Writer Al Ewing moves over from “Mighty Avengers” to scribe the adventures of Hyperion in “Avengers” #34.1. A nice interlude from Avengers action with the spotlight on Hyperion and providing an analysis of Hyperion’s motivation, this story drawn by Dale Keown with inks from Norman Lee is packed with promise. Hyperion has needed a spotlight to stretch out a little and adjust his backstory for inquisitive readers and this comic opens up a chance for that.
While the heroic struggle of “Avengers” #34.1 pits Hyperion against a significantly overwhelmed Mauler, the real crux of Ewing’s story focuses on Hyperion grasping at humanity. The writer uses a fairly bland child abduction plot as an opening to draw parallels between the past and the present, the abducted child and Hyperion. The Superman analog reflects on his own experiences as a son and a father, but is also provided plenty of page space to show off his powers for readers. Ewing devises a fresh-feeling approach to investigate Hyperion’s powers of super vision in a dynamic manner, and even gives readers the full explanation of his mission and his goal. The human core to this comic book leaves Hyperion pliable and the final page presents a setup for events and decisions to come that could completely redefine Hyperion and his status in Marvel’s heroic pantheon.
“Avengers” #34.1 is filled with square-on shots, which work to the message of humanity as Hyperion strives to remain connected, but doesn’t cross the gap to communicate the power and scope present in this survivor of a dead planet. Dale Keown’s work is solid, detailed and clean, but with Lee’s inks over top, the finished lines take on an appearance more similar to Steve Dillon’s work than Keown’s own noteworthy work with “Pitt” or “Incredible Hulk.” I remember Keown being more bombastic and expressive and this story doesn’t need explosive art to be successful, but the art in “Avengers” #34.1 is good, stopping just short of great. Keown, Lee and colorist Jason Keith may be hamstrung by the story itself, and they do a wonderful job of presenting the humanity in the characters present, but panel layout and camera angle could have certainly used a bit more dynamism.
Delivering a Hyperion story in a point-one issue of “Avengers” proves that one-shots are apparently dead without a brand to buoy them up. This is most definitely not an Avengers story, regardless of Hyperion’s status with the team or the future impact this tale will have on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. “Avengers” #34.1 is packed with promise, it ultimately falls short of delivery. Hyperion should star in a comic and shine, but fails to work the spotlight here. It’s a good, solid story, but it could have been more.