I’ll admit I hadn’t realized “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #7 was part of the “Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill” crossover until I saw its cover — but I’m also glad I hadn’t known. Mark Waid and Adam Kubert’s comic doesn’t require any advance knowledge of what’s been happening in this crossover, and — if anything — it’s better to go in blindly. That way, you can feel like an honorary Avenger.
Waid eases the reader into “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #7 by making it seem like just another day for the team. The burgeoning relationship between Falcon and Thor opens the book in a way that makes Sam and Jane’s tentative connection feel natural, even as it deals with both the superpowered and mundane aspects of their lives. Similarly, Kamala’s interaction with the Vision at her school is great because it feels like a horrible nightmare, but one that never actually shifts into being anything but reality. It’s funny, even as you squirm just a bit at poor Kamala’s discomfort — though there’s a wonderful payoff for her at the end of the scene.
Even when Waid kicks the main plot into high gear and we see the intersection of this comic with the crossover, it doesn’t matter. The Avengers are in the dark about what’s going on at Pleasant Hill, and — when we meet up with the team from “Uncanny Avengers” — they’re just as perplexed as a reader coming in cold would be. It still feels very welcoming, though, and — if anything — it makes me eager to stop and backtrack to the previous chapters to see how well it connects to what’s happening from everyone else’s perspective. That is the gold standard for a tie-in comic. Add in a strong cliffhanger, and it’s two big thumbs up.
Kubert’s art is rock solid; the brief fight between the two Avengers squads is deliberately all over the place but easy to follow. More importantly, Kubert handles the less bombastic moments well. For instance, the look of terror on Kamala’s face when she finds out what her substitute teacher is really up to is fantastic; just look at how wide her eyes get in the first of those two panels, and then how her pupils start to slide to one side even as the chalk starts squealing across the board. It’s simultaneously funny and unnerving; Kubert makes Kamala’s fear jump off the page and into the back of the reader’s brain.
Similarly, Kubert wraps up Sam and Jane’s breakfast together through a two-page spread, using lots of little panels laid out across the vista of the rooftop to give us plenty of reaction shots as the two talk. There’s also a good series of transitions as Sam suits up, while Jane gazes at the shield peeking out of the top of his duffle bag. It’s a very effective series of storytelling moments from Kubert, who takes a quiet scene and brings it to life. Add in some effective colors from Sonia Oback, Dono Sanchez Almara, Romulo Fajardo and Edgar Delgado, and this is a nice looking comic.
“All-New, All-Different Avengers” #7 is a fun issue that comes in and achieves its goal quickly and efficiently. I think even readers who aren’t picking up the crossover will have a lot of fun with this; I know I did. It’s a strong job from all parties involved. I wish all crossovers were handled as well as “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #7.