U.S.AVENGERS #8's powerful story about acceptance is a must read for Marvel fans. Writer Al Ewing and artist Paco Medina create a great tie-in to the SECRET EMPIRE event.
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Emotionally Resonant

Writer Al Ewing tells the tale of a daughter living up to the legacy of her heroic father in U.S.AVENGERS #8. A tie-in to the SECRET EMPIRE event, U.S.AVENGERS #8 focuses on life in a Hydra “Re-Education” prison. It also showcases France’s resistance forces trying to prevent a complete Hydra takeover of Paris. Ewing uses flashbacks to show Dr. Toni Ho’s connection to her father, Professor Ho Yinsen. Yinsen, the man who saved Tony Stark from certain death when they were both captured by terrorists, left Toni with big shoes to fill since his death. Artist Paco Medina’s slightly cartoony style makes both action scenes, as well as mundane scenes, look dynamic. As a result, Ewing and Medina’s U.S.AVENGERS #8 serves as an emotional as well as integral chapter in the SECRET EMPIRE saga.

Flashback Foreshadowing

U.S.AVENGERS #8 begins with a flashback to Toni Ho sitting in a grade-school science class. The first quote of the book, “Resistance stops power from getting out of control,” acts as the perfect thesis statement for the SECRET EMPIRE event, as well as for the U.S.AVENGERS tie-in issues. Ewing hints at what most likely will lead to Hydra’s downfall: resistance. Many of the heroes in America are already resisting Hydra’s rule.

U.S.AVENGERS #8 page 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

In fact, later in the issue we see resistance fighters in Paris quite literally trying to stop Hydra’s power from getting out of control. French hero Peregrine and Captain Britain lead a team consisting of various heroic individuals including Ares, Squirrel Girl, and Outlaw, the British Punisher. These heroes fight to kick Hydra out of France and, in turn, try and stop them from taking over the entire world.

READ: Love Al Ewing? Read our review of the first issue of his Inhumans book, ROYALS!

Toni and Yinsen: Parallels

Ewing uses this flashback to add some emotional resonance to the future events of U.S.AVENGERS #8. Toni recalls the day she learned of her father’s death as she tries to help her boss, Sunspot, from succumbing to his M-Pox while they’re trapped in the Hydra prison. She remembers learning that her father sacrificed himself to save the life of another man. Back then, Toni couldn’t understand her father’s reasoning; why die for the life of a man you hardly know? Toni partly blames Stark for not doing enough to try and save Yinsen’s life and swears to do more when she grows up.

U.S.AVENGERS #8 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Toni gets that chance in U.S.AVENGERS #8. She tries to create an electrically charged headband that regulates Sunspot’s malfunctioning powers. Sunspot lost control of his powers after he was shot in the head by a Hydra agent. Whenever Sunspot uses his mutant abilities, the effects of the M-Pox worsen. Yinsen helped Tony create the Iron Man armor with spare parts left in their prison cell. In a parallel to this, Toni takes apart the room and uses everyday objects to create the headband.

In her inner monologue, Toni thinks about her father’s sacrifice again. She realizes that Yinsen’s sacrifice didn’t just save Stark’s life. It led to a change in his entire philosophy, leading Stark to devote his life to saving people’s lives and, eventually, assist in creating the Avengers. If Yinsen never sacrificed himself, Tony would never have created the Avengers. As a result, Sunspot’s Avengers, which Toni is a member of, would never exist.

Dynamic Art

Medina’s art style makes U.S.AVENGERS #8 look energetic in relatively mundane scenes as well as in action packed scenes. The reader can practically see the characters move in each panel through Medina’s art.

Medina draws a scene where Toni watches Tony Stark on the news right after Yinsen’s sacrifice. Camera flashes create a backdrop for Stark as he faces a crowd of reporters. When I read this, I could practically hear the commotion in the room and see the cameras flashing.

U.S.AVENGERS #8 page 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Of course, colorist Jesus Aburtov can also be thanked for this kinetic artwork. Blue camera lights envelop half of Stark’s face, making him look even more realistic despite Medina’s cartoony art style.

READ: Find out why Professor Yinsen’s first appearance is an essential Iron Man read!

U.S.AVENGERS #8 – Emotionally Resonant

Ewing proves that event tie-in issues can also have strong character development. Toni began as a woman who resented her father’s legacy, but by the end of this issue, she lives up to this same legacy by helping Sunspot. If you’re following the SECRET EMPIRE event, this issue is an integral read. Even if you haven’t been reading SECRET EMPIRE, check out U.S.AVENGERS #8 for its strong characterization and dynamic art.

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