Rounding out its opening arc in Marvel Now's slate of fall titles, Jonathan Hickman’s "Avengers" has come to a close in the latest issue released this January, which can easily be called one of the great ends to an inspired opening act. And with astounding illustrating by Jerome Opena, and eye-catching coloring by Dean White, issue #3 of "Avengers" was simply a pleasure to read.
Closing the story featuring Ex Nihilo and his band of planet destroyers/seeders, Hickman showcases his extended cast of new Avengers in this latest installment, with a long list of Marvel favorites and a few little know stars taking over the pace of the story. There was a definite sense of connectivity as the book opened on the original Avengers cast, still caught in the bounds of a life-bearing tree, and the new crew -- Captain America, Cannon Ball, Smasher, Captain Universe, Falcon and Shang Chi to name a few-- swooping in to the rescue.
Handling a company of thirteen active characters, and five inert ones caught in the vines of a tree, Hickman does a fairly stellar job using each member of the team as a cog, moving the story along from one scene to the next. In the end, though it is a tad wordy -- which isn't a bad thing -- in a few panels, this book is mostly about showcasing this newly formed Avengers team in action. And from Sunspot fending off a horde of Ex Nihio’s creatures, to Captain America and Captain Marvel directing the battle; to Captain Universe taking over the entire story in glorious fashion; Hickman and Opena coordinated an exciting story with art that gave the reader raw emotion.
As a standalone issue, Avengers #3 is a pleasure to read; though, if you've never picked up a previous issues, it would a hassle gripping the underlying plot. But if you started the series from issue one, this latest installment offered a fitting end to the arc, and it leaves you wondering how the story will move on – Will the roster start to morph around Cap and Iron Man’s simple though expansive plan? Who’s next on the list of villains (or heroes) destined to grab the attention of Earth’s Mightiest?
On a scale of one to five, this comic earns a five, with the only critique being that it isn't user-friendly for newcomers hopping aboard the series. But other than that one misgiving, this is a book worth your money and time.