Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ivan Fiorelli
Color Artist: David Curiel
Cover Artists: Javier Garron & David Curiel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Mephisto and his Council of Red have declared war against the heroic Avengers! But not just the Avengers of the present day, but Avengers throughout all eras of Earth’s past. As the heroes battle through time, one member was left behind. See what the teenage Starbrand gets up to in Avengers #61.
So, for those who are not fans of Jason Aaron’s teen Starbrand, they’ll want to skip this comic. There’s nothing lost by not reading this issue. For those who do like teen Starbrand, then this comic is for them. Jason Aaron dedicates this entire comic to his new character and gives her every opportunity to go out in a blaze of glory. Real quick, this comic does take place before the events of A.X.E.: Judgment Day.
The comic starts off with Carol Danvers telling teen Starbrand, or Brandy, that the Avengers made the responsible decision to not bring her along in their dangerous fight through time against Mephisto and his council. Of course, Brandy is mad like most stereotypical super-kids for not being taken along with the other heroes despite still mentally being a child in the body of a young adult body. But the Progenitor Celestial of Avengers HQ has other plans and helps send her along with them (against their wishes) to fight Mephistos throughout time.
Aside from Brandy and the Avengers fighting random versions of Mephisto and seeing more of Aaron’s weird ideas for Avenger-style heroes, there’s the art from Ivan Fiorelli and David Curiel’s colors. The comic also introduces the theme of short-lived creatures like Mayflies who don’t live long but make something of a difference and ties that in with Brandy, the Starbrand power, and its users. It’s somewhat poignant and has a bit of a conclusion for the character near the end, but the next few issues could undo the narrative weight of Brandy’s choices and actions pretty easily. Especially given Jason Aaron’s track record in undoing negative consequences for decisions characters made in his Avengers run.
Like I said before, the art in the book continues to be its main saving grace that keeps it afloat. Even with all of the different versions of Mephisto, they all do look good and distinctive. On top of that, the many forgettable Avengers that Aaron keeps adding in the series do look good in Fiorelli’s art and Curiel’s colors. It also helps that they manage to nail down the facial expressions of the characters who are the main focus of this comic.
As usual, the Avengers continue to be backseat drivers in this storyline and the real stars are Mephisto (kind of) and all of Jason Aaron’s ideas. The problem is that most of these characters just feel derivative of existing heroes, and aside from the Japanese Ghost Rider, they just don’t have enough cool factor or staying power.
On top of that, Mephisto isn’t really much of a threat in any of these stories, so there’s no true challenge or tension for any of the heroes or this entire storyline. The irony is that the only tension that’s existed so far is in this issue and the fate of Brandy by the end of the comic.
Avengers #61 has the teen Starbrand, or Brandy, take center stage in this comic. Brandy is the main star of this comic, and readers’ mileage will vary on that since she hasn’t always been the most compelling character in this run. Not much is lost if you skip the issue. However, this issue does give Brandy some depth to her character that’s mixed in with an interesting theme tied in with the Starbrand power and its users.