Jason Aaron's Avengers is certainly massive in scope, with multiverses, celestials, time travel, world conquerors, prehistoric Avengers, devils and Gods, and international adventures all in the mix so far. Somehow things are only getting warmed up, at least if Avengers #50 is to be believed, and the mega-sized issue brings several stories to a close before setting up new threads for what's still to come. At times it feels like one of those teaser montages of what's to come but in narrative form, and that's why some parts work and others don't. It's a bit of a rollercoaster ride, and a long one at that, so buckle in because there is a lot to cover.
Avengers #50 has Jason Aaron at the writer's helm with a legion of amazing artists knocking out impressive pages, including Ed McGuinness, Javier Garron, Aaron Kuder, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Alex Sinclair, David Curiel, Matt Hollingsworth, Rachelle Rosenberg, and David Baldeon, while Christopher Ruocchio, Steve McNiven, and Frank D'Armata combine for a special story that, while not tied to the current plot, is pretty damn enjoyable on its own.
Avengers #50 is broken into prologues, epilogues, and smaller breakout storylines, and while they all are tied into Aaron's ongoing Avengers plot, this approach makes a lot of the issue feel disjointed and choppy. We go from a disturbing story about The Orb to a Ka-Zar segment that leads into bigger stuff later. Then we move into the actual finale of "World War She-Hulk," followed by a look at the prehistoric Avengers and a meeting between Dr. Doom and Mephisto. That's all in the first 24 pages (the issue is over 80, mind you), and while that's quite a lot, it's still digestible. Then it kind of goes off the rails.
At this point, it starts involving more worlds and characters, and then at a steady clip, it bounces between worlds, timelines, and previous story points from this Avengers run. Anyone who hasn't been reading Aaron's series from early on is going to be completely lost, and even someone who has can get confused as to the whys and wherefores behind it.
Now, there is some great stuff amidst all this back and forth, including what was probably my favorite chapter, Chapter Four. Chapter Four deals completely with Robbie Reyes, and results in one of the most sincere and heart-tugging moments of the entire issue. This moment was everything, and hit me right in the feels, further endearing a character that has grown by leaps and bounds under Aaron's stewardship to me.
Not far behind this section is the brief catch-up with Gorilla-Man, who betrayed the Avengers and is coming to terms with his decision, his motivations, and what lies ahead. Like the moment with Reyes, this introspective sequence is where the book is strongest, but unfortunately, they are just too brief.
Soon after the issue is moving through worlds again and taking down heroes readers don't know or really care about. Granted, it's awesome to meet such a stacked villain team, but readers don't find out more about them till the end of the issue. Besides that, there is one amazing hook for next time, and the throwdown between these two teams should be absolutely epic.
Even though I wasn't a fan of every section or thread, this issue is gorgeous throughout, a testament to the incredibly talented team of artists and colorists working on it. That includes that final section that provides another major twist and compelling story seed, but there are just so many of them scattered throughout that they all start to overcrowd each other. Honing in on 1 or 2 would've reduced that and allowed time for those stories to bake as needed.
The bonus story is just a fun one-off with Thor and a mystery character I won't spoil here, but the story is beautiful and I personally loved the twist, so if you read the issue do not skip this digestif before closing the comic, because you will regret it later.
Avengers #50 is a bit hamstrung by its massive size and the expectations for a 50th (or 750th) issue. A lot is going on at any given time, and while some intriguing stories will spin right out of this issue, the ones that truly stuck with me had more to do with internal conflicts and issues of personal weight than anything about prehistoric worlds, time travel, and multiverses. Sadly, there just aren't enough of those, and some of the others feel like they could've been cut or saved for a different issue altogether to let better moments resonate more powerfully. The future of Avengers is promising, and the artwork here is stellar but as an issue, I just wasn't nearly as high on the story as I hoped to be.
Published by Marvel Comics
On December 1, 2021
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Aaron Kuder, Carlos Pacheco, Ed McGuinness, Javier Garron, Rafael Fonteriz, David Baldeon, and Steve McNiven
Colors by Alex Sinclair, David Curiel, Matt Hollingsworth, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Frank D'Armata0comments
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover by Ed McGuinness and Laura Martin