Thursday, January 2, 2014
Review: Avengers Annual #11 Avengers vs. Defenders
I have not been reviewing very many comics lately on the blog, so I thought with a new year I would remedy that. So first up: Avengers Annual #11.
We start out with Nebulon, a previous Defenders villain, being imprisoned on Earth for his crimes of interference. Apparently his race is governed by a decree that they never interfere with other planets, and by doing so he has been exiled. He is given a choice of ending his life- the "honorable" choice- or living in exile on Earth with his power halved. He chooses Earth and is soon befriended by Thor. Sensing a kindred spirit of great power, and believing Nebulon's story that he wishes to live in peace, Thor takes Nebulon to the Avengers for help.
At the same time we have Supernalia, another member of Nebulon's race, appearing to the Defenders for assistance in apprehending Nebulon. She claims he is still bent on conquering Earth, and has brainwashed the Avengers into aiding him. The Defenders believe her, although it soon becomes clear she is utilizing some kind of mind control on them, and the Defenders soon confront the Avengers and Nebulon. Predictably, things degenerate into a pitched battle, and off we go.
We soon find out that both Nebulon and Supernalia have been manipulating events. As the battle winds down, they manage to shake the mind control and soon realize that Nebulon has been using an ennui machine to weaken his allies and siphon their power for his own ends- he clearly has not abandoned his ambitions after all. Cap saves the day with a well- placed shield throw, turning the device back on Nebulon, which will have fatal results for him. It turns out that Supernalia is Nebulon's wife, and still loves him even though he has been exiled and disgraced- nevertheless she came to earth to kill him and thereby remove the stain on their family's honor due to Nebulon's crimes. However Supernalia realizes that by orchestrating this conflict, she has also interfered with earthly affairs, and chooses the honorable way- death. She prevents the heroes from saving Nebulon, and instead joins him in oblivion.
This annual, written by J.M. DeMatteis, isn't bad. The Defenders lineup is pretty forgettable, with the exception of the Silver Surfer. The Valkyrie, the Beast and Gargoyle round out the Defenders present, and are matched (overmatched, I would say) by Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and the Wasp for the Avengers. I've always been a fan of the Surfer, and his power cosmic is well represented here.
The artwork here is disappointing, rendered by Al Milgrom and is strictly pedestrian. I'm not generally a fan of Milgrom's work, and it mars an otherwise fine story that would have been better served by some of the better Marvel artists of the time.
I read this issue as part of the recently released Avengers Absolute Vision trade paperback. It's a collection of Avengers issues #231-241, annuals 11 and 12, and various other related issues. I wouldn't pay full price for it, but purchased at a discount from Amazon it was worth it.