In “Avengers” #33, the third chapter of “End Times” ends with an explosion. That’s only fitting considering the tumult and chaos Brian Michael Bendis has ushered into the lives of this team during his tenure as their writer. As it was in the beginning so it shall be in the end. Bendis’ work on this title fits that saying, which makes his decision to tighten focus around the “original” (sans Hulk but with Captain America) Avengers squad all the more invigorating.
Bendis doesn’t offer up the sleepwalking sham some penultimate issues provide as they attempt to resolve plots and adventures that were dreamt to be much longer or given more room to organically develop. Instead, he does what he does best in this issue, giving all of the characters various moments of reflection and interaction. Red Hulk and Vision hang out and have a chat while they protect a portion of Central Park from an unknown (to them) threat. The remainder of the team are given some downtime and shown relaxing and enjoying some hot dogs as they figure the combined intellect of Tony Stark and Hank Pym can handle any crisis found in Inner Space. Juxtaposing that with action in Inner Space, Bendis encapsulates many of the things that make the Avengers such a beloved franchise in comics.
Terry and Rachel Dodson bring the high-gloss artwork to accommodate everything Bendis writes. Yes, some of their characters trend towards replicants from a clone farm (without reading the word balloons, I could have sworn Maria Hill shows up and not Daisy Johnson), but when they’re given unique characters to render, they deliver quite wonderfully. Lord Gouzar, an armored centaur and, apparently the inspiration for bronies everywhere, is another character that the Dodsons tackle quite nicely. Gouzar gets to use the big voice courtesy of Cory Petit’s letters. That adds a level of threat to what is a visually comedic character. Overall the visual team does a great job adding depth to this story, giving different voices and personalities to the diverse cast of creatures and characters in “Avengers” #33.
The Avengers should be loud and fun, with subtle character moments, which is exactly what Bendis gives us, although it moves so briskly it feels like half a story. “Avengers” #33 (and all of the “End Times” issues) are nice rewards for readers who have stuck by Bendis throughout his run or simply decided it was time to check in with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes once again.