Avengers #676 Review - Who Is Voyager?
(Contains spoilers for Avenger #675 and minor spoilers for #676)
A worldwide threat. Clear villains. Major mysteries.
This is starting to sound like an Avengers story.
The second chapter of Avengers: No Surrender, written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub, ratchets up the stakes from last issue while also expanding the mystery of the new “founding” Avenger, Voyager. Featuring possibly the biggest collection of Avengers ever, merging 3 teams as well as myriad reserve members, No Surrender is starting to feel like a modern version of a classic Marvel epic, with big villains with mysterious powers behind them, but it’s really the presence of the anomaly that is Voyager that could be the biggest threat of all.
As seen in #675, all the Avengers remember Voyager, and #676 expands that, telling an altered history of Voyager’s presence before her apparent demise during the classic fight with the Squadron Sinister from Avengers #70. There are even Editor’s Notes from Tom Brevoort, acting as if this was always the story. Of course, it’s hard not to be skeptical of this altered history (especially if Brevoort is saying it), but there are hints as to the eventual answers, particularly in the two word description of Voyager’s powers, put out there with no context but clearly meant to spark more questions.
But even if the Avengers were aware that things were not as they should be, they wouldn’t have time to deal with that. The already-Earth wide threat established last issue, including natural disasters and numerous major Avengers taken off the table, has escalated by the insertion of two teams of cosmic level villains, the “hey weren’t most of these characters dead” Black Order and the “who even are these characters” Lethal Legion (most of the team appears to be brand new). After mirroring the classic comic meeting of two teams, a fight, they are broken up by an unknown power that has sway over the team for some even-more-unknown reason. This leads to an explosive conclusion. Literally.
If anything, the creators have let the readers know that they are in for a big, bombastic Avengers story, without invoking the hero-vs-hero trope that has become so prevalent in Marvel storytelling for the last decade. It feel fresh and new while simultaneously being perfectly in line with some of the biggest classic Marvel events. Perhaps there will even be “champions” in some kind of “contest.”
All of this expanding intrigue is executed fantastically by Pepe Larraz, who continues to prove himself an indispensable part of Marvel’s modern current roster of artists. Paired with David Curiel’s vibrant color palette, Larraz nails both the heroes and villains, giving the heroes just a touch of cartoonishness while also conveying weight and power expertly, while making the villains more menacing by drawing it back and creating a dynamic fight sequence that sets up an epic battle for this new Avengers roster.
But the thing about this issue that will probably make it a modern classic is the stunning cover by Mark Brooks. Brooks has escalated his game to an astonishing degree, from his more cartoonish work in the ‘00s to this rendered, Norman Rockwell-esque style that is making the case that he is in the upper echelon of comic artists. Marvel needs to get him doing interiors, paired with a superstar writer, on something evergreen, something that could see him being spoken of in the same breath as Esad Ribic or even Alex Ross. He certainly deserves it.