Avengers #30 Comic Review
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ed McGuinness & Francesco Manna
Inker: Mark Morales & Francesco Manna
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Mico Suauyan & Rain Beredo
Variant Cover: Koi Pham & Morry Hollowell
Starbrand Reborn Part Four
Nativity in The Stars
“Baby on Board…A Spaceship”
What You Need to Know
The new Starbrand’s identity has been revealed, and it is no one the Avengers, the heralds, or Gladiator would have expected. Even in shock, the Avengers stick to their mission in responding to the Starbrand and preventing a galactic catastrophe. Despite the Avengers intervention, Gladiator and the heralds want to kill the Starbrand and the child. Will the Avengers be able to protect this woman and her child, and does she even need protection?
What Just Happened
The issue seems to start with a flash forward with Captain America briefing Black Panther on the identity of the Starbrand and what happened when Gladiator found her. The issue then flashes back to the Starbrand defending herself from Gladiator. Brood Thor then appears and attacks Gladiator. Terrax appears and also tries to kill the new Starbrand. Captain Marvel comes to the Starbrand’s aid. Silver Surfer realizes that the Starbrand is pregnant and tries to talk the other heralds out of killing her, but Terrax doesn’t listen. Ghost Rider arrives and is willing to transport the Starbrand but Captain Marvel realizes that the Starbrand is in labor.
The Avengers decide to protect the Starbrand and assist her in giving birth. She-Hulk absorbs some of the Starbrand energy while Cap helps deliver the baby. Later, Black Panther explains that the Agents of Wakanda learned that the Starbrand is Suzanne Selby from Kansas.
Suzanne worked for Roxxon until the factory in Kansas City was closed down and relocated. Suzanne learned about a job opportunity from her boyfriend that led her to ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who smuggled her into Shi’Ar space to do migrant work picking grapes used for wine for the rich in Shi’Ar controlled space. Suzanne was eventually picked up by Shi’Ar border patrol and sentenced to 3 years in prison and her unborn child was sentenced to 2 years upon the child’s birth. When Suzanne gets the Starbrand power, she is just trying to escape, not go on a path of destruction. Silver Surfer turns on the other heralds and assists the Avengers. The baby is born, and it’s a girl. Suzanne is not breathing and She-Hulk uses her gamma energy to try to revive her but she dies.
Gladiator and the heralds give up the fight, and Gladiator warns the Avengers to take the baby out of Shi’Ar space and he also warns them about what the baby might be. The Avengers bring the baby back to Earth. The baby now has the Starbrand.
This was an interesting way to end this arc. This arc wrapped up a little too quick and a little too neatly for my tastes, but I also feel that seeds were planted for this storyline to be picked up in future issues. The outer space action displayed in this issue was still fun as the issues that preceded it, and we got some cool character elements from Captain America, She-Hulk, and Silver Surfer among others. Captain America being…well, Captain America is always fun to see and his “aww shucks”, All-American Boy mentality should be seen as corny and dated, but it always works and it always provides courage under fire.
She-Hulk’s presence is felt in these issues without her having to say a word, as her facial expressions tell the whole story. The thought bubbles from Jennifer’s point of view go a long way to telling us how She-Hulk feels and how her actions correspond. The Silver Surfer being the boogeyman for the last couple issues was a nice narrative touch, and true to the surfer’s character, him deciding to have faith in the Starbrand and her baby turned the tide of the whole battle. Other characters had their moments in this issue, such as Gladiator lamenting his role as emperor but still willing to do what is needed to serve the Shi’Ar, Black Widow realizing spacemen aren’t that different from Earth men, Terrax willing to destroy no matter what, and Blade still being bad-ass in his Boy-Thing suit.
I really appreciated Jason Aaron taking the time to share Suzette’s origin before she got the Starbrand. Aaron created a compelling origin including illegal space immigration and wrongful imprisonment. We just got to know Suzette and she’s already gone but she has left a legacy that will probably be a big part of the Avengers future. The Avengers saved an innocent, but what if that innocent has the power to destroy a galaxy?
The art for this arc continues to be impressive. Few in the industry can illustrate huge, bombastic action sequences quite like Ed McGuinness. Francesco Manna illustrates what looks like half of the issue and while it is a distinct departure from McGuinness’ art, it is still impressive and the change in artist seems to coincide with the telling of Suzette’s origin. Jason Keith’s colors also match up with McGuinness’ pencils very well.