Serviceable is Not Enough in Avengers 3

by Spencer Irwin

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

I’ve been reading, collecting, and following weekly American comics for well over a decade now, and I’ve watched not only the industry grow, but my own tastes as well; the type of standard, “heroes beat villain and saves the world” stories that were once exciting have become a bit routine. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for these kind of stories within the industry, but they need a little something special to stand out and really feel worth investing in, and unfortunately, I haven’t found that spark yet in Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness’ run on Avengers.

For what it’s worth, Avengers 3 is a perfectly serviceable comic book. It’s got action and conflict, some interesting character choices, and even a bit of mystery. For many readers that might be more than enough to create a compelling comic, and I pass no judgement on those readers. As far as I’m concerned, though, this issue lacks substance; for all its action and big name characters, it lacks any sort of thematic purpose or statement. Perhaps even worse, there’s a sense of scale and stakes that’s just missing. The Avengers are fighting ancient, practically omnipotent beings capable of destroying the entire planet, whose very existence seems to be rewriting the history of the Marvel universe as we know it, but the weight those kind of threats should be presenting just isn’t present in the issue. Even Captain America’s supposed “heroic sacrifice” just kind of happens, shrugged off in a “ho-hum” manner.

In a way I applaud Aaron and McGuinness for not trying to trick the audience with a death we all know won’t stick, but ultimately I’d rather have them do that than undercut the moment altogether by robbing it of any gravitas, treating it as just another everyday event instead of a traumatic moment that should rock the Avengers to their very core, even if just for a few minutes before they can confirm that Steve is okay. It feels like the Avengers, and thus the creative team, are just going through the motions, even when they should be fighting their greatest threat ever. Even Iron Man and Captain Marvel’s bickering feels rote and expected; Aaron likely feels required to address their tension, yet ultimately does nothing new or interesting with it, just reminding readers that Civil War II did indeed happen (no thanks, I’d rather forget). It’s a moment that feels like a box getting crossed off a checklist rather than something interesting, urgent, or essential. And that’s really been this run of Avengers so far as a whole — it’s out because Marvel needs to publish an Avengers book, not because anyone in their bullpen has an important story to tell or a new way of telling it. With as many fascinating, innovative comics as there are out there, it feels harder and harder to devote my time to a book like this.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

One comment on “Serviceable is Not Enough in Avengers 3

  1. Honestly, I think McGuiness’ art is a big part of the problem. I think Aaron’s writing finally gets into the flow of things with this issue, helped by finally having the team (mostly) together where they can discuss things and make actual dramatic choices instead of just react, like the previous two banal issues.

    But McGuiness’ art is just too busy, and a bit too focused on providing just the Epicness of events without providing all the rest of the texture. The art is just on the completely wrong wavelength, flattening what the script provides. And that’s a real problem when Aaron’s script is not the strongest in his career.

    The art just overwhelms everything, be it scale, stakes, emotional context, impact etc to instead just go ‘Look at this’. And it creates a boring experience. With different art, I don’t think this would be a great book. But it could have been a good book.

    But McGuiness is distracting from the script, not adding to it. And hte script needs all the help it can get.

    Also, I stand by my belief that Civil War II was actually good and worth remembering. Subverted traditional expectations of events to instead tell a story far more interested in whose perspective we were currently looking at events from and what that means to the way we interpret events, especially when grief influences that perspective. A clever character drama about perspective hidden in a giant event.
    I’d take in any day over Secret Empire with its vapid, empty second half and a finale that was a total surrender to the idea that the premise could be meaningful

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