This week I want to briefly talk about Marvel’s Avengers #37, “Archangel,” from the team of Jonathan Hickman and Mike Deodato. This was a slow week for comics with my entire pull list being solidly mediocre except for The Walking Dead (which was amazing, but I can never bring myself to talk about it without spoilers—especially for the TV crowd—so I don’t even want to touch it.
This issue of Avengers is set seven months into the future of the Marvel Universe. The last issue, honestly, was not that good; this one was a little more exciting and shed some light on the new state of the universe. Steve Rogers, no longer Captain America but an old man, is hunting the “Illuminati”, the lineup of the New Avengers (and stars of another a solid book)—basically all the genius-level heroes of Marvel Comics.
The story is a good next chapter and the art is as solid as always. The reason I want to talk about this book, though, is one series of panels that runs about three pages. It features Doctors Henry McCoy and Bruce Banner, alter egos of the Beast and the Hulk, respectively, playing a game of chess. The game is a holographic recording meant for the new head of SHIELD, Steve Rogers, where they basically show off their mental prowess. Describing how they could mathematically extrapolate the identities of everyone that Rogers brought with him, they tell him they won’t be caught because, “If you’re going to get serious about catching us… you’re going to have to come to grips with your shortcomings and adjust accordingly. After all, we’re not playing a game with some kind of arbitrary rues, Steve. We’re playing you.”
Basically he is saying that they are all far smarter than Steve and that he needs to realize that he can’t find them because of it. When brains meet brawn, as far as these guys are concerned, brains win. Steve doesn’t take that well, but I feel like it’s a lesson he needs to learn: These men he is chasing are super-level geniuses, and he isn’t. It kind of made this whole story a little darker and made Captain America, the gold light of truth and justice, look rather tarnished.
It was a solid 4 out of 5, but this isn’t really a book you could just pick up and read. You need to know some of the backstory, and there’s no better way of doing that than to delve into past excellent issues of Hickman’s Avengers!