Avengers #21

Jonathan Hickman and Lenil Francis Yu continue their "Infinity" saga in "Avengers" #21, the newest installment in Marvel's latest event. As in past issues, the Avengers are faced yet again with a Doomsday scenario, only to find questionable salvation where they least expected it. "Avengers" #21 marks Hickman's dutiful contribution to this space opera, thematically exploring the probability of miracles; Yu's art continues to shine with his inventive alien designs.

With an entire section dedicated to the Kree and the Supreme Intelligence, the reader gets an entirely different point of view on the Builder's defeat by Thor's hammer. In fact, the Supreme Intelligence offers a counterargument that colors the rest of the issue, going so far as to foreshadow the ending cliffhanger. His diatribe contributes neatly the issue's debate on the probability of miracles, labeling the circumstances an "anomaly" and thereby emphasizing the lens of perspective. Even though the chapter relies heavily on flashbacks from the previous issue, it stands out for the conversation it inspires.

As the Avengers and their compatriots begin to lose ground, their past victories begin to seem like an anomaly indeed. Hickman sets up a heavily thematic issue that circles back to its opening topic by the end of the story, exploring not only the probability of miracles but the price they incur. He weaves together the scenes through this unity of topic; although the book jumps to several different settings, Hickman executes fluid transitions that tie the issue together neatly, utilizing this motif to its fullest extent. By linking together so many scenes, he covers a large scope of story in just a few short scenes.

However, the issue can't help but feel like a retread. The Avengers have spent a majority of "Infinity" at five minutes to midnight as they do in this issue, making large sections of this book feel like a rehash as they and their comrades enact doomsday plan after doomsday plan. As the stakes climb, showing just how dangerous the Builders are once more, one moment erases the build up; their demise feels quick and slightly anticlimactic in its few dedicated pages, especially after the plot dwelled so long on their apparent invulnerability. Though the danger is far from over, one would expect them to be able to put up more of a fight.

Yu's work on the issue continues to be inventive. His design for the Kree technology was particularly effective; its complicated nature absolutely enhances the feeling of authenticity it encapsulates. For the most part, his character work is similarly effective. Although some characters get lost and shapeless in the background, those in the forefront shine. Captain Universe's costume, in particular, is absolutely stunning, helped tremendously by Sunny Gho's colors. Additionally, Gho's colors stand out in his work with the golden-hued flashbacks that appear throughout the issue.

Hickman and Yu add another chilling contribution to the "Infinity" storyline with "Avengers" #21. Though the issue felt a little stretched out at times, its fascinating commentary on perspective and miracles help carry its well-paced story along. Hickman gracefully turns the tide of "Infinity" with the aide of Yu's creative designs.

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