AVENGERS #3 may seem a bit over its head, but Jason Aaron is laying the groundwork for what could be an excellent storyline. If he paces himself, keeps his characterization on point, and allows Ed McGuinness' artwork to do its thing, I think this will be a tale we'll remember for years to come.
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Excellent Characterization

Jason Aaron’s AVENGERS reaches its third issue this week. While it’s not weekly like “No Surrender,” it’s been coming out frequently enough to keep readers engaged and intrigued. The story itself in AVENGERS #3 keeps a similar pace to the first two issues while managing to portray critical character traits in each of its heroes (and Loki, too). But while Aaron’s characterization is spot on, his plot is a bit watery; there doesn’t appear to be a lot of substance, and that’s a bit disappointing with a flagship comic. Ed McGuinness’ artwork is beginning to grow on me, though, and it makes this quite the pretty comic book.

The Plot of AVENGERS #3

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

It’s been revealed Loki is somewhat behind all the celestial madness going on. It’s fitting to have Loki be the villain, what with this being a relaunch and the AVENGERS films fresh in our mind. You can really feel that cinematic influence as you turn the pages in AVENGERS #3. Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor lead the charge to space to face these celestials head on. Once there, they find Loki who details that a giant purge is about to take place. He’s very talkative here, albeit a bit vague. He’s rather distracted, too, as Captain America finds an opportunity to sacrifice himself and set off a warp triggering grenade.

Destination? The sun.

Naturally, Captain America doesn’t die; Loki keeps him alive inside the sun and further explains his plan. We see a beautiful depiction of the celestials here, but the greatest image is the end, where Loki eventually takes Captain America to the North Pole and explains “the root of the great infection.” It’s a Progenitor, and I have a feeling it’ll be over the head of a lot of readers (including me). I’m curious how Aaron ties all of this to his flashback scene in AVENGERS #1, and I’m doubly curious how long this plot takes. There’s a lot to take in, so I hope he takes his time with it.

Characterization is Key

What are our other heroes doing during all of this? They’re plotting and planning and being genuinely interesting characters. Jason Aaron does an excellent job allowing every character a time to speak. And that’s difficult with eight heroes. We see Carol Danvers and Tony Stark bickering and referencing CIVIL WAR II; Ghost Rider takes the role of the newbie and is a treated as such by Tony; She-Hulk and Thor find common ground in their need to hit something and wind up going to Old Asgard; and Doctor Strange and Black Panther calmly give their encounters in the center of the Earth.

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Like I mentioned, Aaron is juggling a lot here, so I do hope he takes his time with this tale. This story feels a bit like a classic UNCANNY X-MEN run, what with the giant space monsters and talks of purging. If he can properly group these heroes and explain (without being boring) what the hell these celestials are planning, I think a fine AVENGERS story is in the works. And, if he keeps these Avengers in character, while also developing the likes of Ghost Rider and a newly angry She-Hulk, this will be an essential Marvel book for those who are fresh out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Artwork of AVENGERS #3

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

As mentioned, Ed McGuinness’ artwork is truly beautiful. I at first found it too cartoonish, but it’s so fitting with what this AVENGERS book is about: a giant adventure with huge villains and insane dilemmas. AVENGERS is truly a classic Marvel comic book. Aaron and McGuinness’ ideas are a tad insane, and that makes it fun. McGuinness’ drawings reflect this. I love how he’s drawn the likes of Ghost Rider. It’s a very unique look compared to the classic Johnny Blaze we’ve seen in GHOST RIDER books. And the celestials look captivating. I like how they all resemble one another but have clear distinctions. You can tell McGuinness put thought into every one.

Of course, this book also shines due to the coloring of David Curiel. I’ve been a fan of this guy since “No Surrender,” and I’m so happy he’s still on the AVENGERS publication. His colors in AVENGERS #3 pop on every page. Honestly, just look at Loki’s green eyes. Or even the black coloring of Black Panther’s costume. It’s deep like charcoal, yet your eye can’t help but notice its bright look.

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I will say that it sometimes feels the spacing is off in this comic book. There’s a lot going on, but it’s never entirely clear where exactly these characters are spatially. I’m not sure if this is due to the script or McGuinness being more concerned about the details of his drawings. I really only notice it in the major fight scenes, so I’ll let this judgment simmer as more issues come out.

What can we expect after AVENGERS #3?

There’s a lot to take in with AVENGERS #3. Jason Aaron has done his research, and because of that, I need to do the same. But that’s exciting; I like when stories point me in the direction of other stories. I’m also curious where and when all of this is taking place. We’ve had a lot of relaunches this past month, and it’s unclear where exactly this celestial story fits in. Again, I’m sure time will tell, and I look forward to seeing how much this impacts the Avengers and Marvel timeline!

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