Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Luca Maresca
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 21, 2021
This run of Avengers has been more of a “Jason Aaron Presents” book than a proper Avengers team title. It does seem like Aaron is building up to something big, but I can’t say it will eventually pay off since I’m not a soothsayer. I do read this book every month, though, and it’s been a tiresome trek of arcs that start with cool concepts that never really stick the landing. Now, with Heroes Reborn starting next month, we get a one-shot King in Black tie-in wedged between the just finished Phoenix Force story and the upcoming event. Is it any good? Let’s find out…
To say this is a King in Black tie-in by name only is still overselling it! Seriously?!? It’s bad enough that the event is over, but trying to milk some more money out of it with one page that tells you the event is over is ridiculous. If you are planning on getting this just for the tie-in, don’t! Plus, what the hell is Namor doing on the cover?!?
One of the things that also bothers me is the timing of all of this. It seems to say that the Phoenix story happened before Knull arrived, and while I know that Echo, the new Phoenix Force, is new to it, I think she may have been able to help against Knull a tiny bit. I know that it’s a comic book timing issue, so I won’t dwell on it, but it did cross my mind.
What I will dwell on, though, is the wasted space we get in this book. Aaron puts in little fan service moments like Cap breaking the world record for running the mile, and Carol Danvers can lift the most weight of any Avenger. Who the hell cares?!?! Is this supposed to make up for the lack of these characters in a lot of this run? Sorry, that’s not enough, and they delete the records of their accomplishments anyway. Why were they recording them in the first place??? We get the other Avengers doing silly stuff (only to delete them) like Jennifer going through law books. Can we get any more surface-level than that? Plus, it seems ridiculous after Jason Aaron has gone total savage with her most of the run.
We do get a nice moment with Robbie Reyes talking to Maya about what she’s going through. They have a friendly bond immediately with both their powers but also being new to the Avengers. This is the best part of the book, but also the thing that makes me most angry. Why aren’t we dealing more with Maya? Why isn’t this an epilogue to the Phoenix story?!?!
I don’t know about you, but I did not see many people that into the Phoenix story. Worse yet, when Aaron revealed that the Phoenix Force chose Echo, most people responded with a loud, “Who?” This issue could have answered that question and showed us why Jason Aaron chose her to be the next Phoenix!
Instead, we deal with Dracula getting United Nations support for the Vampire Nation and Blade becoming the new sheriff in town. I don’t mind the idea, but it feels like another mini-series back door pilot that we may or may not get. Plus, it’s just a watered-down Krakoa situation that feels silly. When did we see the Vampires fighting against Knull as heroes? Every time I saw them, they were just pleased as punch to have the entire planet in darkness. Maybe it was in one of the many nonsense tie-ins I bailed on.
The art in the issue is excellent, and that’s the only reason my score isn’t lower. I liked the Robbie-Maya stuff, but everything else felt like filler as we head into Heroes Reborn next issue.
This issue encapsulates Jason Aaron’s entire Avengers run. It’s hardly the King in Black tie-in it promises on the cover, and instead of dealing with the vast thing that just happened in the book, Aaron sets up something else we may get back to later. This book always has its eye on something else, and I think I will finally have to follow suit.