AVENGERS #678 BY MARK WAID, AL EWING, JIM ZUB, DAVID CURIEL, AND PEPE LARRAZ
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
AVENGERS #678 is a fast-paced book that delivers on the action. If you're into battles, this book is for you. However, if you're into backstory and setup, you might find yourself skimming the pages and just admiring the artwork of David Curiel and Pepe Larraz instead.
78 %
Chaos Amongst Chaos

“No Surrender” has now completed its fourth installment. We’re a month into this major Marvel event, and there are still oh so many questions. What we do know, however, is that the team of Al Ewing, Mark Waid, and Jim Zub are going to continue the action for as long as they can. While this makes for an exciting read, it leaves the reader wanting a bit more. AVENGERS #678 delivers chaotic battles and drama but fumbles with gaining proper depth.

The Quick Plot of AVENGERS #678

In this issue, our villainous teams have more drive. The objective of the game becomes more clear: there are strange items that must be acquired to claim victory. Our heroes pick up on this — although it’s surprising considering the chaos taking place during battle — and suddenly new elements are presented. We learn players in this game are presumably disintegrated when a prize is acquired. This happens to Black Dwarf when he leaps up to grab a pyramid-like object.

AVENGERS #678
AVENGERS #678 page 19. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Rogue and Thor have a great look of shock on their faces. Reacting quickly, Rogue warns the others that they must head to Peru to stop the other heroes from potentially grabbing an object. Living Lightning heads out, only to find both Human Torch and Red Hulk leaping for the prize. Human Torch, in an attempt to relive his glory years, grabs the object and the issue ends. What will be his fate? Supergiant, of the Black Order, mentions “the obstacles are working out the rules,” but what does this mean? What role do the heroes have? Are they simply obstacles, or is Earth the location of this battle for a different purpose?

“Avengers: No Surrender” Requires A Bit Of Backstory

As I was reading this issue, I found myself consistently looking at the front page to verify who the members of the Black Order and the Lethal Legion are. Many fans out there might not have this problem, but new fans probably will. With the writing style of Ewing, Waid, and Zub, it’s almost as if a glossary is needed to fully understand all of the characters in play. This isn’t because of all the heroes and villains. It’s actually because of the number of fight scenes. They’re chaotic and beautiful (thanks to David Curiel and Pepe Larraz) but rather discombobulating.

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The calmer aspects of this series have been excellent. I like that Voyager isn’t taking center stage, but rather acting like everyone remembers her being part of the team. Her return was a commotion but took a sidestep when bigger fish came into the lake. The way this naturally occurs shows the skill of our three writers.

The Suspense Is Real

Then there’s the suspense in the calmer scenes. As Scarlet Witch and Brother Voodoo attempt to break Vision out of his blue shell, Scarlet Witch whispers, “we did this.”

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Did what? We don’t find out! I was expecting to have this revealed later in this issue (as it happens in the middle of AVENGERS #678), but sadly this isn’t the case. At first this frustrated me, but I was so caught up with the rest of the action that I really didn’t feel cheated of a reveal; we’re given other suspenseful moments in the meat of the story that it was enough to satisfy me and ponder other ideas.

avengers #678
AVENGERS #678 page 11. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

A weekly series needs many plots, and while “No Surrender” isn’t as tangled as, say, 52, it gives us enough to work with. At least there are subtle drops: Grandmaster’s opponent mentions, “The Black Order is a honed fighting unit — subalterns to one of the most feared creatures in the universe.” This, of course, refers to Thanos, but where is he? At first I thought said opponent was Thanos, but the features don’t exactly match up to the Mad Titan.

The Artwork of AVENGERS #678

AVENGERS #678
AVENGERS #678 page 24. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

With all of that said, we need to talk about this artwork. The style delivered to us by Pepe Larraz and David Curiel has been phenomenal. Curiel’s colors pop in such wonderful ways: from the purple surrounding the mystics back at the bunker to the red that encompasses the entire battle in Peru. These colors really shine when they need to and set the tone as well. Larraz’s drawings are really something. I’ve mentioned the battles can be chaotic, but this isn’t Larraz’s fault from what I can tell. He actually makes them at least pleasant to look at, and the proportions of his character designs make everything clean and smooth.

What Can We Expect Next?

Overall, AVENGERS #678 is an issue that gives us something to look forward to but leaves us a bit scattered as well. I hope the fight scenes after these initial battles lead to a more cohesive story, but only time will tell. Also, what’s with our lost heroes? Does the blue casing have significance? Does this have to deal with Grandmaster? His opponent? Thanos? One thing is for sure: the art team following Curiel and Larraz have big shoes to fill.

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2 Comments

  1. Alex Bisignaro

    February 2, 2018 at 8:23 am

    You know, I totally did miss that! I didn’t pick up on Quicksilver’s groan in the background: good catch! I’m curious how this will affect the upcoming issues and if this freezing/unfreezing is part of Grandmaster’s game.

    Reply

  2. Sebastian Leucke

    February 2, 2018 at 2:33 am

    I think you misunderstood the Scarlet Witch part where she is saying “we did this”! This was no mysterious whispering! It was just the sudden realisation that she and Voodoo were responsible for what happened to Quicksilver last Issue, that he got frozen inmidst speeding to attack. (Reason for that was the unfreeze of Vision)

    Reply

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