series is). While I know King and Gerads are only planning on Mister Miracle going for twelve issues, I wouldn’t mind seeing them continue on the book forever.
Avengers #675 (Marvel Comics)
Not content with just resting on their laurels, Marvel has decided to kick-start a massive Avengers event, one that brings every single version of their flagship series into one crossover. Not only is Avengers #675 a larger sized issue, featuring the Uncanny Avengers, US Avengers, and even Hawkeye and Red Wolf from the (very) short-lived Occupy Avengers, this is also the start of a weekly event entitled “No Surrender”, which finds all of those previous Avengers titles, as well as their writers and artists, working together to deliver one of the biggest adventures for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in some time.
So then why does this feel so damn familiar?
“No Surrender” finds the Marvel Universe’s Earth transported further into space. With cataclysmic events happening all over the globe, the regular Avengers team has no choice but to call in every single reserve member they have in hopes of finding out who has caused this attack and how to stop it. After key members of the team like Captain America, Black Panther, and Spider-Man are literally frozen in time, and with their faithful butler Jarvis injured, the remaining Avengers have no choice but to team up and try to carry on without their leaders. Until an unknown ally that was first hinted at in Marvel Legacy makes a stunning return at issue’s end.
With an issue that’s divided writing duties between Al Ewing, Jim Zub, and Mark Waid, you’d think Avengers #675 would read a lot more haphazardly than it does. Amazingly, it flows really well, but it all feels pretty by the numbers. I mentioned earlier that the start of “No Surrender” feels awfully familiar, and the reason why is that’s almost exactly the same as the recent Avengers/Champions crossover “World’s Collide”. While that storyline didn’t have the Earth removed in space, it did feature our Earth in danger of being swapped out with a dark mirror version of Earth. That similarity could be overlooked if that storyline came out a year or two ago, but it just wrapped up last month. Marvel is looking at this storyline to attract new readers, so they obviously won’t notice, but for Marvel fans that are up to date with their comics, it’s going to come as a lot of “more of the same”.
Pepe Larraz handles the artwork for this opening issue, and he does a pretty stellar job of handling the wide variety of characters that pop up in this issue. Drawing a large cast like this one is no easy task, but Larraz is able to give each member of the Avengers a unique look, and they all have clearly defined features and styles. Larraz is no slouch in the action department either, delivering on the big moments that this script needs him to.
While Avengers #675 definitely feels awfully familiar, I’m hoping that means that there’s more to this “No Surrender” storyline than we’ve been lead to believe. Since Mark Waid also wrote that Champions crossover, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t notice the similarities and try to mix them up. Here’s hoping that’s the case, because if not, this whole storyline will be for nothing.