The Complete Collection Vol. 5 review

The Complete Collection Vol. 5 review


In the franchise’s soon-to-be 60year history, AvengersIt has mainly been an ensemble book, where characters can find utility elsewhere. It has often expanded mythology without challenging the more popular tentpole books like Amazing Spider-Man. Rarely, the book has been used to steer the Marvel Universe.

That function of the book came into vogue in the modern era with Brian Michael Bendis’s long-running New Avengers and its associated books, which essentially became the through-line from major event to major event; even if you weren’t reading everything the company published, following AvengersYou were kept up-to-date with all that was happening Not requiredTo find out about your Houses of MAdd your Ages of Ultron.


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'Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection' Vol. 5 closes the massive, architectural reworking of the Marvel Universe
Marvel Comics

The most radical use of Avengers as Universal Steering Wheel was Jonathan Hickman’s run with the franchise—which also happens to be the last time AvengersThis has been done.

Using two titles—both AvengersAnd New Avengers—Hickman began some heavy work toward restructuring the entire publishing slate at Marvel Comics, setting up a cosmic end-of-everything scenario on two fronts. While every other superhero in the Universe was oblivious of the fact, the Illuminati—and, eventually, the central Avengers—came to understand that the multiverse was collapsing. The Illuminati, unaware of the source of the destruction, fought against all threats to their world and ended up blaming themselves. The Avengers, having been restructured by Steve and Tony as a massive, utility-centered ‘machine’ of heroes, began facing major universal threats neither group knew to be instrumental to the multiversal collapse.

Ten years on, Hickman’s run still feels monumental, despite the fact that its only lasting legacy (post-Secret WarsMiles Morales’ body being folded into Earth-616. Its central narrative—and large-scale concepts of the multiverse, its frailty, and its function—also remain poignant with both the publisher and the MCU exploring those themes.

The fifth and final volume in the series. Complete CollectionThis week’s issue shows the Marvel Universe leap forward eight months. Its relationships and team structures are vastly different than the previous volume. The Illuminati has expanded from its tight inner circle, taking on super geniuses like Amadeus Cho, as well as Multiversally aware characters—specifically Brain Braddock, Captain Britain, whose adventures in the ’80s gave us the multiversal numbering system.

Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 5
Hulk bomb.
Marvel Comics

The Avengers, on the other hand, have split into two—Steve Rogers’ S.H.I.E.L.D. and Roberto DaCosta’s aspirational faction. As it comes to a head, we find ourselves in yet another large-scale hero vs hero fight—this time operating on three fronts (four, if you count the Cabal), and while that might feel a little exhausting and overdone by 2015, remember that this is a full year before the even more exhausting Civil War II. Of those three big hero fights, this is both the most effective and the least politically problematic (even if some of the characters here—particularly Steve’s short-sighted super-cops–are behaving badly).

Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 5
It’s all Cabal stuff.
Marvel Comics

This (lowercased) civil war is more tangible and more fruitful because it operates out of utility. Hickman doesn’t assign any political views to any particular character. He places them on the conflict for their narrative necessity. Secret WarsIt is beyond it. This is a story that aims to share Big Ideas, and not to suggest some sort of timed-obsolescence morality. He makes use of all his toys to tell the most structurally sound tale.

Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 5
Everyone’s invited.
Marvel Comics

Hickman has a tendency to bombard the reader with dense, oblique concepts without slowing down to explain them – whole characters have massive and abstract origins or experiences that are collapsed down to four panels. Language becomes tough and chewy, with words casually tossed around that sometimes don’t feel like they don’t mean anything to the reader. That’s because the readers aren’t living with the lingo, aren’t dealing with the things these characters are doing day in and day out. 2015 readers may be able read a single issue, then jump on to Wilson. Ms. MarvelSlott or Silver Surfer, and that language wouldn’t be necessary, meanings wiped away.

This is Hickman’s Giant Idea Machine’s constant major failing; it could be seen in Fantastic Four/FF, and it’s very present in HoX/PoX. It feels as if things exist in his head as very legible and fully explained, but that sometimes doesn’t make it to the page, leaving the other writers to get around to the nuts and bolts of things like Doom’s machinations toward Battle World or how, exactly, the Five function on Krakoa.

Hickman acted primarily as an architect during these franchise restructurings. He demolished the buildings and excavated the remains to create a place for other creators. Because he was working from abstract concepts, his characters work often feels more like blueprints than it does emotional growth. The characters were placed there because they were heavy-bearing and not because the final placement completes a growth arc.

A.I.M. CEO is not an emotionally satisfying resolution to Roberto DaCosta’s character journey. isn’t an emotionally fulfilling resolution to Roberto DaCosta’s character journey begun in Marvel Graphic Novel #4. This is not a structurally or functionally necessary conclusion. SomeoneHickman wanted to be at the top of the world. Warren Worthington III was the perfect candidate.

Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 5
Big ol’ Buff Bro Brigade
Marvel Comics

This isn’t to say that there aren’t emotionally powerful moments–this book is rife with tragedy, best exemplified with the deaths of Hyperion and Thor at the ends of the multiverse. However, other books that led up to the end were more humorous.

Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: A Complete Collection Vol. 5 ultimately illustrates the fruits of Hickman’s largest, most architecturally complex work at Marvel. Though I certainly don’t think it’s ‘Complete’ without the inclusion of Secret Wars, it does perfectly round out the five-volume collection and, as with all the Complete Collections, it’s a beautiful collection (particularly at this price point).

Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 5

‘Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection’ Vol. 5 concludes the huge, architectural reworked of the Marvel Universe

Avengers by Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 5

Vol. Vol.

A selection of artwork from the top artists of 2015

The perfect cross-sectional view of characters.

It balances the weight of the entire world on its shoulders.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to feel emotionally.

It does not contain all the conclusive narrative resolutions that the whole story requires.


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