Avengers #17

Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer take the time in "Avengers" #17 to straighten out all of the pieces on the chessboard, checking and double-checking angles of attack in this fourth and final chapter in the prelude to "Infinity." The writers attempt to follow Captain Universe's instruction and empower the Avengers to go bigger, so Captain America extends the invitation to join the Avengers. None of the new members are major surprises, but the lead-in infographic in the next issue should be nearly full.

The pair of writers is joined by a trio of artists in the form of Stefano Caselli, Marco Rudy and Marco Checchetto. Caselli delivers the twelve pages, wrapping up the adventure in Perth, while Rudy and Checchetto each take four. The artistic labor is divided by scene, which helps keep the story moving while the visuals remain coherent under the colors of Frank Martin and letter work of Cory Petit. The art is nicely assigned to each story segment, with Rudy drawing psychedelic patterns for the scene on Mars. That choice of imagery would not have been as potent in the other scenes, nor would Checchetto's work have fit as nicely as it did for the interaction on the Dyson Sphere.

While no actual punches are thrown by any Avenger, this issue is far from lackluster. A.I.M. is still milling about their business, hoping to tame the killer robot that put a hurt on the Avengers. Captain America, Iron Man and Bruce Banner try to comprehend the directive to get bigger and the team as a whole begins to bristle with restlessness and readiness for battle. Hickman and Spencer may not bring the ultimate Avengers fight comic book to readers in "Avengers" #17, but they make it quite clear that from here, things will get big and loud.

Essentially, "Avengers" #17 serves as the pep rally and fire-up dinner for the Avengers as "Infinity" draws nearer. After reading this comic book, I'm stoked for the continuation of the action and look forward to how this bigger Avengers team meshes. Hickman has made very deliberate choices in constructing his Avengers story to this point. The additions to the team made in this issue pay out dividends for seeds the writer spread in this series' first handful of issues. The final page of "Avengers" #17 declares "End Prelude," but the argument could be made this whole series has been a prelude to "Infinity" as Hickman, Spencer and company have prepared readers ready for the battle to come.

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