Avengers: No Road Home #3 // Review
A group of Earth’s mightiest heroes and an anthropomorphized Raccoon from the Keystone Quadrant find themselves waking up only to realize that they haven’t actually awakened in the latest chapter in the continuing saga of the group known as The Avengers in a mini-series bearing the title No Road Home. The writing team of Al Ewing, Jim Zub and Mark Waid collaborate on a story rendered by artist Paco Medina and inker Juan Vlasco. Color makes it to the page courtesy of Jesus Aburtov. The third issue in the mini-series delicately balances the history of a group of diverse characters while developing a wholly new story with a rather large ensemble.
As the issue opens, Rocket Raccoon awakens on a metal table. He’s being operated on by a couple of floating medical robots. He may be strapped-in, but the robots are in way over their little metal heads with the angry raccoon, who is soon joined by Hawkeye and the Hulk in what turns out to be the realm of dreams. Marvel’s ruler of the dream kingdom is the garishly green-clad entity known as Nightmare. He’s hoping that Hulk, Rocket, Hawkeye and their friends can aid them him in retrieving a crystal entrusted in him by Zeus himself...a powerful artifact known as “The Night That Might Yet Be.” Elsewhere Spectrum, Scarlet Witch and Vision accompany Hercules to a place where gods of many pantheons go to negotiate in hopes of retrieving an entirely different artifact in hopes. of protecting it from Nyx--the arrogant Greek goddess of the night.
With an unwieldy cast of seven heroes, the writing team is wise to keep them separated into two different groups. The juxtaposition of Rocket with Hulk and Hawkeye works quite well in a very pragmatically-rendered realm of dream. Bringing Rocket and Hulk together again is a rather nostalgic given Rocket’s early appearances with the Hulk decades ago. The rest of the team’s arrival in the rather unfortunately named Omnipotence City ignited into explosive action. The precise scope of the action doesn’t feel quite as cosmic as it could be, but the drama between super-humans is palpable in an otherwise enjoyable chapter.
Medina and Vlasco bring a feeling of comparative size and mass to the story that lends some sense of perspective to it. The action moves fluidly from the robot-raccoon altercation to a relatively massive Hulk confronting Hawkeye. Medina and Vlasco keep the drama grounded interpersonally on a social human level, though. The story focuses on a group of heroes dealing with cosmic mysticism. There isn’t much of a graphic depiction of that cosmic scope aside from a rather impressive 2-page spread featuring the big reveal of...uh...(sigh)...”Omnipotence City.” (seriously...they couldn’t have come up with a better name than that? I realize it was first introduced a few years back in Thor, but still...it’s a profoundly silly name.) Anyway...the action in Omnipotence City at the end of the issue glides across the page beautifully thanks in no small part to the luminous coloring of Jesus Aburtov. His star-scape behind Omnipotence City in the big 2-page reveal is as gorgeous the radiant light radiating from it.
The A-Team/B-Team approach to the large ensemble substantially aids the third issue of No Road Home. There’s almost enough here between the two different groups to warrant a pair of satisfyingly interlocked mini-series, but expanding the action too much might make the series feel that much more padded-out and cumbersome. The creative team behind the book seems to have found just the right amount of action to fill the book.