Review: Avengers #686

As Wonder Man struggles to get through to the Hulk, the Black Order attacks Avengers HQ! The grand cosmic game comes to its shocking conclusion – but the war for Earth is just beginning!

I’ll admit, I thought last issue slipped a little as it focused on a lot of punching and not much else. Avengers #686, part 12 of “No Surrender,” corrects that and then some.

Written by Jim Zub, Mark Waid, and Al Ewing, the issue focuses on Wonder Man’s attempt to reason with the Hulk. What’s revealed though feels like a Hulk we’ve never seen. And, that revelation is scarier than anything presented last issue. Gone is the thoughtless machine of destruction. Now it’s clear this is a being full of rage, one full aware of what it’s doing, with a clear agenda and reasoning. Hulk has been many things and presented in so many ways but what we see here feels frightening and had me pause to say, “oh shit.”

Where the last issue was a giant action sequence, this is the portion that adds some depth to it all as we see things from Simon, aka Wonder Man’s perspective. Zub, Waid, and Ewing have done an excellent job in this series shaking things up when it comes to the narrative. This isn’t an event about punching things. Where you think an issue might be that, it turns out to be presented in a different way. The trio regularly change the narrative and in doing so keep the storytelling fresh and interesting.

The art by Paco Medina, with ink by Juan Vlasco, and color by Jesus Aburtov is fantastic. The Hulk feels intimidating in his size and strength compared to everyone else. And, while it’d be easy to go over the top in the destruction, things feel focused here. What’s even bigger is the perspective of Simon. You can see the fear and his working through the situation on his face. The artistic team does a solid job of presenting the various emotions Simon goes through. And through his realization of the horror, we experience it too. The lettering by Cory Petit enhances that emotion with emphasis on key words.

Just when you think things might have fallen into brainless punching, the series event series has no problem showing it can shake things up. Here we get a depth to the destruction and fighting that’s unexpected and through subtle moments we also get different perspectives. A wonderful issue that continues the excellent narrative that’s been weaved. “No Surrender’ is proof that big events can work and is one of the most unexpected positive surprises of the year so far.

Story: Jim Zub, Mark Waid, Al Ewing
Art: Paco Medina Ink: Juan Vlasco Color: Jesus Aburtov Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Mark Brooks Variant Cover: Dale Keown, Jason Keith
Graphic Design: Carlos Lao
Editor: Tom Brevoort Assistant Editor: Alanna Smith
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review