“Avengers” #32 has a number of new developments for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes thanks to Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Mayhew and Brandon Peterson. I’ll keep this review spoiler-free, but deductive fans can start jumping to conclusions all their own if they’ve read “Avengers” #31.
When the issue opens, a mysterious woman with ties to the Avengers is on the run in Inner Space, which provides ample opportunity for Bendis to showcase the wit of Spider-Man, the everyday man aspect of Hawkeye and the dedication of Avengers to members of their team and allies. Bendis is definitely more comfortable writing a wide range of personalities and having them bounce off of each other, which he does here to great effect. Some characters are a little less definitive when dropped into such a crowd, and others are given some odd lines seemingly just to have speaking presence in the issue (Captain America asks if shrinking is going to hurt) but for the most part the scope of the adventure and the camaraderie that Bendis delivers override any personality quirks to provide an exciting voyage for Marvel’s greatest superhero team.
The art matches the story, with some minor inconsistencies dropped in. Mike Mayhew handles the normal world New York scenes while Peterson delivers the Inner Space action. Mayhew’s drawings provide strong storytelling, but some of the characters are just off. In one scene, it appears as though a graffiti artist drew Thor’s helmet on his head, Red Hulk simply looks weird appearing more like Kirby’s original designs for the Bruce Banner version of the character than anything we’ve seen of Red to this point. Mayhew does well with his layouts and storytelling, however, and most of the other characters are well done. Peterson’s art, as has become standard is filled with stunning levels of detail, but his penchant to sex up the mystery character is distracting, especially the big reveal scene where said character is in the much-maligned breasts and butt body twist, putting all of her feminine charms on display in what must simply be as painfully unnatural a pose as possible. Sure, it’s dramatic, but surely Peterson could have found an equally dynamic and more natural pose.
The “End Times” story provides “Avengers” readers with one last tour through Brian Michael Bendis’ version of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and gives the writer a chance to tuck in or trim off the loose ends of his marathon run. As such, fan favorite characters abound and developments occur all over the place, but in this issue those things are on a smaller (pun intended) scale and are therefore much more personal. As a fan of the late-1970s through early 1990s Avengers, I’m finding a lot of enjoyment in this series and this issue in particular.