“Avengers” #35 Review

"Avengers" #35 takes some disappointing turns as it tries to play poor characterization for laughs.

Writer: Jason Aaron

Art: Javier Garron

Colors: Jason Keith

Letters: Cory Petit

Oh, how I wanted to like this book. . . .

As regular readers of this website know, I’ve rather enjoyed the latest story line in Avengers. Age of Khonshu is a throwback to when big events happened in comics, but were contained within just the one title (or even one issue). Characters were pulled from all over the place, but their actions and presence didn’t reverberate across any other books.

Remember when Wolverine was everywhere? (I suppose he still is.)

Age of Khonshu completely ignores Empyre and the rest of whatever is going on in the Marvel Universe and just lives on its own, and that’s a good thing, because the storytelling doesn’t lean on the whiteboard’s-worth of coordination that a big crossover requires. It’s a nice package, and it’s been a fun story. This issue, though, takes a bit of a turn, and I find too many of the odd choices distracting.

I rather like Khonshu being depicted as petty and slighted by the lack of devotion he feels. The moon is important, and as the moon god, perhaps he’s right that a little more respect is in order. Khonshu is diminished by this heartbreak, and that’s an interesting choice. I’ve enjoyed when he’s more nebulous, bigger, less concrete, but this story has been letting Khonshu’s human qualities play an important role in interesting ways. I like that he’s sometimes just sitting around like some random guy (with a bird skull head). I like that he’s accessible. His motivation and rivalry in regards to Mephisto is still a bit hazy at this point; I hope it turns out to be appropriately cosmic, because I don’t buy that Khonshu is just trying to save the world. He’s too much of a trickster.

Mephisto appears in this issue, after being killed last issue, as his alternate versions from across the multiverse. At this point the book really loses me. I prefer a scary Mephisto. A beguiling devil. I want to feel a hole in my gut when he appears on page. This issue does the unthinkable, and makes the Devil just silly.

Howdy, pardner. . . .

Khonshu needs to kill all the versions of Mephisto, and like too much in this issue, the action is played for laughs. I think it misses the characterization of Mephisto, especially in this context. I also think the book makes missteps in how it portrays Tony Stark, as well as Blade, though I’ll admit I am not as familiar with Blade as some people might be.

VERDICT: If you’re on board the Moon Train, there’s no point in jumping off now, but otherwise, this book–this month, anyway–is a PASS.

Jason Kahler is a writer and scholar who lives in Michigan. His latest work is forthcoming in the book "How to Read and Analyze Comics" from SequArt. His poem, "After National Geographic," will soon appear in an issue of Analog…

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