AVENGERS #682 is an issue unlike any other "No Surrender" installments. Its inclusion of Red Wolf gives Marvel the chance to let a C-lister shine. Ewing, Waid, and Zub create a powerful issue that could be amazing or questionable come the end of this series. The art is as superior as ever with Sean Izaakse coming in on pencils.
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Great Pacing

AVENGERS #682 is the most unique issue of “No Surrender.” At the end of the last issue, Hawkeye and Red Wolf jumped into the scuffle with the Lethal Legion. In this issue, Red Wolf takes over narration duties, providing key insight into his style of battle. While the layout of this comic is fantastic, there’s a huge opportunity missed that keeps it from making the series that much stronger. Sean Izaakse takes over artistic duties in AVENGERS #682, and his style keeps the flow of the series in check.

“You Cannot Take The Path Until You Can See It”

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

Red Wolf is the main attraction of this issue, and he’s also the coolest. From the flashbacks of The Valley of Doom occurring in 1872 to his final bold move in the present that makes even Hawkeye flinch, Red Wolf demonstrates one of Marvel’s strengths: its rich roster of partially unknown characters. But that is also why this issue falters. Red Wolf makes his grand appearance, says beautiful words of wisdom (albeit a Native American stereotype), and then sacrifices himself in a fashion similar to Johnny Storm in AVENGERS # 678. It’s all such great pacing for a character who only has one issue to shine.

It sucks to see a lowly represented character have such an impact and then simply disappear. This is a missed opportunity by Marvel. Although, if Red Wolf actively appears later during “No Surrender,” this issue would be redeemed. Hell, what would be best is if Red Wolf makes appearances after “No Surrender.” With that said, it’s important to realize why Red Wolf made AVENGERS #682 so memorable.

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As the battle between the Avengers and the Lethal Legion ensues, Hawkeye slings arrows as Red Wolf stands idle, biding his time. Red Wolf searches for an opening, thinking back to 1872 — it was here Red Wolf was locked in a lopsided duel with an enemy. Red Wolf recounts what his mother told him, about knowing there is always a path but needing to actually find it before moving forward. This is an excellent message and one that fits this story well, a story with a game that has confusing rules and catastrophic consequences at all angles for all players.

The Hulk Finally Revealed

For the most part, this issue is Red Wolf narrating the battle. He acknowledges the Lethal Legion as tactfully attempting to acquire a Pyramoid. He realizes there are patterns, and while this battle is chaotic, it is not chaos. I found this insight quite thoughtful, for it makes you stop and wonder about each individual in the mayhem rather than the mayhem as a whole. Once Red Wolf touches the Pyramoid (in such an epic scene with Hawkeye), we see him placed inside one of four giant Infinity Gems alongside the other three Pyramoid acquirers.

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The Challenger grows restless with the heroes (known to them as “obstacles”) having more points than he, so he decides to call upon his ace in the hole: The ‘Immortal’ Hulk, the raging Bruce Banner. “Rage is cold” and “rage cannot be stopped,” claims the Challenger. Whether or not this is true is to be determined, but one thing is for damn sure: I wouldn’t want to be Hawkeye right now.

Countdown to Infinity

It’s clear Marvel is really going to hammer home the Infinity Gems in this series. For the first time during “No Surrender,” the Gems are actively mentioned. The Grandmaster even decides to use the hospital Jarvis is located at as the location hosting the Pyramoid connected to the Soul Gem. This tie-in makes sense with the AVENGERS movie coming out this May, and it has me brimming with glee at the prospect of Thanos possibly popping in. What would be amazing is if it’s all not too forced.

As for Jarvis? Beast claims to understand his ailment in a clearer light. It’s an alien pathogen, so microscopic that it’s a bloody miracle Beast notices. But the Soul Gem Pyramoid is being hosted in the hospital: will Beast and Wasp have time and power to save Jarvis?

The Artwork of AVENGERS #682

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

Sean Izaakse takes over pencils in this issue as David Curiel continues his skillful coloring. The way Izaakse draws Red Wolf and Hawkeye is fantastic here. It’s nice that these two, who made such a grand appearance last issue, take center stage in both dialogue and action. Izaakse follows the trend of Jacinto and Larraz’s artwork. His drawings are proportional and fight scenes are chaotic but relatively clear. Curiel’s coloring of Red Wolf is of interest here, as his skin tone and outfit are very grey. This juxtaposed against the popping colors of everything else makes Wolf stand out in a unique way; his lack of color draws the reader in.

Who’s Excited for Hulk?

The Hulk only appears during the final pages of AVENGERS #682. However, his presence hints at critical moments to come in “No Surrender.” How does the Challenger plan to utilize him? What’s in store for Jarvis? He wakes up for the briefest moment only to say, “it’s a lie.”

What’s a lie? Voyager? This game? Another Avenger? We’ll hopefully find out soon. It’s clear this subplot of Beast, Wasp, and Jarvis has a strong connection with the main plot at hand.

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