Comic Book Review: Avengers #686
The Immortal Hulk has made one hell of an impact on this cosmic game. For the roster of Avengers that were on hand for this game, this is what you would call a nightmare situation. Especially since not all the heavy-hitters were on hand to stand between this new version of the green beast and the last pyramoid. If there was any better way to send the message that this was all or nothing? They found through the out of nowhere loss of a big name Avenger at the hands of this Hulk and the addition of two more powerful enemies on the other side.
Now with the conclusion of Avengers #685, the focus of this issue was a long time coming. I’ll give credit to this creative team that while this was a very action-packed event, they found some brilliant moments to add some unexpectedly memorable character moments. The next person on that list just so happens to be the peaceful Wonder Man. I’m sure that if you are like me and your ability to follow the Avengers books has been spotty, you are wondering just how we ended up with one of the most powerful entities on Earth unwilling to fight anymore. Its refreshing and welcoming to have a hero out there like this, but undeniably out-of-place for an event like this where it is all about the fight for the most part.
Fortunately this issue makes a lot of sense for Wonder Man through a quick summary of what he has been through and his evolved idea of being a hero. It was hard to argue with his stance at that point, even if this was a dangerous game that he himself was willing to play at such a critical time. In terms of character writing, Voyager also saw a big moment for herself when finally figuring out the role that she wanted to play in this game. We knew that she was done with being a pawn when she made her move, but that never told us till now what she planned to do with this freedom.
What shook this issue to the core was the true understanding of what we are dealing with when it comes to the Immortal Hulk. We were led to believe one thing about his situation, and all it took was one snap decision to change everything we through we knew. I felt the tease when it came to the fight with Vision, and now was the perfect time to address what is really going on in that head of his. It was pretty shocking since for all this violence, there is actually control and accountability. A nightmare was the perfect word to use when it was made clear what the Hulk hoped to gain through working for the Challenger. What could have been just another slobber-knocker evolved with the knowledge that the Hulk had motivation. This wasn’t a problem that you could either punch your way out of or talk your way out of. It took the best of both worlds which is risky for this could have easily been hit or miss.
The art team of Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Jesus Aburtov did an incredible job this week. Everything about this Hulk has been chilling with their ability to capture this imposing figure in the face of someone who was not willing to raise a fist to the monster. Having that contrast between the dark stare of the Hulk and the fearful expression of Wonder Man made a big difference in setting the atmosphere of this issue. Here we have hit the climax of the game and everything is coming down to one guy so powerful yet taking a pummeling by choice. It was brutal and I’m glad that even now they were willing to hold back with that this Hulk is capable of with little care for what he does and to who. This was another issue as well where it was important to have strong colors. It works so well when having the heavy-hitters to take advantage of. Again I also appreciate that Aburtov is a colorist who can get wild with his colors without covering up the pencils or inks. His added flare made the artwork pop when it counted most.
When the dust has settled, the game ended in a way that you couldn’t have predicted. When it comes to an Avengers event, it is sad to say that a lot of the time you can see the finish line before you get there. This story, plot, and the events of Avengers #686 prove that with the right hands on deck you can still dig into that well of creativity for something we haven’t seen yet. At the end of this issue there was no doubting that the end of one terror would only bring the start of another.