Written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub
Art by Pepe Larraz and David Curiel
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
The Earth has been stolen, and the only person that can save us is… Living Lightning?!
Well, not just Living Lightning, as all manner of incarnations of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes come out of the woodwork for Avengers #675, the opening salvo of “No Surrender,” a line-wide crossover of three Avengers teams crunched into one, weekly Avengers weekly story-arc. Written by all three current Avengers writers, Mark Waid, Jim Zub, and Al Ewing, the trio take on the herculean task of wrangling all the teams with a single catastrophic event and then set about the even bigger task of getting them to work together. Though not much headway is made in the way of plot during this debut, the trio do a stellar job of juggling the extra-large cast and their voices, establishing the apocalyptic stakes of the the crossover. But while the plot lacks momentum, the artwork certainly doesn’t, thanks to the fast-paced pencils of Pepe Larraz and the sumptuous colors of David Curiel, making Avengers #675 a beautiful but thin start to this latest epic crossover.
Kirby krackle fills the skies all over the world, and Earth’s heroes are scrambling to keep order on the ground. Acting as a sort of roll call issue for the overall crossover, Avengers #675 rarely stops moving as it introduces its very large cast, but unfortunately it doesn’t say that much as it speeds along. But while we don’t get much by way of plot reveals aside from a head-scratching cliffhanger to send us into the next issue, Zub, Waid, and Ewing at the very least keep all the characters’ voices and personalities intact. As the situations on the ground become increasingly dire, the trio detail all manner of teams from the U.S.Avengers to the Unity Squad tackling all sorts of natural disasters and rescue efforts.
While there is only so many tidal waves and earthquakes we can stand seeing superheroes standing against, it is nice to see a group of writers committing to the characters’ basic heroics and personalities. In doing so, the stakes are both epic and personal, as each writer gives certain heroes skin in the game - particularly the Wasp, who gains urgency and agency beyond the end-of-the-world stuff when she witnesses Jarvis get grievously hurt attempting to rescue a child from falling rubble. It isn’t exactly the most groundbreaking of narrative moves, to be sure, but it is refreshing to know that with this group of writers that relationships and characterizations aren’t going to be lost in the shuffle of rubble that usually make up superhero crossovers.
But while the writers and plot don’t give much away, penciler Pepe Larraz and colorist David Curiel more than make up for it with consistently beautiful and richly colored displays of daring do and cast interactions. As the script hops around the globe and from team to team, Larraz and Curiel keep the visual pace and momentum amped up even when the script doesn’t, zipping from one set piece to the next. For example, as we open on Living Lightning infiltrating a car theft ring, Larraz and Curiel lean into the dusty Texas setting only to blow it up with buzzing colors once Miguel unleashes his powers. Afterward, the art team rarely lets up, whisking the readers from sun-soaked aerial rescues from Falcon to a fiery, lava-capped operation at the base of Mount Vesuvius by the U.S.Avengers. Though much of this issue is dedicated to simply introducing the major players of the event, Pepe Larraz and David Curiel gives “No Surrender” a consistently beautiful and kinetic foundation.
Avengers #675 gives us more questions than it does answers, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a good-looking book that keeps its heroes’ characterization intact. In the capable hands of writers like Jim Zub, Al Ewing, and Mark Waid and under the watchful and colorful pencils and brushes of Pepe Larraz and David Curiel, I am confident that “No Surrender” will be a fitting swan song for this era of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Let’s just hope that next issue finds more meat on the bones of this story and less coasting on great artwork and characterization.