Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Mark Brooks
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Review by Nico Sprezzatura
It’s all led to this! Avengers #689 is the penultimate issue of “No Surrender,” and the Avengers are gonna need all hands on deck to defeat the ascendant Challenger. But, does the climax live up to the story as a whole?
THE BIG BIG BAD?
I’m actually surprised Thanos never showed up during this story. I suppose Marvel is saving him for the upcoming Infinity Wars (sound familiar?) event series and that’s the reason why, but there were many points throughout this series where it seemed the Mad Titan himself would make an appearance.
Nonetheless, “No Surrender” has been a fine introduction to The Challenge and Voyager, and I wonder if (or when) we’ll see them again in the Marvel Universe. On that note…
Voyager in particular has undergone so much development since her first appearance, and I think there’s lots of potential in having her stick around. Marvel hasn’t mentioned her at all in their “Fresh Start” promotion, so it’s possible that next week’s Avengers #690 will be the end of the line for her, but I hope that’s not the case. Everybody loves a classic heel-face turn! After pretending to be an Avenger for nefarious purposes, I’d like to see what Valerie Vector can do as a full-fledged, true-blue hero.
THE LIMELIGHT AVENGER
In a nice instance of bookending a story, Lightning returns to helm this narrative ship he helped launch all the way back in Avengers #675. As he notes himself in the issue, Lightning isn’t exactly A-List status in the pantheon of Avengers, but “No Surrender” has given him quite a good amount of proof that maybe he should be.
Without giving away his subplot in this installment, Lightning is pretty crucial in helping his fellow Avengers save the day, and they may never even know the role he played in their fight. As with Voyager, Marvel hasn’t actually said anything about their intentions for Lightning after “No Surrender,” but I really hope there’s a place for him somewhere in the Marvel Universe moving forward.
WORDS AND PICTURES
In keeping with the idea of bookending a story, Pepe Larraz returns to draw the storyline he helped start, and it’s up to his usual par. This issue calls for a lot of action, which could make it easy to get characters lost in the shuffle, but he really lands the necessary emotional beats — most of which involve Lightning and The Grandmaster. With colorist David Curiel and VC’s Cory Petit, both of whom have been around for most of “No Surrender” as well, it’s all a pitch-perfect package for this kind of story.
THE VERDICT: Buy it.
With a satisfying climax to the “No Surrender” saga, Avengers #689 is the penultimate issue of an impressively epic superhero story that’s worth your time.