In “Avengers World” #14, writer Nick Spencer wraps up the story that has been populating the pages since it launched. A double-shipping schedule has helped keep the story afloat, making the tale seem quicker than the fourteen month epic this would be if it paced out on a monthly schedule.
Also helping the flow is Spencer’s choice to rotate plotlines throughout the series. Those various plotlines all weave together in this issue as factions of Avengers team up with local heroes in Europe and China as well as A.I.M. Island, Washington, D.C. and the airborne locales of the “Iliad,” S.H.I.E.L.D.’s prime helicarrier. Essentially, Spencer canvases the Earth of the Marvel Universe and checks in with more than three dozen characters, showing readers that, truly, this is an Avengers’ world.
Spencer gives a little more time and space to certain characters, like Maria Hill, Hawkeye, Cannonball and Captain America, but he checks in each battalion of Avengers and allies, assigning nice chunks of panel time and dialog to each. In addition to checking in with the characters, Spencer showcases the ideas and initiatives that make the Avengers such a unique franchise. Shang-Chi sizes up his competition and utilizes Pym particles to take on the Madripoor-carrying dragon while Sebastian Druid supplies Hawkeye with reasons to love and hate magic. Spencer’s choice to wrap up the issue with a conversation between Hill and Captain America ties a pretty bow on this storyline and sets up the series going forward.
Following the plotlines from Spencer, the art has run through a rotation as well. This issue is drawn by Marco Checchetto, perhaps best known for his work on Greg Rucka’s stint on “The Punisher.” This issue opens up about as far afield from Frank Castle as can be, and Checchetto proves to be the perfect choice to draw a Pym particle-enhanced Shang-Chi and gigantic dragon. Checchetto draws an astonishing amount of characters in this issue, and even though the story includes various characters with similar attributes, Checchetto keeps every character distinct and fresh. Letterer Joe Caramagna helps with the distinction effort by keeping the artwork clear of clutter, tightly assigning word balloons and providing variations in the flow of the story, like La Fey’s scream of pain or Druid’s magical spells. Colorist Andres Mossa embellishes Checchetto’s work with watercolor-like work, adding in shadows and sheens as well as splatters and textures. The visuals come together nicely on several high-profile shots within “Avengers World” #14, including a quintet of the Avengers’ heaviest hitters and a poster-ready double page spread.
That image includes the Next Avengers (from that direct-to-video adventure of the same name from some years back, who also appeared in the Heroic Age “Avengers” series), Euroforce, S.P.E.A.R., the Ascendants and, of course, the Avengers. The composition completely fills the last two pages of “Avengers World” #14. Yes, it may seem like a bit of overkill, but after the fourteen-part saga that has carried readers through, it is perhaps the most appropriate way to reward readers and Avengers, showing a distinct conclusion before spinning off into a new storyline. That new storyline will undoubtedly be connected to “AXIS,” but at least there is closure before piling on new stories. I’m hoping the next arc doesn’t span this long, but the stable of creators, highlighted by Spencer and Checchetto certainly has ample opportunity and range for whatever come next.