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Writer: Jason Aaron / Artist: David Marquez / Marvel Comics

I felt varying levels of embarrassment reading Avengers this week. “Blade’s name is Eric?”. “What the hell is ‘Thori’?” “Did he really just call T’Challa the ‘Black Pope’?”. “What would Dracula taste like?”. Aaron and Marquez put together the final battle between the Avengers and the Legion of the Unliving. The result is the wild conclusion of the vampire civil war, “The Kingdom of Vampires”.

Absolute chaos reigns in the classified Russian prison where Dracula was being held. After a grisly interrogation by the Red Widow, they agree to relocate the elder vampire to a remote location, albeit not a nice one. As the last issue showed, the prison is now under attack. Kamikaze rats turned the prisoners into vampires and as the neonates overwhelm security, the Legion overwhelms the Winter Guard. All alone, the Red Widow seems to begin negotiations with them when the Avengers show up. Led up by Blade, the team engages their respective opponents with various levels of composure and wit (Would you believe She-Hulk isn’t the least articulate fighter?).

During the fight, Blade inner-monologues about his unlikely membership into the Avengers. More importantly, he puts in overdue work after getting his ass handed to him by the Shadow Colonel in the last few issues. Meanwhile, Black Panther takes on the samurai vampire named Snowsnake and is still dedicated to curing vampirism rather than killing the undead. Iron Man works out his recent vampire-inspired anger out on the Werebat (yes, Werebat), Carpathian. She-Hulk faces an army of exploding rats led by Rat Bomber. Captain America poetically yet flippantly confronts the Nazi vampire, Baroness Blood. The Hellhound Sarge opposes by a surprise, canine guest star likely brought in by Thor. Lastly, Thor and Captain Marvel are on crowd control against the horde of recently turned vampire prisoners.

Firstly, can we sit back and appreciate the amazing cover of this book? The inside doesn’t disappoint as this is the team brawl we’ve been waiting for this arc to get to. Needless to say, Marquez tears this book up with amazing action shots of Wakandan lightsabers, vampire Optic Blasts, and exploding rats. Not to be outdone, Aaron looks like he’s having a ball with the mid-combat barbs and Blade’s inner monologue (seriously, he calls T’Challa the Black Pope!). My absolute favorite is the couple panels where Blood Baroness shouts off Nazi rants and Captain America essentially says, “Ya Basic”. The book ends with a couple of open directions to go in the future. We’ll get more vampires eventually and definitely more Ghost Rider (Yea, that one). But next arc looks like it features your favorite DC ripoffs. Enter the Squadron.

9 “Boy-Thing Decapitations” out of 10

Reading Avengers? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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