Hulk continues his rampage in AVENGERS #685. Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub create cohesive and strong battles in this issue, and the artwork from Paco Medina, Jesus Aburtov, and Juan Vlasco makes this a beautiful issue to read.
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As “No Surrender” makes its way to its conclusion, the amount of casualties begin to rise. AVENGERS #685 continues the trend started in the last issue by allowing the Hulk to take center stage. As expected, even as more heroes throw themselves at Hulk, nothing seems to work. But Scarlet Witch’s plan to unleash Vision from his blue encasing gives a glimpse of hope. Is it enough? AVENGERS #685 reveals all.

The General Plot of AVENGERS #685

After a few pages showcasing Proxima Midnight and Black Swan making their way to Avengers Auxiliary Headquarters and Grandmaster attempting to contact Voyager, Hulk and Red Hulk face off in the beginning of AVENGERS #685. Despite Red Hulk somewhat holding his own, Waid, Ewing, and Zub quickly allow Hulk to defeat the Avenger. This makes sense: this is The Immortal Hulk, and he’s arguably stronger than ever.

avengers #685
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

After this defeat, Scarlet Witch manages to swap out Brother Voodoo for Vision in the blue encasing. When this happened to Quicksilver in AVENGERS #678, Scarlet Witch got the idea that she could reverse the process. It works. Vision is released and immediately takes on Hulk. The battle is intense, and it reminds readers just how amazingly powerful Vision is. However, this battle also reveals how insanely strong Hulk is. As Vision tries to phase through Hulk’s brain, Hulk manages to smash Vision at the exact second Vision is in his physical form. After a few panels of Vision whispering simple binary, Brother Voodoo is released from his encasing, indicating Vision is gone from this world.

The remaining plot is quick: Proxima Midnight and Black Swan attempt to take out Cannonball and Living Lightning but are themselves overtaken by Toni and Enigma. Just as Hulk is about to overtake the safe room housing Voyager, Wonder Man rushes in and strikes Hulk in his ionic energy form. Is this a return to form for Simon Williams? He certainly has his suave back.

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Hello? Is Bruce Banner Home?

AVENGERS #685 is littered with action. The pacing is great, and while some battles are clear mismatches for Hulk, the three writers do a good job making them entertaining nonetheless. But is this only Hulk battling, or is Bruce Banner in there somewhere? Vision brings up this question as he tries to take down the green monstrosity. It’s unclear thus far, but Hulk has spoken a few words indicating he’s not simply flaunting muscles. There is indeed some proper brain activity here. Upcoming issues will show if Hulk can actually listen to reason. But the way things have been going has me believe the answer is a strong “no.”

The Artwork of AVENGERS #685

avengers #685
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Paco Medina, Jesus Aburtov, and Juan Vlasco give powerful artwork in this issue. Medina’s battles are easy to follow, something that hasn’t been very true for the majority of “No Surrender.” His drawings of Hulk and Voyager really make them stand out. Of course, these depictions are assisted greatly by Vlasco’s inks and Aburtov’s colors. The ionic energy surrounding Wonder Man pops so wonderfully. It almost feels as if the purple is bleeding out of the pages. There are so many different types of battles in AVENGERS #685, but these three artists step up to the plate and deliver unique depictions of each type of conflict. As always, the artwork in “No Surrender” is one of the best parts.

Looking Forward Towards Future Issues

Overall, AVENGERS #685 is a great issue to showcase Hulk’s strength. Not too much progresses in regards to plot, but minor scenes will have major repercussions in future issues: Voyager declaring she won’t be her father’s puppet; Quicksilver pushing his limits and seeing “blue spots;” Wonder Man embracing his ionic energy; Vision dying; and the defeating of the remaining Black Order.

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I hope to see a character like Rogue lose it on Hulk, and I also hope to see Voyager actually benefit our heroes like the hero she pretended to be. She’s such a nifty character (that costume!) that I hope she sticks around post “No Surrender.”

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