Written by Jonathan Hickman
Drawn by Adam Kubert
The second of three stand-alone issues, focusing on three new members of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, this issue dealt with the new Smasher. The issue served as an origin for the character integrating her into the team and the Marvel universe proper.
I am a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run and seeing elements from it referenced here and expanded upon really made me excited. Way back in issue 122 of that series, the Shi’ar Imperial guardsman designate Smasher crash landed on earth to warn the X-Men of the threat of Cassandra Nova. Picking up from there, this issue showed that, Isabel Dare while investigating on her farm where Smasher crashed, found goggles belonging to him and putting them on is transformed and imbued with the powers of Smasher.
Leaving earth she travels to the Shi’ar home world to be inducted as a sub-guardian. The rest of the issue primarily deals with her valiant efforts alongside the Avengers in repelling an attack against the Shi’ar resulting in her becoming the first human Super-guardian. How she became an Avenger is told through flashbacks, tender moments with her dying grandfather who wants her to reach her full potential, to not ‘be caged’ any longer.
I pick up nearly all of the Avenger’s titles, two of them written by Hickman and I am really, really enjoying his take on them. The writing is superb! Jonathan Hickman is widely known to be a ‘big ideas’ writer, laying groundwork for story lines that may not come to fruition for years but yet are still satisfying and he’s showing the same modus operandi here as he did in his epic Fantastic Four run.
Isabel Dare is a welcome edition to the marvel universe and Hickman has written her as a sympathetic yet strong female character whom a lot can relate to and I really want to see her fleshed out in future issues. One element I really love is how Smasher can only enable one of her powers at any given time. This makes her a powerful character yet she has limitations, again making her relatable. I’ve always thought that DC’s Superman could benefit from some limits as an all too powerful character can be boring so I’m glad that they have employed this with Smasher.
The pacing, plot and dialogue are all top notch but the same can’t be said for the art. Guest artist Adam Kubert comes aboard, again for his second issue as he is drawing all three of these spotlight issues. I’ve never been a huge fan of his art but even so, some of the artwork in this issue is downright sloppy. Close-ups and action sequences were quite good but you can clearly see where panels were rushed especially in some figure work and facial expressions. It’s a pity, as I had to lower my review score because of it.
I’m really looking forward to the future of this title because of Jonathan Hickman’s history of huge overarching plot lines and with the last page cliffhanger here revealing that the ‘attack’ on the Shi’ar by that massive war armada earlier in the issue wasn’t an attack but that they were actually fleeing from something much worse, I am really anticipating this title each month.
3 out of 5 nerds