Avengers #17 Comic Review
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: David Marquez & Matthew Wilson
Variant Cover: Lee Garbett
The Kingdom of Vampires
“Vamps Always Need Stabbing and Staking”
What You Need to Know
The final climactic battle between the Avengers and the Legion of the Unliving has been waged. When the smoke clears, will vampires rule the world? Or will the Avengers send these undead warmongers back to the Underworld? And how will the Winter Guard make their presence felt? While these teams fight each other, the former king of Vampires, Dracula is dismissed as a feeble old man at the end of his days. Evil as ancient as Dracula however, should never be underestimated.
What Just Happened
The issue begins with the aftermath of Red Widow interrogating the incarcerated Dracula while killing every vampire he ever cared about. Dracula gives in and reveals all of his secrets to the Red Widow and the Winter Guard. The Winter Guard holds up their end of the bargain and takes Dracula to a secluded place, Chernobyl. Elsewhere in the prison, newly created vampires are running amok thanks to the Legion of the Unliving. Thor and Captain Marvel respond to the outbreak to either detain or destroy the vampires.
The Legion eventually catches up with the Winter Guard and leaves only the Red Widow standing. Before the Red Widow can bargain with the Legion, the rest of the Avengers intervene with Blade leading the charge. Black Panther wants to find a cure for their vampirism, while Blade wants to destroy them all. The Avengers even bring a special guest to deal with Sarge, in Thori. Blade takes on the Shadow Colonel one on one and they fight to a standstill even though Blade is able to dismember the Colonel and free the Boy Thing from his grasp. The Colonel is eventually able to get the upper hand on Blade but Ghost Rider joins the battle and knocks his teeth out before he can land the killing blow on Blade. Black Panther tries to talk Blade out of killing the Shadow Colonel, but Blade decapitates the vampire.
The rest of the Legion of the Unliving is able to escape after She-Hulk’s gamma energy radiates out of control and causes her to erupt in a gamma explosion. The Avengers are able to capture Sarge after Thori defeats it.
The Avengers return to Avengers Mountain and have Sarge in custody in order to get more answers about the Legion’s future plans. Blade informs the Avengers that he will be staying with the team as long as the Legion and Dracula is out there. Robbie Reyes asks Blade to help him exorcize the demon in his car. Robbie does not realize that there is a force awaiting his return to hell.
In Chernobyl, The Legion of Unliving brings the Shadow Colonel’s body to Dracula. It is revealed that the Colonel has a closer relationship with Dracula than previously thought. Dracula reveals that he is not as helpless as he lets on and he was always in control. The quest to build a new vampire empire is just beginning.
The vampire war is over! Or is it? The Avengers may have won the battle, but it seems like the war is just beginning. Jason Aaron continues to attack the Avengers on all sides. Battling a vampire revolution while also dealing with a superhero cold war with Russia. The Winter Guard think they are exploiting this vampire revolution but their meddling almost allowed the Legion of the Unliving to claim victory for the vampire race. Aaron allows both Dracula and Blade to narrate this issue, and this provides a great dichotomy between opposite ends of the same coin. Dracula is a world-weary king who has gone to deplorable lengths for survival and power that has seemingly lost his throne and people. Blade is a vengeance-filled vigilante who wants to exterminate the very same evil that courses through his veins. This issue is really about these two characters, and everyone else plays the background. This actually works to the issue’s benefit. Blade is using the Avengers as a platform to carry out his goal to kill all vampires. Dracula is using his platform as king of all vampires to leverage his power and knowledge for survival. The rest of the Avengers play their parts and take the battle to the vampires with the Winter Guard caught in the middle due to their interrogation of Dracula. Everyone fails to realize that Dracula has not maintained his throne due to weakness and complacency. Dracula is a bloodthirsty monster that is both cunning and manipulative.
A highlight of this issue for me was the introduction of Thori to fight Sarge. There is always room for two boastful talking dogs in one issue. Thori lives up to his name in this issue. The brawl between Blade and the Shadow Colonel was awesome as well and showed how relentless Blade is when it comes to vampire hunting. Aaron also gives a nice touch to this issue by having Black Panther be determined to use his intellect to solve the issue of vampirism. Mid-battle, T’Challa is thinking of ways he can cure these creatures that are trying to murder him. Blade and T’Challa’s dueling ideologies create a lot of tension that could lead to issues for the Avengers down the line. Blade’s methods are a little more permanent. My only problems with his issue involve She-Hulk and Ghost Rider. She-Hulk having a power malfunction seemed out of place to kind of just shoe in towards the end of the issue. If Aaron decided to fully explore She-Hulk’s gamma-radiated powers in comparison to a country where a nuclear meltdown occurred, I’d be more invested, but this felt lacking. Also, how did Ghost Rider get to everyone so quick? I know he has a possessed car but really?
The art continues to be strong and this Avengers book boasts some of the strongest artists in comics right now. Whether its David Marquez or Ed McGuinness, the art remains incredible.