Comic Book Review: Avengers #41
Three weeks ago in Avengers #40 Jonathan Hickman dropped a plot twist that shook me because of how powerfully it was executed. Three weeks later he has pulled the rug away by undoing that moment. What I am talking about is the apparent non-death of Namor. He was killed, but not really. The way he chose was by introducing a rule to the incursion process where two worlds can be incurring upon another at the same time. It comes off as a bit convenient in the book, and also raises the question of how the 616 Avengers failed to notice the second incursion. It is a shame because an issue that I regarded as being very strong is now not quite as strong. The story carries on however.
(it is safe from here on)
Avengers# 41 is an issue packed with reveals and details that explodes its story open to incorporate the Ultimate Marvel universe as well as the main 616.
We have been told by Marvel that the last two universes to survive the incursions before Secret Wars will be the 616 and the Ultimate Universe. Avengers #41 takes the necessary step of explaining how the Ultimate Universe has survived up until this point and spins a story that neatly gives us that information as well as tying everything Ultimate up with everything Hickman has been doing with the 616.
It all reads very efficiently with Hickman running the issues two stories parallel to one another. In the Ultimate Universe we are told everything we need to know to follow the story then left with Ultimate Reed Richards who efficiently has been eliminating universes with the same frame of mind the average person approaches a game of Sudoku.
Meanwhile on the 616 side of things the issue only touches down twice to give updates. The other non-human races of the Marvel universe are finally made aware of the problems centring on Earth. There is not much to there presence but a general statement of intent.
The issue finishes by hitting on what I mentioned in the spoiler section. Hickman draws on the conclusion of Avengers #40 and weaves an interesting finish to Avengers #41 that creates some new relationships between villains that will be very significant in the rest of the Avengers run and in Secret Wars.
Mike Deodato takes a turn leading artistic duties and accomplishes a thoroughly beautiful issue; his pencil style working extremely well with the colouring techniques of Frank Martin. Deodato’s style gives Ultimate Reed Richards a sleek sexy quality that is rarely afforded to male characters. There is an almost melancholic quality that complements the impending end of the known universes perfectly.
Avengers #41 works fairly well as a first issue if you want to read some Avengers in the build up to Secret Wars. I can recommend it for that. It also comes with the sweeping grandeur that Jonathan Hickman’s style brings with it at all times.
What is lacking from the flagship superhero titles from Marvel right now though is some good old fashioned heroing. The truth is that Time Runs Out is so deep into the lore Hickman has woven that there simply isn’t any room for the story’s heroes to battle any tangible evil, and maybe that is finally starting to take its toll for people who have been following the whole series. All in all though, Avengers #41 is another solid read and crucial chapter in the build up to Secret Wars.