“All-New, All-Different Avengers” #11 suffers a bit from “middle chapter syndrome”; it’s that part of the story arc where there’s still at least one more chapter to go, so nothing can be totally resolved, but — at the same time — the basic premise was already established in the earlier chapters. Fortunately, Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar do their best to make sure the Avengers’ fight against Annihilus still moves well, and they provide just enough developments to grab readers for the finale next month.
“All-New, All-Different Avengers” #11 uses a divide-and-conquer method to keep the story moving, with Ms. Marvel, Nova and Spider-Man on an alien chain gang and Iron Man, Captain America and Vision in Negative Zone wilderness while Thor goes one-on-one against Annihilus himself. It works well, and Waid carefully constructs the plot so that — while all of the groups can accomplish individual victories — it’s only when all seven are reunited that they’re able to finally stop Annihilus and find a way to get back into their own universe.
Waid’s Avengers team also uses as much intelligence as brute strength to win. Sometimes, it’s the tested-but-proven method of using different abilities that the bad guys aren’t prepared for; other times, it’s a smart look at the clues provided to figure out how Annihilus’ plan is supposed to work, then defeating it using that same in-story logic. While things aren’t wrapped up neatly just yet (in a cliffhanger moment that feels designed as much to keep a conclusion from happening as it does to tweak the cliche of an easy, last-second escape), there’s enough going on to keep readers happy.
Asrar’s art delivers all the way through with a smooth, slightly chunky style. One of the things I like most about his art here is how well he makes Ms. Marvel (as well as Nova, once his helmet is off) look like a teenager instead of just a small adult. Something about her facial expressions and her posture makes it clear she’s not an adult yet, even as she’s still drawn in a capable and dangerous manner. Asrar is good with the body language overall, too; I love how he draws Ms. Marvel looking dejected after her big speech to the aliens, or how Nova slumps down just a little bit in the background with his face shrouded. Finally, the fight between Thor and Annihilus feels like two deity-level beings slugging it out, not just a casual tussle. Asrar adds a real heft to their postures, so that their struggle looks like hard work.
“All-New, All-Different Avengers” #11 is fun, with just enough to bring readers back for the conclusion in the next issue. If you’re going to plunge the characters into outer space and alien dimensions for a couple of issues, this is a nice way to get it done.