Avengers #700 Comic Review
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: David Marquez & Ed McGuinness
Guest Artists: Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert, Andrea Sorrentino
Colorists: Justin Ponsor, Erick Arciniega, Frazer Irving, Matthew Wilson, Giada Marchisio
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Ed McGuinness & Marte Garcia
Variant Covers: David Marquez, Alex Ross, Ed McGuinness, Ron Lim, Arthur Adams, Alan Davis, Skottie Young, George Perez
The Battle for the Right to be Called…Earth Mightiest
“Russian Superhero Interference”
What You Need to Know
The Avengers hit a milestone issue and Jason Aaron pulls no punches as major revelations occur and seeds are planted for what seems to be an explosive future for the Marvel universe. Now that T’Challa is the Chairperson for the Avengers, the Avengers have met resistance because a foreign king is a face of the Avengers. Foreign powers have started an arms race to match the powers of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, while the US Government also seeks to create their own team of heroes to protect their interests.
What Just Happened
This anniversary issue starts out in Siberia where the Russian Government has decided to reinstate Ursa Major and expunge his record save for some gruesome details he’d like to keep in order to protect his reputation. Elsewhere in Russia, Darkstar and Vanguard convince the Crimson Dynamo to join up with them to reform the Winter Guard with the mysterious Red Widow. In the South Pacific, Namor and the Defenders of the Deep attack an international biosphere. The Defenders of the Deep include: Andromeda, Manowar, Echidna, The Piranhas, Bloodtide, Orka, Tiger Shark, and King Crab. At Avengers Mountain, Gorilla Man responds to the distress signal caused by Namor’s attack while Ghost Rider and Tony Stark are racing, Captain Marvel and Thor are cleaning up debris on the sea floor while discussing Thor asking She-Hulk out, T’Challa helps Jennifer Walters control her alter-ego while attending an Avengers press conference, and Captain America and General Ross debate the idea of having T’Challa be the chairperson for the Avengers. General Ross treats the idea of T’Challa being the chair for the Avengers as going against America’s best interests. Cap reminds General Ross that the Avengers do not work for the US Government and if the US responds with aggression the Avengers will match it. After Cap walks away, General Ross calls for “The Agent”.
The Avengers next confront Namor and his team in the South Pacific. The Avengers try to reason with Namor until The Piranhas try to attack innocent bystanders. The Avengers then attack in an attempt to bring Namor and the Defenders of the Deep down. The Winter Guard also enters the fight in an attempt to take Namor in custody in response to the Black Sea incident. Vostok, Perun, and Chernobog bolster the team. The battle devolves into a free for all between all three sides. It is revealed that the Red Widow has actually been assigned to the Winter Guard to observe them and report back to the Russian government. The Defenders of the Deep retreat after Namor kills the Piranhas after they try again to eat innocent bystanders. The Avengers and Winter Guard almost resolve their battle until Red Widow orders them to retreat.
Back in Washington D.C., General Ross reveals that “The Agent” is none other than Phil Couslon who is alive and well. Couslon presents General Ross with his own superhero team, the Squadron Supreme.
This issue also contains multiple back up stories. The first one involves Odin visiting Robbie Reyes in his home in an attempt to kill Ghost Rider for killing Starbrand. Robbie admits to Odin that he did not mean to kill Starbrand and he was just defending himself from Starbrand’s attack. Odin calms down and then tells Robbie the history of the Prehistoric Avengers. Odin warns Robbie that he may need to use his power again to defeat future incarnations of Starbrand if they can’t be contained. The back up story ends with Robbie and Odin going for a joy ride.
The next back up story picks up where the first arc left off. In deep space, the Celestials are torturing Loki for his role in bringing the Final Host to Earth. Loki taunts the celestials and continues to take credit for bring the Avengers back together. Loki is surprised when Wolverine appears before him claiming he wants to help Loki. Loki is shocked when it appears that Wolverine can communicate with the Celestials. Wolverine claims Earth is in danger and needs its “cosmic defenses”. Wolverine then reveals to Loki that he is possessed by the Phoenix. Wolverine shows Loki glimpses of the future including looks at the Punisher, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, The Hand, Malkeith, Hyperion, Man-Thing, Ursa Major, and the Starbrand. Wolverine allows Loki to escape and tells him that the Avengers need to add more to their ranks to be ready for what’s coming.
The next back up story features the Wasp in Romania as she infiltrates Castle Dracula. The Wasp is acting as an agent of Wakanda. Vampires attack the Wasp as she makes her way to the castle. The Wasp makes her way to her target, a prisoner of Dracula, Blade. The Wasp asks Blade if he’d like to join the Avengers, and his response is what you would expect.
Now this is how you do a milestone issue. This issue was jam-packed with action, intrigue, comedy, and foreshadowing of future events. Jason Aaron knocked it out of the park even with having to juggle multiple characters and plot points, while planting the seeds for future issues. The Winter Guard were never characters I was familiar with or cared about, but Aaron does a fantastic job revitalizing these characters in a way that not only makes sense in a storyline sense, but also in a sense that relates to current events. Aaron allows the Defenders of the Deep to cut loose in this issue and were also characters I was not familiar with, but came away feeling that they were true threats to the Avengers.
The Winter Guard was not the only source of political intrigue in this book. General Ross is unsurprisingly upset that T’Challa is the chairperson of the Avengers. The debate he and Captain America have regarding the role of the Avengers in regards to America’s interests proved why Cap is a hero for all people. This issue in general features great lines of dialogue. Thor asking Captain Marvel whether he should ask She-Hulk out, Iron Man asking to switch villains with Thor, was hilarious.
The free for all between the Avengers, Defenders of the Deep, and Winter Guard was explosive and a credit to the talent that Ed McGuinness has an artist. David Marquez’s art is also amazing in this issue and it is a credit to their talents as an artist that this book doesn’t lose a beat with 2 different artists on the main story.
The last page reveal is very interesting and a fun wink to the MCU version of Phil Coulson. I am interested to see how the Supreme Squadron function as “America’s Team”. I’m sure they don’t have the same ideals as the Avengers.
The back up stories were all fun. The Ghost Rider/Odin story benefitted from great art and a fun dynamic between Robbie Reyes and the Allfather. The most relevant story to the overall Avengers plot involved Loki and Wolverine. Loki freaking out in response to a Phoenix Wolverine communicating with celestials is hilarious. Wolverine seems to be offering a glimpse of the future and the future looks insane. Is this the build up to Marvel’s next big event? I enjoyed The Wasp’s back up story for 3 simple reasons: awesome art, vampires, and Blade. Blade as an Avenger? Sign me up. Some other questions I have regarding this issue. What’s up with Gorrilla Man? What is his purpose? Who is the Red Widow? How is Coulson alive? (I’m sure we’ve all asked this question more than once).