writer: Jonathan Hickman / artist: Stefano Caseli / Marvel Comics
…I’m not really sure how to review this particular issue without giving away the ending which is so great on multiple levels. Reed Richards has spent the last two appearances telling Val (and us) how to win or rather now not to lose this battle that the Illuminati faced on multiple fronts. He even referenced the endgame in the last issue. Well, we got to see the Endgame and that itself was very smartly done. All of this wasn’t about fighting S.H.I.E.L.D. or the remaining Avengers, it was really all about how to deal with the Cabal as it’s been easy to forget that they were the largest (local) threat. The plan was smart, intuitive and paced well, but of course had a huge twist that Reed didn’t anticipate or account for.
The art is mostly done well here too. Some of the face models of the characters seemed a little inconsistent in the early part of the book, but the action sequences were handled extremely well. I appreciated how the pencils conveyed the lighter moments of the book in sharp contrast to the dark and cold moments near the end.
Earlier today, I told my assistant editor the news that Hickman’s run on Avengers and New Avengers ends in April. He shouted something like NOOOOOOOOOO and I countered, “hey, I’ve loved it, but all good things…ya know.” I changed my mind. I’m not ready for the end. Issues like this make me want this kind of long form storytelling among Marvel’s largest heroes.