The Gods of Olympus are dead. The reborn Mother of Night, Nyx, came for for revenge on Zeus, who imprisoned her aeons ago.
The newest Avenger, Voyager, has gathered together a team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Vision, Scarlet Witch, Spectrum, Hulk, Hercules and Hawkeye. Guardian of the Galaxy member Rocket Racoon, who happened to be nearby when Hercules was taken to Olympus by Voyager to learn the fate of his family, is also on hand. So far, the Avengers aren’t doing very well against Nyx, a being as old as Creation itself.
By the end of the issue, this weekly series’ engine has been well and truly switched on – there’s something Nyx wants – the scattered shards of her soul – and the Avengers are split up to find them before her deeply unpleasant kids can deliver them to her.
Narrating this instalment, you may have noticed, is Hawkeye – but this isn’t the cocky Clint Barton the world knows… this is a more insular guy, his measured thoughts telling us he still finds it weird that he gets to fight alongside ‘myths, monsters and cosmic elders’. He isn’t entirely off-brand – when Hawkeye joined the Avengers way back in the Silver Age, alongside Captain America, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, his entire character arc centred on his inferiority complex. Writers Al Ewing, Jim Zub and Mark Waid use this piece of personality to make sense of one of his occasionally infuriating traits.
Act without thinking is often the sensible option. But it’s not his only option.
While Clint doesn’t resolve the situation, he does show, once again, that it’s not massive power you need to be an Avenger, it’s the Wizard of Oz package – brains, courage and heart, all of which he has in spades.
The other heroes all get a moment this time, but this is Hawkeye’s Avengers Spotlight; I don’t doubt everyone else will get their chance to shine (please God, Vision’s day in the sun burns away that awful look he’s currently sporting).
The art by penciller Paco Medina, inker Juan Vlasco and colourist Jesus Aburtov has plenty of pep – the storytelling is excellent. I particularly like long-necked, languid-eyed Nyx, gifted some extremely creepy poses. She has a good design from Marvel TV creative director Joshua James Shaw, reminiscent of DC’s Nocturna. Shaw is described in the backmatter as a ‘genius’. I don’t know I’d go that far – Nyx’s kids, whom he also came up with, don’t strike me as particularly different from anything any regular Marvel artist could come up with, given the extremely detailed writers’ descriptions reprinted here. Maybe they’ll grow on me… currently, I can’t look at the serpentine Oizys without seeing Fastback from DC’s Zoo Crew.
Also deserving of a mention is Cory Petit, for an excellent job of lettering.
Nyx may be the visual standout this week, her haunting visage is certainly the best thing on Yasmine Putri’s cover – the super-shiny heroes and godlings around her aren’t my cup of tea.
I tried the previous weekly series from this creative team but quickly bailed due to the prominence of the rather rubbish Black Order villains but this new group, based on Greek myths, are already more intriguing. And the team dynamics of the Avengers have been great. Could this be the modern Avengers book that will hook me?
If you’ve a few quid/dollars/space groats to spare and like a classic assemblage of Avengers, try this book – it’s really rather good.