Writer Jonathan Hickman presents “New Avengers” #12 as an epilogue to the “Infinity” event that concluded this very same week, but it’s just as much of a prologue to the next big, or bigger, thing. Hickman titles the story “Epilogue” anyway, and he and artist Mike Deodato turn in a decent and nice-looking wrap-up that sweeps up all the debris and sifts through the wreckage for any loose ends that need to be dealt with.
An epilogue to such a far-reaching epic like “Infinity” is a necessary evil, because the story was so large in scope that the fallout could have filled up several issues, let alone this single one. Considering how much time Hickman spent in the Avengers titles leading up to the event, in fact, it’s rather surprising that he didn’t spread things out a little more. Surprising, perhaps, but not unwelcome, as Hickman possibly realizes that his characters aren’t the only ones feeling a little bit fatigued. In addition to the obligatory denouement, though, he also forges the issue into a bit of prologue, by sorting out the aftereffects of “Infinity” and then planting these as seeds for future storylines.
Hickman fills the first half of the issue by returning to one of the more interesting plotlines he had going before being pushed aside by “Infinity:” the ongoing conflict between Wakanda and Atlantis. The complexity of T’Challa and Namor’s relationship is one of the more fascinating ones that deserve the time given here; they are foes as pseudo-heads-of-state, allies in the just-ended universal-wide war, and all the while sitting members of the clandestine Illuminati group. It’s also a scene that typifies both Deodato’s strengths and weaknesses; his layouts are strong and detailed facial features are extraordinary, but he hampers himself with his penchant for overuse of shadows. Many of the panels are just simply too dark.
The issue’s final scene is an ominous one that foreshadows future events that are intended to convey that those leading up to “Infinity” are but a small part of what’s to come, if that’s even possible to fathom. It’s a mildly-intriguing tease, but at this point, it’s like trying to tempt someone with another seven-course meal right after they just pounded down their Thanksgiving feast. There will come a time and place for this, but Hickman would have done better to save this tease for a time when readers are hungrier for it.
“New Avengers” #12 is enjoyable enough, but readers might feel like they were just offered a chance to sit down and rest, only to have the chair kicked out from under them as soon as they did. The wrap-up is fun, but it would have been nice to catch one’s breath before being asked to hold it again.