Avengers #24.1

Without hesitation, I can say "Avengers" #24.1 is my favorite Brian Michael Bendis-written issue of "Avengers" ever. Of course this issue also ignores a lot of the stories in between "Avengers Disassembled" and the ramp-up to "AvX." The art in the issue opens with a flashback drawn by "Disassembled"-era artist David Finch and brings the reader up to speed from there.

Bendis chooses the end of an era to open up this tale and it works nicely, inviting the reader to join the Vision as he seeks to learn what has happened to him and the Avengers of late. After all, the Avengers he recently rejoined were not the last Avengers the Vision knew. Lapsed "Avengers" readers will be able to get up to speed quite nicely as Bendis settles the score between the Vision and She-Hulk and then sets the Vision on the trail of the Scarlet Witch.

Brandon Peterson brings his keenly detailed, heavily crosshatched style to bear on the android's journey, creating a perfect look for the Vision: human, yet much moreso, but in a particularly rigid way. Juxtaposing Vision with She-Hulk offers a nice study in Peterson's strengths as an artist while properly detailing the humanity of both characters. Likewise, Peterson brings out the arrogance in both Vision and Magneto during the duo's less than civil conversation.

Peterson's work is not without its faults, however. Late in the issue, as Captain America waits for Vision to return to Avengers Mansion, it appears as though the super soldier is either almost uncharacteristically ticked off or is in need of more fiber in his diet. This, thankfully, is an extreme exception to an otherwise solid artistic offering.

Sonia Oback's colors are intense and nicely matched for this story, but in some spots she goes way over the top. For example, Magneto's eyes are bluer than Captain America's costume. While this may be a latent effect of Magneto's mutant gene, it's also enough of a coloring distraction to draw attention away from other details -- but for the most part, Oback does a nice job finding the proper hues to cast upon each character.

This issue is a sojourn for Vision and gives him a number of personal encounters that help remind readers who this character is while also offering clues about what he may yet become. Surprisingly more character-driven than one might expect from a comic starring a synthezoid, Bendis and Peterson have concocted a near-perfect Vision story. In all future "Avengers" point one stories, I'd like issues just like this one that further the relationships touched on in this installment. After all, is there a character who is more inherently an Avenger than the Vision?

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