Avengers: The Enemy Within

Monday, February 3, 2014

Avengers: The Enemy Within
Kelly Sue DeConnick, Scott Hepburn, Matteo Buffagni, Filipe Andrade, 2013

Premise: Collects Avengers:The Enemy Within #1, Captain Marvel #13-14, 17, Avengers Assemble #16-17. Sequel to Captain Marvel: Down. Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, has been having a rough time. Between dinosaur attacks and villains threatening her friends, her own powers might be killing her. She'll need the help of all her teammates to face down the force behind the plot against her.

I really enjoyed this, both for itself and on principle.

But first, my little quibbles. Because this story took place over two series, there are two art teams. The styles aren't too jarringly different, but one team has an obsession with bulging veins that I find really off-putting.

The dialogue might be just slightly too quippy. It's superheroes, so it should be quippy, but there were a lot of characters in this and their dialogue could have differentiated them just a bit more.

Okay, that said, my quibbles are bound up in why the existence of this story makes me so happy. The crossover that causes the small art clash? This may be just two series crossing over, both written by the same author, but it’s still an event focused and centered on a female superhero, her strength, her supporting cast, her villain, her relationships with other heroes.

Also, we have an embarrassment of riches with the characters here. Captain America, Wolverine, Hulk/Banner, and Thor all get nice moments, but we've got Carol, Spiderwoman, Black Widow, Allison Brand (head of S.W.O.R.D), Wasp, ... the book seems overflowing with women until you realize that all Kelly Sue did was give them equal screen time. Once you see that it becomes clear how rare it is to read a great team story where half the characters are women.

Aspects of the story are sometimes ‘oh I guess that works okay just go with it’ stuff. But you know, that might not fly in a novel but superheroics thrive on it.

Best aspects include the comradely friendship between Steve and Carol thats been quietly built up throughout this series. It’s nicely highlighted here. Not to mention how awesome Spiderwoman is! This series makes me want to know more about Jessica Drew like nothing else has. The friendships between Carol and her supporting cast are sweet and complex.

The story is fast-paced and you have to sprint to keep up, but I recommend you jump in at the start of this series (or this new spin-off series, starting this Wed?) for some excellent super ladies.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book

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