I want to pull out the four good pages of this comic, pull out the four good pages out of the previous four issues of this comic and staple them together into one awesome comic. As it stands, this is 16 pages of people asking each other, “what the hell is happening!?!” and a few neat splash pages (and some back-matter where J. Jonah Jameson comes off as straight-up racist). So, Mr. Bendis, forgive the snark, but I’m done with this.
I don’t like time travel stories. I don’t. Sure, some can be done really well, but many of them hurt my head. I think I get what Marvel is trying to do here, mainly differentiating how each of the various Avengers teams will deal with different kinds of problems. So, Tony’s team will handle the large-scale threats, like the entire fabric of space-time unraveling. But, while this issue had some cool moments—Thor “Have at thee”-ing Galactus and Future-Tony’s homemade timeline (the envy of conspiracy nuts and serial killers everywhere)—I’ve been less than impressed.
John Romita, Jr. may be a legend in the comics world, but his dynamic, blocky art is fundamentally incompatible with Brian Michael Bendis’ talking-heads style. The big action pages look great, but the frequent closeups of characters give them all an expressionless, pre-pubescent look that does nothing to complement the dialogue. As one of the few adults who saw and loved Avengers Next, the direct-to-DVD original animated film in which the future timeline featured in this comic debuted, I should be loving this book. But the art, and the unnecessarily complicated time travel plot that sacrifices characterization for exposition dumps, are making that difficult. I’m not sure I’ll stick with the book after this arc.
Wait, what? I can normally keep pace with time travel nonsense – I love Avengers Forever and that’s chockablock with it – but this is a scattered mess and Romita’s blocky, sketchy art – which I normally like – ain’t helping. This one unfortunately makes about half of the team look inept, gets lost in lengthy exposition about time travel and generally feels rambly. On the other hand, that Thor vs. Galactus spread was pretty boss. Probably done with this one after this arc concludes.