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Up until the latest issue, I’ve been enjoying the current “Avengers” storyline, with the Hood hunting down the Infinity Gems right from under the so-called Illuminati members’ noses. But now that the heroes are aware that the Hood is performing a snatch and grab, their response is to try and retrieve the Gems back themselves. And unfortunately, it’s a lot of the same, and drawn out at that.

In theory, the idea of the Avengers needing to break through the defenses protecting the Infinity Gems should be fun, but be it the Mariana Trench, the Danger Room in overload mode, or Area 51, none of these stories are particularly interesting. Each scene is actually a little dull; a group of Avengers fights the guardian and then scoops up the missing piece. While I appreciate that these scenes are setting up the Hood having to come directly to the Avengers rather than just being one step ahead of our heroes, it still makes for this month’s “Avengers” to feel a little plodding. Nine pages of Namor, the Red Hulk, and Thor swimming is a bit much, and the Danger Room scene is somehow even less interesting.

I think part of the disappointment was that after we had a somewhat interesting defense for Reed Richards’ Gem, these ones seem rather ordinary. The Danger Room in particular should be much more inventive-after all it can create anything-but all we get is a generic slugfest. It’s not that much fun.

The art from John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, and Tom Palmer also comes across a little low-energy. Blob attacking Spider-Woman, for instance, looks like a sketch rather than finished art, and the bottom panel on the next page with Professor X and Beast talking doesn’t even look like Romita Jr.’s pencils, it’s so oddly rendered. And with Dean White and Paul Mounts taking slightly different approaches to the coloring (look at the shift in style and effects from inside the Danger Room to immediately outside, and it’s rather noticeable) this ends up looking like an inconsistent book.

“Avengers” is normally a bit more fun than this, but everyone involved already seems tired of the current story. That’s not a good sign. Neither is the fact that a reprint of the recent “Heroes for Hire” #1 in the back is far more interesting than the main feature. “Avengers” needs some more energy, and fast.