Avengers Undercover #5 (Marvel)

Avengers Undercover
CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 4/5 – A Book That Should Definitely NOT Stay Undercover.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.

I was a big fan of Avengers Arena even though at the time I knew nothing about the young characters involved. Still, during its run, I found it extremely entertaining and by the end I not only grew to love the characters, but I’ll admit I had my favorites for which I was cheering. It was extremely derivative of certain popular young adult novels, but that was okay. The series was self-aware and pointed that out more than once. Now enter the sequel to the series, Avengers Undercover, which continues with a small part of the original cast and the fallout to those events. And by fallout, I mean some serious teen angst and emotional baggage.

Avengers Undercover #5 ends the initial story arc of the series which finds our young heroes dealing with unwanted popularity and unhinged pursuits of vengeance. It’s this pursuit of retribution against the main baddie, Arcade, which draws our heroes together again. Writer Dennis Hopeless drops some unexpected twists and turns leading up to this issue, which sets up the premise for the rest of the series. I found this issue interesting in that it reminded me of a first issue in a series. It was much more setup than it was action, but it still managed to end with another unexpected blow that pretty much sums up the idea that with this series you should take nothing at face value. Artist Kev Walker once again joins Hopeless on this thrill ride and it’s apparent that as he grows more comfortable drawing these characters, his art gets better and better. The covers, by Francesco Mattina, are extremely beautiful and works of art in their own right.

Hopeless masterfully crafts this sequel in the vein of the best movie sequels, which after five issues I have no problem saying is better than the first. With this issue, the premise of Avengers Undercover may be clear, but the intent of all its players is not. It’s with this ambiguity that Hopeless paints a rich, three-dimensional story that keeps you coming back for more. Case in point, while I root for the good guys, Hopeless has made me feel that maybe the so-called bad guys are just misunderstood.

Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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