Avengers #12

Jonathan Hickman scoots over in the writer's chair to make some room for Nick Spencer on "Avengers"#12. Artist Mike Deodato and color artist Frank Martin join the writers while Cory Petit adds various lettering styles to the story.

The writing duo sends a select group of Avengers to the Savage Land to visit the kids hatched from Ex Nihilo's evolutionary bombs. The infographic shows Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Captain Universe and Hyperion, but the focus of this issue really comes from a conversation Thor and Hyperion share regarding the fleeting nature of the world around them, magnified by the amazing adaptability of the Savage Land children. The pair elects to educate the children, which allows Spencer and Hickman to check in on the other Avengers.

Mike Deodato seizes the bulk of the prominent protectors in this issue, electing to have Thor and Hyperion fill their respective panels as much as possible. For the most part the artist uses a widescreen, straightforward approach to the art in "Avenger"#12; occasionally overlapping traditionally crafted rectangular panels over full-page imagery. The Savage Land seems to dictate such treatment and Deodato serves the Savage Land very well in his depiction of it. In addition to the lush landscapes, Deodato sneaks in a stegosaurus and also draws a sabretooth-tricera-tiger, but doesn't really have a chance to treat readers to full-fledged dinosaur awesomeness, which his style seems nicely matched to portray.

The real hang-up I have with this issue is the resignation present in all of the Avengers. Hawkeye and Spider-Woman are as hands off in their lessons as they can possibly be, Thor and Hyperion seem more content to navel-gaze and Spider-Man (still Octavius) appears to have had an extra helping of jackass flakes before this issue starts. When the Savage Land kids are attacked, the heroes don't spring into action, obviously allowing for future issues to address the pursuit and conflict certain to follow. Luckily, the scheduling frequency of "Avengers" truly helps to keep Hickman's sprawling epic fresh and mobile. This issue needs a quick follow-up that Hickman, Spencer and company will almost certainly deliver, but like some of the previous issues in this volume, the threat just doesn't feel quite Avengers-worthy. That doesn't keep this from being an enjoyable issue all the same, it just isn't the greatest issue of the dozen "Avengers" have given under Hickman's supervision.

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