The Ol’ Weekly Series Wheel-Spinning in Avengers 678

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

A weekly title — especially one running more than a few issues — should feel big, as if its story simply cannot be told in any other format, on any other release schedule. Instead, though, I’ve found that weekly comics often tend to feel padded, as if a typical story is being stretched out to better fit the format. That’s certainly a problem I’m starting to notice with “No Surrender,” the current weekly Avengers event.

I suppose my biggest complaint about Avengers 678 is that it barely takes a baby step forward from last week’s superior Avengers 677. In fact, Human Torch’s spotlight story feels a lot like a retread of Quicksilver’s plot from last week, hitting many of the same emotions and responses, and even a similar cliffhanger; the similarities, especially only a week apart, do neither Johnny nor the issue any favors.

Meanwhile, there’s only one significant development this week: the revelation that whoever grabs the artifact that the Black Order and the Lethal Legion are fighting over is apparently destroyed. The rest of the issue is largely spent revealing to the cast what the audience already knows (freeing Vision froze Quicksilver), spinning wheels with the Grandmaster and his opponent, or diving into crowded, largely generic fight scenes. Falcon’s decision to simply sit back and watch the two groups fight it out — only to leap into the fray anyway a few pages later — feels especially strange and pointless.

This is an issue that feels like it’s stalling, stretching out the story until it’s time for the next big development. I don’t know how long the “No Surrender” event is supposed to last, but it’s easy to imagine how these first four issues could be condensed — or, inversely, how this much space could be better spent on more character-focused endeavors without sacrificing action or plot momentum. The parts of this issue that feel most like filler would pop so much more if more than one or two characters at a time were allowed to have a personality, or to be defined by anything other than their powers.

I can see how one might reason that, when a new issue is being released each week, it’s less important for each individual installment to be vital because there’s less of a wait until the next, but I feel the exact opposite. Weekly series are a massive investment in time, engagement, and money; they need to work harder than ever to earn our attention. Not every issue needs to be a gamechanger or a big climax, but every single one does need to feel important to the story at hand. Outside of one or two pages, Avengers 678 just feels skippable.

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