Artist: Bryan Hitch
I'd been looking forward to this series for well over a year, ever since it was teased in Avengers #12.1. I have to say however that after reading the first issue last week I was very disappointed, and this series has been nothing like I expected.
PlotBlack Widow is walking through the apocalyptic wasteland and gets attacked by a man with a gun, but fortunately Moon Knight's near by. Meanwhile Spider-Man is still recovering in an underground bunker which is home to the remaining 7,000 superheroes in New York City, and tells how he woke up to this nightmare, and how he was kidnapped.
This series just keeps disappointing me more and more. I wanted to give the first issue the benefit of the doubt, as it's the start of a new series, but I can't believe that it's followed by an even worse issue. I know that Brian Michael Bendis can produce some amazing work, as his current work on All-New X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy has been outstanding, but he's not showing that here. To be fair his Avengers run was a bit inconsistent, and with this being his final work on an Avengers based story I'm upset to see it as poor as this. The story is basically how people are living in an apocalyptic world, and isn't progressing much. To be honest I'm not overly surprised as the Avengers vs. X-Men event last much longer than it needed to. For starters the contents of both issues could have been condensed into one issue, but even then the series would be still too long. If you look at the great Marvel events like Civil War, Siege, or Fear Itself, none lasted more than seven issues, with the shortest of them being only four. I also don't like that we've had no explanation as to how all this happened. Fair enough what happened to Spider-Man was slightly interesting, but it was unnecessary and made the story drag on.
The art on the other hand was once again phenomenal, and Bryan Hitch has really outdone himself on this series. His work on The Ultimates, and Fantastic Four was brilliant, and his current work on America's Got Powers was also fantastic, but they are nowhere near as good as his art on this series. His art is simply phenomenal, and the detail is superb. To be honest I can live with this series as long as the art stays like this, as it's truly worth it, but at the end of the day I'm hoping for a brilliant story, and no matter how good the art is I'll still be upset if it isn't. I also love the emotion that Hitch puts into the characters, as you can really feel what they're feeling, whether sadness, exhaustion, or anger. Paul Mounts colours are also fabulous and make Hitch's art look very lively, and set's the mood perfectly.
Although I liked the Hawkeye sequence in the last issue I'm starting to think that this is a series focused on depression, and the life of hero's in this apocalyptic world. Don't get me wrong I like that you can see the despair in the characters, it's just that it's eating into a lot of the story, and with a ten part event, that has three issues out a month for the first two months, with two a month for the remaining two, and at $3.99 it's a bit of a waste. However despite it slowing down the story I found the interaction between Black Widow, and Moon Knight very interesting. I also liked that they stumbled into one of Nick Fury's hideouts, as it's a nice throwback to Secret Invasion, but I still would have preferred some form of back story explanation.
The Ultron's attacking humans was also an interesting thing in this issue. The way the Ultron's act kind of remind me of concentration camps from World War II, as in unless the human's comply with what the Ultron's say they'll be killed, kind of like what the Nazi's did. I would however prefer to see the main Ultron, as he' has a similar role to what Master Mold was in the Wolverine and the X-Men TV series, appearing to be a kind of puppet master type character in this story. I also think that the background of this story's keeping until Ultron #1AU.
The sequence in the underground bunker was however more interesting, and I enjoyed seeing what Peter thought on the situation. What I liked most about this sequence was that Peter didn't appear to care about his secret identity any more, something that he's kept for years (besides Civil War, but One More Day rectified that), but in this world that is the least of his problems. I also like that this is a chance to see Peter as Spider-Man again (assuming it is), as I've not been the biggest fan of Doctor Octopus being Spider-Man in Superior Spider-Man. I also liked that he was happy to be amongst friends. I do however think that this also slowed the story down, as there hasn't really been any development to the story yet.
The end of the issue was however brilliant, and it shows promise for the remainder of the series, but I won't hold my breath just yet.
This is a very disappointing series so far, and I desperately want it to get better, and become the series I hoped it would be. To be honest I wouldn't recommend this issue to anyone, unless like me you've been very excited about this series, but even then I'd still recommend you to wait for the trade, as if it's not better it should be cheaper.