Here’s the thing about superheroes: sooner or later, they’re going to have to throw down with each other, even when they’re both on the same side. This can come across as organic in the hands of a skilled writer, and can it can be very fun to read or watch as a fan. For some characters, it’s a way of life — a large part of Deadpool’s schtick is based on his throwing down against other superheroes. And for those matchups that seem exceptionally difficult to justify narratively, there is even a tradition of “what if” stories, where writers are free to put characters in conflict with one another without fear of consequence to the overall story. Let’s get ready to throw down with the All-New, All-Different Avengers – spoilers for #7 begin after the jump.
The majority of the pages in this issue fall before the end of Uncanny Avengers #7, so the story spends a lot of its time “catching up” with the narrative. This technique can provide the backstory and answer expository questions for the reader, but it also runs the risk of stagnation. When the reader knows the outcome of a scene before it begins, it can be difficult to infuse that scene with tension – often, the reader has filled in the details themselves already, so a protracted span of pages getting back to the same point can seem redundant.
This issue attempts to circumvent the problem by keeping the fact that the Avengers team is on the Quinjet that attacks the Unity Squad until later on in the issue. Beforehand, we follow a couple members of the group as they interact with one another. The glimpse into Sam’s relationship with Jane as she copes with her cancer (or perhaps doesn’t cope with her cancer) is interesting, but doesn’t plunge too deep. Meanwhile, a scene between Khamala and the Vision ties up some loose strings from previous story arcs (apparently the Vision went evil again, which is a thing he does pretty regularly), but despite featuring two of my personal favorite heroes, the interaction largely falls flat. Compare these interactions with those from the beginning of Uncanny Avengers #7, and these come up wanting.
From there, the team confronts an old enemy who escaped from Pleasant Hill and is wreaking havoc whilst whingeing about it, until Maria Hill shows up. If the plot sounds familiar, that’s because it’s effectively the same plot as Uncanny Avengers #7. Unfortunately for this tie-in, Uncanny Avengers #7 was not only released first, but it had a much more engaging script, with dialogue and characters that elevated the straightforward plot. Had All-New, All-Different Avengers #7 been released first, it might have been more engaging than it was, but it had the misfortunate of following an act that had not only beaten it to the punch, but punched better to begin with.
However, that isn’t to say this issue is all bad. The art is pretty fantastic, especially with interesting images like Khamala’s first-person perspective as she looks through the goggles given to her by The Vision so she can witness the Avengers’ battles of the days gone by. Additionally, several of the pages have breathtaking layouts, which present the images in innovative ways while still allowing for ease of reading.
Plus, once the narrative catches up with the Avengers and they face off against the Unity Squad, we catch a St. Elsewhere-esque glimpse of where the Avengers Standoff narrative is heading next: our heroes are heading through the looking glass and into Pleasant Hill.
Coming up next: Let’s see how the New Avengers #8 deal with Coulson’s team and Rick Jones as the Pleasant Hill saga continues to heat up!