Waiting for the Trade – Avengers

Waiting for the Trade

 

by Bill Miller

 

Marvel Adventures
Avengers: Vol. 2 – Mischief.

by Tom Bedard and
Shannon Gallant.

collects Marvel Adventures
the Avengers #5-8.

 
Why I Bought This: This
was a cheap pick-up (under $5) as part of my post-Avengers movie feeding frenzy. Specifically Juggernaut is on the
cover, and I figured: even if it is a simplified story, at this price, he’s
always good for a fun fight scene.

The Plot: Loki
discovers the existence of the Avengers and decides to test them by creating new
super villains for them to face. For this universe the Avengers are Captain America, Storm,
Hulk, Spider-man, Giant-Girl (Wasp, only with growth powers instead of her
normal shrinking/flying/laser stings), Iron Man and Wolverine.

 

Chapter 1 – The Avengers are fighting Loki, who keeps them
at bay with a force field and notices that mortals with super power are similar
to “gods” like himself. He wonders why they all choose to be heroes, then
teleports away to see what happens if he were to empower a criminal. The
Avengers split up to search NYC for Loki. Loki finds a crook with a crowbar
breaking into an apartment building and makes him the Wrecker, explaining to
Wrecker he can use his power to do anything he wishes. Wrecker decides to rob a
mini-mart that he was never able successfully shoplift from as a teen. Spidey
finds him and they fight with Wrecker winning easily. He’s about to smash
Spidey with his magic crowbar when Cap arrives to block with his shield. Wrecker
is able to throw around most of the Avengers with relative ease until Banner
gets bumped, turns into Hulk and then punches Wrecker across the city. From the
shadows Loki vows to empower a more ambitious criminal next time.

Chapter 2 – Hulk goes wandering out alone into the desert,
falls asleep and turns back into Banner. Banner comes across a science lab
where four team members are just about to space launch into a cosmic ray storm.
The effects cause them to crash back into the desert and they emerge as the
U-Foes: Vector (low level telekinetic), Vapor (can transform into any gas),
X-Ray (a radioactive version of the Human Torch) and Ironclad (a metal version
of the Thing). They cause Hulk to emerge and they fight. The fight is pretty
even for a few pages until X-Ray figures out how to drain Hulk’s gamma
radiation and turn him back into Banner. Fortunately Spidey and Iron Man arrive
at the moment. The U-Foes get them on the defensive until Giant-Girl arrives
and steps on them all.

Chapter 3 – The Avengers are responding to a monsoon in South America by helping to evacuate a native village.
Also present in the village is corrupt archeologist Cain Marko. Loki, disguised
in human form, leads him to the Temple
of Cyttorak where Marko transforms
into Juggernaut. He encounters Storm, Wolverine and Giant-Girl first. Their
attacks all bounce him off him and he buries the two ersatz X-men under the temple,
forcing Giant Girl to call off the fight to try to dig them out. Next up Spidey
and Iron Man, who don’t fare much better. Hulk arrives and they trade punches
as Giant Girl completes her rescue. She fastball specials Wolvie into the fray
but he still can’t hurt Juggernaut. He is about to finish Wolvie off when the
children of the village form a human shield to protect him. This gives
Juggernaut pause and Storm is about to talk him into going peacefully on his
way when Hulk recovers and attacks again. They topple over a cliff and the
current separates them allowing Juggernaut to escape.

Chapter 4 – Loki meets up with Juggernaut and together they
free Wrecker and the U-Foes from jail. Loki unites them all for revenge on the
Avengers putting them in a flying middle school to assault the mansion. This
tactic indeed confuses the heroes, who are concerned there may be children
inside (there aren’t) so when the school starts to fall from the Giant-Girl overexerts
to catch it, leaving her open to a radiation blast in the eyes. Wrecker takes
down Iron Man and stalemates Cap, while Juggernaut takes out Wolverine. Iron
Man recovers and uses his tech to neutralize Vapor and X-ray, while Vector has
Spidey on the defensive. Cap manages to defeat both Wrecker and Vector and even
takes a shot a Loki with a shield throw but Loki snatches the shield out of the
air. However Cap’s success annoys Loki and causes him to magically dispatch his
own underlings for being unworthy of him. He also uses magic to transform Hulk
and Iron Man into inanimate objects so Cap runs away. Loki is surprised by this
after observing Cap the last few issues, but being a villain he follows him to
the communications room to gloat, saying his motive is he is jealous of the
hero worship the Avengers receive from the public when they should be
worshipping him. Cap lured Loki there to air the villain’s monologue on
television thus make him look like a petty bully to the world and for them to
admire Cap more for standing up to Loki even without his shield. Loki says he
should kill Cap for outmaneuvering him but admits that more than anyone he
appreciates a good trick, concedes victory to Cap and teleports away, restoring
the heroes from the magic whammy in the process.

 

Critical Thoughts:
The Juggernaut fight I bought this for was pretty flat to be honest. The
Wrecker chapter is at best by the numbers, although the mini-mart joke is worth
a chuckle. I enjoyed the U-Foes fight as they do have nice collection of
formidable and somewhat unique powers between them, although it ends rather
abruptly. The finale, however, is a lot of fun, particularly the interaction
between Cap and Loki.

I suppose I could complain that Giant Girl should probably
be either blind or brain dead from taking a radiation blast to the face but
since Loki magically heals everyone in the end anyway what difference does it
make?

Other than that I would say Spider-man seems to be awfully
ineffective in this series, which is weird considering this is targeted for a
younger audience and he’s Marvel’s most popular character.
Grade C-. While
the cover story did not deliver what I wanted, that finale makes up for a lot.
I imagine the younger target audience would be happy with this just for the
number of Hulk fights in this story.