On the whole, I’m enjoying “Avengers World,” to the point that it’s become the primary source for my Avengers fix. But thirteen issues in, there are some definite storytelling methods from Nick Spencer that are starting to become a little tired, and Raffaele Ienco’s art isn’t quite able to pick up the slack either.
“Avengers World” #13 deals more with the rampaging dragon (with the island nation of Madripoor still perched on its head) that’s attacking Shanghai, while the Chinese team of the Ascendant tries to stop it. And amidst the attacks, Spencer takes the opportunity to flash back to show us how each member was recruited into the team. If the latter sounds familiar, that’s probably because it’s not the first time Spencer dipped into this well. Just earlier this month, “Avengers World” #12 did the exact same thing only with Euroforce and their attacking of Morgan Le Fay.
The problem is, even with little one and two-page glimpses into all of these new characters’ histories, there’s not enough to grab onto to make them terribly interesting. Having so many new characters thrown at the reader in such a short time ends up being overwhelming rather than intriguing; none of them will be memorable when they’re dropped into the comic in a tight cluster. If we’d seen these characters over the course of several issues in a row, now might be a good time to give their back stories. But considering that “Avengers World” gleefully jumps issue-by-issue from one situation to the next, there hasn’t been any sort of build up to recognize or care about the Ascendant, Euroforce, or any of the other characters showing up in a barrage of faces.
Ienco’s art is in many ways very average. Some of the scenes are good, where he gives some strong likenesses; with thin, light lines to carve out their faces it might bring to mind artists like Leinil Francis Yu. The problem is that Ienco’s action sequences feel very stiff and posed, here. When the Ascendant leap onto page 7, it looks depressingly generic and uninteresting. None of their poses have any energy or sense of motion; instead we have a lot of gape-mouthed expressions boggling at nothingness while the background is a random explosion pattern. It’s frustrating because those flashback pages seem to almost be from a different artist; they’re beautifully defined and show a lot of talent. The present day pages, though, just clunk forward.
Considering that all of the “Avengers World” plot lines still seem wildly up in the air, I’m a bit hesitant about the promise that this massive story will be concluded next issue. Hopefully it will flow smoothly and we’ll get a satisfying wrap-up. But if not, well, it’s hard to wonder if having two issues in a row spend a lot of time introducing new generic characters from other parts of the globe was such a smart choice.