Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Color Artist: David Curiel
Cover Artists: Javier Garron & David Curiel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Avengers have been through the ringer with recent threats from within and beyond, and now they face new villains that threaten their existence – the Multiversal Masters of Evil. Last time, Asgard was under siege by the Dark Phoenix, her berserker, and King Killmonger. Avengers #52 continues these new Masters of Evil’s death hunt for Deathloks and Avengers.
Readers will know that this reviewer has been critical of Jason Aaron’s Avengers run for a while now. Admittedly, h’es had nuggets of good ideas, like the Multiversal Masters of Evil from Avengers #50, but his execution of the stories have been flawed, to put it nicely. And he’s had some bad ideas of his own that he’s been trying to turn into big deals for the longest while now, like his Avengers B.C. team and this new kid Starbrand.
In this issue, we get Captain America and Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, attending a funeral for an old war buddy of Cap’s, but the kid Starbrand, or Kidbrand as I call her, is tagging along as well. Look, I don’t think Kidbrand’s going to catch on at all with people, considering she’s ten or possibly younger. Not to mention she has a terrible attitude that would cause any self-respecting adult/parent to want to pull out the belt. She comes off like an unpleasant, snot-nosed brat who thinks she’s the best and baddest in the whole Universe. Which Jason Aaron reinforces with the Deathloks who show up and praise her, as readers can see in the preview images. I get hung up on this because Aaron is pushing her hard in this comic, and it feels like he’s really trying too hard to artificially make her an important character.
Thankfully, there are some good things in this comic. First off, I’ll say one good thing about Kidbrand, and it’s the only spoiler I’ll give in this whole review. After the comic has Cap recap her mother’s crazy, convoluted origin, he and Carol bring Kidbrand to see her mother’s house and she says she’d like to go inside to see what it was like. So, that was a nice touching moment that actually humanized her. But that’s when the better part of the comic kicks in as two of the Multiversal Masters of Evil show up chasing Deathloks – the Black Skull and the Ghost Goblin.
Now, for those who don’t remember who these two villains are exactly, don’t worry, the comic tells you all you need to know. The fight between Captain America and Black Skull is probably the better of the two, though the banter between all four fighters is solid. The action itself ranges from cool to goofy a few times, but their fights are the highlight of this comic. Sadly, it doesn’t go far enough with exploiting the new Masters of Evil’s powers and showing what they can really do, especially the Ghost Goblin. The saving grace of this series even at its worst has always been the artists, and that shows with Juan Frigeri’s art and David Curiel’s colors in this issue.
Unfortunately, the good portion of the comic ends as it refocuses back to the Kidbrand, and things unfold rather predictably from there with a weird twist at the end.
Avengers #52 has Captain America and Captain Marvel square off against two members of the new Multiversal Masters of Evil. The artwork, colors, and action between the heroes and villains are the saving grace of this comic issue. The story’s focus on the kid Starbrand is underwhelming, but the comic evens it out with the Avengers facing the new Masters of Evil.