Time to talk about that parallel super hero team, the evil one that looks exactly like the original one. You know, they come from an evil world and it was just about to collapse when they leapt into our universe and now they’re here to jack shit up and chew bubble gum and they’ve already had some Juicy Fruit, thank you, so now onto planet conquering. Oh did you think I was talking about the Justice League and “Forever Evil”? Because I was referring to the new issue of “Avengers” which features the evil Avengers, only from the sixties.
How do you do this Marvel? These big crossover events aren’t kept secret, they announce the next crossover before the last one’s finished so it’s not like they caught you off guard but you had to run it anyways. You know what’s sad? Evil doppelganger teams aren’t even an original idea. Everybody has done their own variation of it. In fact, “Forever Evil” could be said to take some cues from “Dark Reign” what with the baddies taking over and running things into the ground. But you know what “Forever Evil” has that this new issue of “Avengers” doesn’t? Distance. For God’s sake, you could have pushed it a bit down the line. It’s not like it’s that bad of a story… well it is but it didn’t have to be.
The book opens with Maria Hill descending on a cordoned off crime scene. As they brief her it becomes very clear that this is a big event. Then the reveal—Ant-Man, Hank Pym’s corpse on scene. Oh my God Marvel, are you about to set up a murder mystery? Do we get to see the universe’s best and brightest digest evidence and chase down hunch—Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t see that you explained everything away on the next few pages, ruining any suspense and neutering any dramatic tension this book had going for it. And it’s not even that they swapped dramatic tension for explosions and car chases, there’s one thunder strike towards the end but other than that it’s a lot of characters standing around trying very hard not to be interesting. Not even a joke. There’s one sequence where we cut to an AIM lab where two peons are doing an experiment. One of them is rattling off the most obscenely boring diatribe on why they need to focus on their work. It’s like that day in class where the teacher’s aide takes over for a session and intermittently reads the book out loud and chastises you for not being more passionate about the lesson. I think somebody in the editorial staff forgot that AIM are the least interesting minions in the whole of Marvel. (Insert AIM are candy asses transition here)
I think Iron Man 3 gave people the wrong idea about AIM. First, no one in AIM is a bad ass. No matter what kind of bulky armor and menacing faceplate you make them wear, they are still the bee keeper guys, the guys with the coffee tables for helmets and enough yellow to make a New York taxi jealous. So what’s with the redesign and the new “attitude” these guys are sporting. These guys are worse than Hydra. At least with Hydra they have a pedigree from Nazis. AIM is just a LARP group that got a little too into it. Stop trying to convince me that these guys are bad ass. They can still be a threat even if they aren’t cool, in fact the uncool ones are usually way more threatening. Jack Nicholson wasn’t even cool in The Shinning when he was threatening. Back in the day, none of the villains were cool. An old man with a bucket on his head and way too much red and purple? An ugly guy in a mask and green cloak? An Asgardian deity with a helmet clearly not designed for human doors? These guys were downright silly looking and yet everyone was terrified of them.
The truth is that all comic books repeat the same tropes and conventions. For every “AvX” there’s a “Trinity War” and for every “Teen Titans” there’s an “X-Men”. The point isn’t that they’re stealing from each other, it boils down to finessing the details. When “Invincible” started he was on a teen team very much like the Titans or the X-Men. And in fact, Mark Grayson has also had to fight an evil team of super heroes—only that team was made up entirely of alternate Mark Graysons. We as comic book fans accept a lot of parallels, but don’t be so lazy about it.
Avengers #25 is 65 % Invincible.