Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Color Artist: David Curiel
Cover Artists: Javier Garron & David Curiel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Avengers are under attack by the Masters of Evil! But this is a new iteration of the team made from some of the most dangerous villains across time and space, led by one of the deadliest versions of Dr. Doom, the Doom Above All! Now, the Masters of Evil launch their attack on Avengers Mountain in Avengers #53!
So, I’m trying to be as balanced as I can with Jason Aaron’s Avengers run right now, because he’s got a good idea on his hands here with the Multiversal Masters of Evil. But he doesn’t make it easy. Plus, he hasn’t used them well, as we see here. In this issue we’re introduced to Doom Supreme and Kid Thanos, the latter sharing some of his backstory of the night he killed his mother. Thankfully, Doom stops him from droning on about that and immediately kicks the action into overdrive with a powerful attack to begin their assault on Avengers Mountain.
From there, Black Panther, Jane Foster Valkyrie, and Namor prepare for the assault on the HQ, formulating a plan and getting right into the action. We see Namor face off against Kid Thanos, while the rest try to face Doom Supreme. Let me start with the positives. Firstly, the artwork by Juan Frigeri and the colors by David Curiel are great as ever. Every page looks great, the characters all look good, and the action looks dynamic. Everything pops in the comic with the standouts being Doom Supreme and Black Panther when he’s in action. Now on to the writing.
Where to start. Jason Aaron is going full Scott Snyder, he has been for years now. And not the good Scott Snyder writing Batman, where he’s writing cool, dark, fun, and EXTREME comic book stories. No, no, no. We’re talking Scott Snyder while he was writing Justice League, and that’s not a good thing. From the series’ start, Jason Aaron has been repeating the same mistakes Scott Snyder made in his JL run – too many exposition dumps, trying out every weird idea, making characters too quirky, always going too big with the threats, making everything “cosmic” – but turned up to 100 with not enough good follow-up.
For example, on the very first page of the comic Aaron has Kid Thanos retell the night he killed his mother, and it’s cluttered with word boxes that almost cover the whole page. Plus, this characterization is way off from how Thanos was like at that age, and Aaron should know this since he wrote the new origin in Thanos Rising. In that series, young Thanos was a reserved and melancholic murderer, not the gleeful killer you see in this storyline. Here, he’s trying way too hard to show how evil Kid Thanos is, but what’s worse is there’s no follow up on this.
Kid Thanos doesn’t even do that much in the comic; he doesn’t shoot anyone, use any cool gadgets, torture anyone, nothing. Remember that big space gun Kid Thanos kept getting drawn with in previous issues? Or the hi-tech guns he has in this comic? He never uses them in this comic book. All he really does is get beat up by Namor, stab him a little bit, then fulfill his real mission only to get beat up again.
The same thing happens with Doom Supreme. Aaron spends an entire double page-spread and a half to hype up this version of Dr. Doom as the biggest and baddest one out there, truly a master of the “Darkest Arts” in the Multiverse. But we never see him use anything but one type of magic in the comic other than teleportation, specifically “Death Magic,” which doesn’t even work well on Valkyrie or Black Panther but he keeps using it anyway. This is supposed to be the “Doom Above All” and that’s all we get.
Now, you could say that his opening attack was cool and an example of his great power, but that display of power is generic by Marvel villain standards. His magical energy blasts do look cool, but it would be even better if we got to see this macabre mystical arsenal he supposedly has. Doom Supreme is essentially a buffed up necromancer here, and that’s it. Even then, the comic doesn’t do anything cool with that, e.g., Doom Supreme resurrects the Celestial HQ as an undead minion to kill the Avengers and attack the Earth or something. If my criticisms sound harsh, it’s because I know Jason Aaron can do better, that he can take cool and crazy comic book ideas like the Multiversal Masters of Evil and shoot for the stars. So, I’m not going to give him slack for mediocre work like this when I know that he can do better.
Avengers #53 continues the death hunt as Black Panther, Namor, and Valkyrie face off against Doom Supreme and Kid Thanos. The artwork is great as always, but the writing is serviceable with too much exposition hyping up these new Masters of Evil. The comic doesn’t go far enough to truly show this Doom’s great and terrible powers, and Kid Thanos barely does anything cool in the comic. It’s fine, but I wish it was fun.