So it’s come to this: the culmination of the Avengers Standoff event! The story comes together for an ending that brings most of the hanging plot threads to a satisfying conclusion, while holding the door wide-open for Marvel’s next event. Spoilers for the entirety of Avengers Standoff after the jump.
The issue opens with a return to the events already in progress: Baron Zemo grandstanding and describing his plan (which to be fair, is effectively the same as Maria Hill’s plan was – to use the Comic Cube to rewrite the planet in his image), Kraven the Hunter luring Kobik into capture, Cap assembling the Avengers, and Avril approaching the artifact in the library. Before long, all the parties have been gathered at Zemo’s home base, and the final battle begins.
However, the Avengers themselves have very little to do with the conclusion of the conflict. Zemo has captured Kobik, and after an initial assault by the Avengers, he gathers his super villain allies beneath a force field to wait out the final two minutes before Kobik can be turned back into a Cosmic Cube and then be used to rewrite the planet. Both Avengers teams struggle against the force field, but are powerless to penetrate it – until Avril, who has become Quasar thanks to the artifact in the library, bursts in and destroys Graviton’s barrier.
Unfortunately for the villains, the blast also frees Kobik, who screams a bit before teleporting Zemo away. With their leader out of the picture, the remaining super villains panic and attempt to flee, only to find that the “air show” that had been teased from the first issue was actually an air strike brought on thanks to Mach VII’s actions.
While many of the conclusive elements of this narrative make sense given the groundwork laid by the previous entries, I found myself disappointed that the victory over Zemo hadn’t been a more direct result of the Avengers’ actions. While Avril has appeared in several of the Avengers Standoff issues, her transformation into Quasar seems tangential at best – and her last-minute swoop in to save the day falls a bit too close to Deux ex Machina for my taste. Likewise, while it makes sense that Kobik – an entity that has clearly been granted some measure of agency by the writers – should play some part in concluding the disaster at Pleasant Hill. However, having her decision be the result of a more character-based discussion, like the one she and Deadpool shared in the climax of All-New, All-Different Avengers #8, would have made her decision to banish Zemo seem better earned by the narrative.
By contrast, the appearance of the air strike as Maria Hill’s long-promised “air show” was well-earned: the early tease in the first issue of the event along with the foundations laid by Mach VII’s actions in more recent issues combine to provide one of the most satisfying elements of the conclusion.
The remainder of the issue is largely devoted to Maria Hill’s debriefing with the Security Council, which both allows an opportunity for the narrative to skip around and answer remaining story details (a favorite conclusory technique for writer Spencer, who employed the same device in the final issue of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man), as well as providing an opportunity to tease future developments for the Marvel universe: the return of the hero Quasar, the villain Red Skull, and the morally ambiguous Thunderbolts. Meanwhile, Rick Jones is captured and Maria Hill struggles to remain in her position as head of SHIELD.
It’s the sort of ending that checks the necessary boxes, and leaves you clamoring for more, but with the nagging sensation that the conclusion wasn’t quite as satisfying as one would hope. That being said, endings have never been Spencer’s strong point, and to be fair, this event was billed as being a lead-in to the next event, Civil War 2. Featuring some great artwork (particularly the scenes of the Avengers fighting side-by-side) and some fantastic one-liners (Spencer’s villain dialogue is consistently hilarious), Assault on Omega Hill #1 is a decent ending to an event that has been a lot of fun to follow. Now, on to Civil War!
Creators: Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuna, Angel Unzueta
Next Up: We’ll keep pursuing the nature of canon in our ongoing series, Other Worlds Than These.