In “Avengers World” #5, Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer and Stefano Caselliput Manifold front and center as the Avenger tries to regain control of his powers. As Tony Stark summarizes for Cap in the context of the issue itself, Manifold is experiencing “performance anxiety” issues. That opens the story up for Hickman and Spencer to regale readers with the history and backstory of Eden Fesi. Instead, all readers really learn about Manifold is that he likes to listen to Led Zeppelin.
In trying to find his center, Eden turns to Captain Universe, and Hickman and Spencer construct a nice bonding scene between the two characters. Other than that, “Avengers World” #5 is hollow, checking in on Bruce Banner, giving the writers a chance to draft a sales pitch from Tony Stark to Eden Fesi, and running a roster check on A.I.M. Island. Somehow, the writers fill twenty pages with these developments, which just seems to be about twice as many pages as this exploration requires.
The upside to that is the more expansive space empowers artist Stefano Caselli to draw up some mighty fine full-page and near-full-page images. I’m not sure any comic book story ever needs to depict a character meditating cross-legged on a full splash page, but Caselli’s work is so rich with detail and conducive to Andres Mossa’s colors that two full-page images in this issue are almost acceptable. Caselli’s work is clean and sharp, his characters are expressive and the backgrounds beautifully filled by Mossa’s work. “Avengers World” #5 may not be the most dense issue of this series yet, but the visuals give readers plenty of reason to stop and soak things up.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when Marvel expanded the Avengers brand with “Avengers World.” Quite honestly, I’m still not sure what to make of this series. Five issues in and there’s not much of note from the series to date. “Avengers World” #5 doesn’t do enough to make a huge dent, nor does it do anything to advance the dangling subplots around the globe. After half a year’s worth of comic books, I would like to be able to summarize the accomplishments of a title, but all I can say about this book is it is another Avengers book, which just happens to have some wonderful Stefano Caselli artwork in it. Unfortunately, at four bucks a pop, even Caselli’s artwork isn’t going to be enough to keep me coming back for more “Avengers World.” This book has been on the bubble for me and this issue does nothing to alleviate that.