Written by Mark Waid
Art by Mike Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
It’s double the Avengers, double the fun in Avengers #5. After last month’s Kang-focused interlude, Mark Waid puts the Avengers on the offensive with the help of a future version of the Vision as they aim to cut off Kang's supply lines scattered throughout time. In a nifty bit of deus ex machina, Waid gets the original Avengers in on the assault as well, thus giving Avengers a palpable propulsive energy and real sense of comradery.
Part of Avengers #5‘s success comes from its accessible plot and instant narrative energy. Though context from the first four issues would be nice, it isn’t required and aside, from some exposition explaining the time tether (the device allowing the team to take the fight to Kang), Mark Waid wastes little time throwing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes times two at Kang and his network of resource-gathering waystations.
Bolstered by Waid’s easy humor and tight characterization, a marked improvement from the tone deaf Champions, the assembled Avengers break into three teams and start to dismantle Kang’s empire. I cannot stress enough the speed at which Waid is working in #5. He’s dropping endearing character moments like Thor Prime warning Past Thor of “spoilers” as to why she now holds the hammer and plot reveals, like the identity of the time phantom stalking Vision way back in All-New All-Different, like they are going out of style. And all the while, he’s still zipping through the plot itself, which is so big and so crazy and oh, so very Avengers. If you are on the fence about Waid’s current team book output, Avengers #5 will be the book that puts them back on your reader radar.
A focused Mark Waid is always a good time, but oh, man, everyone, Mike Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso are turning in some top-notch work here on Avengers and #5 is just the latest and strangest example. Capturing some of that old Weirdworld magic, Del Mundo details the three fronted attack with the same off-kilter backgrounds and pointed scene blocking that made that book such a visual feast. Populated by heroes and creatures that look pulled from the dreams of Frazer Irving, Del Mundo’s take on the Avengers is too singular to be dismissed and too odd and cool looking not to be charmed by it.
Colorist D’Alfonso matches Del Mundo’s strangeness in kind and applies lightened, stylish shades to Del Mundo’s action, amping up the cool factor of the book and giving it a cheeky sort of self-awareness to comic book action. For example, the way the pair convey Spider-Man’s spider-sense gives the issue one of its funniest moments. As Spider-Man, Herc, Classic Hulk, Black Knight, and Sam Wilson close in on a target, Spidey says his senses are tingling and as he does he’s smashed in the head with the butt of a laser gun. D’Alfonso colors Spidey getting hit almost like static, awash in pale blues as pain dulls his lighting bolt senses. Avengers #5 has a few more moments just like that one as Del Mundo and D’Alfonso continue their consistently cool partnership.
Avengers #5 is all killer, no filler, and that was precisely what the A-list title needed. Mark Waid and his characters have a problem to solve, and come hell or high water, they are going to solve it. This narrative focus gives his script a pointed energy and real sense of fun as he barrels from one cliffhanger to the next. Harnessing that energy are Mike Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso who compound that fun then project it into impressive visual storytelling. If you like your plots big and your artwork super weird, then Avengers #5 is the book for you.