Writers: Mark Waid, Al Ewing & Jim Zub
Artists: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Mark Brooks
Publisher: Marvel Comics
A review by Nico Sprezzatura.
So your planet’s been stolen by an unknown threat. What next? Avengers #676 addresses the Earth-shaped elephant in the room (or rather, the one missing from it) and inches the “No Surrender” story along, while also giving us a little more facetime with the (apparently) returned founding Avenger known as Voyager.
While Issue #675 was full of action and table-setting exposition, Avengers #676 slows the pace down a bit, and mostly observes our expanded legion of Avengers discussing their predicament and brainstorming potential solutions. With so many personalities mixing and clashing against one another in a single room, there’s (naturally) some tension between each faction, led by Falcon (the main team), Citizen V (the U.S.Avengers), and Rogue (the Unity Squad). That’s not even accounting for the likes of Quicksilver, Wasp (Nadia van Dyne), and Beast, who have their own ideas and are unafraid to express them.
Unlike recent crossovers, however, their squabbles in this issue feel less antagonistic and more like familial in-fighting. They’re all united under a common goal, instead of morally opposed to some major schism between them; it’s very much in line with past Avengers stories (and even their 2012 movie) that they don’t immediately all agree with one another. They may be arguing now, but the final page reveal of this issue suggests they might have to put their differences aside much, much sooner than later.
While last week’s introductory chapter of “No Surrender” was told from Lightning’s perspective, Avengers #676 is narrated by Falcon. I assume this will be the format moving forward, and I can’t say it’s a bad move. With a cast as expansive as this one, you either embrace the chaos and switch characters in and out of the driver’s seat with each installment, or you focus on a select few to move the plot forward.
While Jonathan Hickman went the latter route during his Avengers run, Waid, Ewing, and Zub seem to be doing the former. I’ve always been partial to this kind of storytelling (e.g. like on the late, usually great Skins) so I’m interested to see whose turn is next. Sometimes a new perspective is enough to keep a story fresh, and this crossover is chock full of ones to pick from.
And then we have Valerie Vector, AKA the forgotten Avenger known as Voyager. While we only got a taste of her last week, this issue gives us more backstory on her origin. We see Voyager inserted into classic moments of Avengers history —through some awesomely retro visuals by Pepe Larraz— and learn why she’s been forgotten by history.
I have to admit I’m not totally sure if we’re meant to gleam that she’s a well-known aspect of Avengers history that their more senior members remember perfectly or not, because if that’s the case, what kept them from recalling Voyager sooner? It just seems a bit… sudden, or convenient. But I’m willing to suspend my belief for a little while longer, since this is a weekly series and there’s less time to wait for answers from issue to issue.
If I really had to put a tinfoil hat on, I’d speculate she’s actually Valeria Richards from a possible future, potentially even leading to the much-rumored return of the Fantastic Four we’ve been seeing in the Marvel Legacy one-shot and Marvel Two-in-One. Plus, “Valerie Vector” sounds suspiciously like “Valeria Victor” — as in, Victor von Doom, who’s sometimes her father figure in alternate timelines. Let the wild mass guessing continue!
With the same exact creative team as last issue (Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub writing, Larraz drawing, David Curiel coloring, and Cory Petit lettering) returning for this one, Avengers #676 helps maintain tonal consistency. We still have Paco Medina and Kim Jacinto in the pipeline, but I’d prefer if all three artists get to tell their own chunks of story instead of their issues getting sprinkled randomly throughout — less whiplash that way. In any event, Larraz continues to deliver good, classic superhero action with his illustrations.
(Also, shout out to Curiel for correctly rendering Roberto with dark skin, which has unfortunately been a consistent oversight in recent comics starring him.)
Buy it if you jumped onto the title last week. With the “No Surrender” crossover in full swing, Avengers #676 slows the action down with just enough time to breathe before launching into one hell of a cliffhanger.