Who is the Challenger? What is at stake in his grudge match with the Grandmaster? And when the two of them clash, can the Earth survive the destruction they unleash?
“No Surrender” continues in Avengers #679 and we now have a better idea who the Grandmaster’s opponent is and why they’re battling. Taking a break from the action, writers Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub use the issue to explore the Elders who are using Earth as a Chessboard for their own pissing match.
Waid, Ewing, and Zub deliver an excellent entry that explains exactly what’s going on and why filling in more history of the Marvel Universe. The issue feels like a solid explanation for new readers and should entertain long time fans too. It also sets up the rivalry well keeping it simple and in by doing so also making it easy to relate to.
But, what the issue does that’s impressive is provide that “reflecting” issue due to the Human Torch’s “death” without an entire issue of characters mourning something we know isn’t true. They break expectations that way and shake up the narrative. That aspect is there but it’s relegated to a few pages instead of an entire issue.
The art by Kim Jacinto is excellent creating a cosmic feel of it all. The Grandmaster and the Challenger in ways feel like gods to the pawns being used in their battles. The designs are fantastic in both characters and settings and the focus on character expressions when dealing with Storms’ “death” adds emotion in a minimum amount of ways. Instead of pages, it’s panels.
The issue is a solid chapter that slows things down a little just as it was ramping up. It takes a step back to reveal more pieces of the puzzle and delivers a nice twist at the end just when you think everything’s been explained and all pieces are on the board.
There’s also fun added to each issue with extras. Here we get some of the thought process as to the design of the Challenger as well as Mark Waid explaining some of what we saw last issue, the type of debate comic fans love.
This continues to be an event that’s a hell of a lot of fun and living up to the hype, exactly what I was hoping it would be.
Story: Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub Art: Aaron Kim Jacinto Cover Art: Mark Brooks
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE issue for review