Johns crafts a deft final battle which culminates in the proper amount of insight, revelations yet leaves just enough mystery to keep us reeled in. Bar Jim Lee’s amazing art, which really glistens as his best to date, it’s an all-out brawl where the league finally works together to incapacitate the villain, Darkseid, while Batman goes on a hail-mary mission. It was smart to take Wayne and Superman out of the majprity of this battle and give the others time to shine, which was well worked with Diana, Cyborg and Lantern.
Everyone gets fair share of panel time as Darkseid unleashes a threat and some disturbing news as to his presence. His lust for Superman is also made clear as to why he needs the Kryptonian and it all comes off as a decent mash-up, albeit a bit dragged out over 6 issues. That said, the banter at the end is quirky yet does a grand job of linking together a league, with hesitance and reluctance in tandem. It’s nice to see no exposition offered on newer members in the back-up feature as you don’t want another membership arc dragged out. It’s well sped up. That whets the appetite for Johns’ take on Pandora, finally revealed as she drops cryptic words and arms to the Phantom Stranger. It’s a perfect backup feature that is forefront to me as Pandora no doubt is what DCU hinges on when it comes to comics. The art here is pretty spot-on and leaves enough room for a lot more stories that Johns no doubt, has long-term plans for. If Johns and Lee keep this pace up, frivolous or not an arc, I’m gonna be hooked. (9/10)
Bendis is full of his one-two punch here and there are a few misdemeanors now and then, but what’s a good crossover without a hiccup or two. Each book is an extension of the next with the NA book, smartly drawn by Deodato, which shows Cage’s men under the swarm of federal authorities who decide to enforce martial law on the Avengers Mansion. Jessica, Squirrel Girl and the baby are bereft when the siege hits upon Luke’s arrival. With posse in tandem after the Dark Avengers wiped the floor with them, Strange is left to shepherd the herd away to live today, assess and fight tomorrow. However, Cage has much more at stake and leaves the team to a much-needed interception of Vicky Hand. Here’s where the issue falls to pieces as it reminds me of that botched setup of Jess Drew. Hand becomes quite mundane a character here and is totally lost in the threads to me. Furthermore, throwing the absence of Steve as a kink in the cogs is elementary and juvenile a plot seed. The final page here interests me a lot given that Gorgon and Hydra reek of duplicity, which I am sure Osborn catered for. That said, Skaar shocked me. Not often, in a good way but here, it’s impressive. On Avengers’ flagship title, Acuna rarely wins me over but this is one of his better issues as it expands on Hydra shedding her light to the US Gov’t on where and how and why the New World Order is needed. Quake gets spotlight time to resuscitate the team and it happens a bit too miraculously and breaks down the struggle that Bendis scripted when he took the team out. It’s like they were never getting an ass-kicking and again, it’s a bit too clichéd how easy Quake reassembles them. It still bodes well to see Osborn confronting on a final page that still leaves a lot to be found out as to how Osborn seems so powerful. It isn’t the best combo punch but these issues will suffice. (6.5/10)
This proves a decent offering by Eric Pearson and Chris Yost that acts as fillers for all Marvel films that act as precursor to Avengers. It’s smart, subtle yet straight to the point under some decent artists. It’s precisely the filler that you’d need based on the after credits of previous films and it also adds in nice snippets of SHIELD’s true presence behind the scenes leading up to the Avengers. It governs around the machinations of Director Fury with much appreciated insight to Hawkeye and Widow, which we probably won’t get on-screen. The tie-ins make perfect sense to the film and despite knowing how the lead up is shaping to the Avengers, they manage to actually make the book an interesting read. It’s a novelty but it’s properly linked in with the films. Not a bad attempt at all to educate. (8/10)