The Avengers #168


Comic book covers can be a lot like movie posters for sci-fi or fantasy epics from the 1980’s. The posters themselves kick all sorts of ass, giving you the impression that you are about to see some sort of wild epic that only your imagination could hold you back from. Then you get this.

You can't unsee this!
You can’t unsee this!

So when the comic for part three of the Korvac saga showed The Avengers rushing into a room and you see a mystery man sitting in a chair with his hands folded, you assume that you’re getting a big baddie. Could Norman Osbourne be in this story? Could Doctor Doom be trying on different clothes for this issue?

No, it’s the head of the NSA there to scold The Avengers for not fixing up the mansion from a previous mission they were involved in which allowed him the chance to enter without being noticed. This lights the fuse that Captain America needs to yell at Iron Man for being a bad leader. He tells him that his focus is not on The Avengers but on being Tony Stark’s bodyguard which as I have previously stated, if Tony had been honest with the other Avenger’s issues like this would not be happening. They would know everything that is going on in his life.

From there you get a single page of Hawkeye and a cowboy making their way to New York to rejoin The Avengers but after performing some tricks for people on a train, the cowboy disappears. This came and went out of nowhere. If there had just been some small communication between Jarvis and Tony that Hawkeye had been in contact and had planned on coming back to New York, I would not have issue with this page in the story because it does set up something interesting. Where did Mr. Cowboy go? What caused him to disappear? Again, for one page of story it is not bad it would have just been nice to have some warning that Hawkeye would be in the story.

Then Starhawk from the Guardians of the Galaxy arrives at a suburban home dressed up as a woman. He meets the man of the house who turns out to be a creature who fights him on multiple dimensional planes of existence. Just as the bad guy in the story kills Starhawk and turns him to dust, he decides that he doesn’t want him dead after all, raises him back to life, and erases his memory. You could argue that this goes to show the immense power of the bad guy in the story. I would argue that this shows a story that burned through multiple pages for no damn reason. The biggest sin here was the fact that the bad guy spent page after page giving a monologue about how powerful he was. He was telling the reader basically what was happening instead of allowing the reader to be shown what the hell was happening. Every writer is guilty of telling the reader what they should know instead of showing them. I am sure that if you read my book you would find scene after scene where I broke the cardinal rule myself. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t identify it and call it for what it is. Wrong. When you tell the reader what they should think, you’re taking away the reader’s ability to make a decision for themselves. Comics are not movies or television. They have the ability to only show you a quick snippet of a scene before they have to move on. It is up to the reader to come up with the rest of what the writer wants them to see, think, and feel.

Despite the contrived story, I really enjoyed the artwork. It had a real sense of scope this issue that was missing in previous issues. Apart from the selection of pants the head of the NSA wore, everything in the story seemed time neutral which was nice. The story could have taken place in any time which allows readers, no matter when they pick up the issue, to enjoy the story for what it is, warts and all.

The action between Starhawk and the human version of Korvac was drawn well. You could see the emotion in the faces of each character and when the action reached its final crescendo, you could almost feel Starhawk disintegrate into dust in Korvac’s hand. On another riff on the story though, why Korvac thought it would be a great idea to raise the man he just killed from the dead and wipe his mind is beyond me. That’s a rookie mistake that you know will backfire on him when Starhawk gets his memory back and gets revenge for being murdered.

Bottom Line:

Yet another disappointing chapter in the Korvac Saga. This story just went in so many places I don’t see where the writers were trying to go with it. It’s almost like the writer decided to take a lot of acid and see how long he could write a story before he got really fucked up. My guess, it was by page three.

There are some definite intriguing aspects of this story that interest me to read on. Take the disappearance of the Two Gun Kid and the appearance of the human Korvac. I want to know what happens next in those two instances. I just wish we didn’t have page after page of pointlessness to get to that place. It was a story for kids you might say. There are still stories for kids that are able to properly show the action on the page and make every effort to be logical when it comes to the story like making sure that a character who had not been in the story at all up to this point doesn’t just magically appear out of nowhere. Maybe there was advance warning of Hawkeye appearing in another comic altogether but there still should have been some warning in this particular issue. Logic just doesn’t seem to be on the writer’s mind this issue which is a shame because the art, from George Perez and Pablo Marcos, was pretty damn good for this era.

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