Issue five of Marvel Action: Avengers straight away manages to address some of the criticisms that I had with the previous issue: that the story seemed to be missing some parts and felt confusing. Here, within the first few pages we get a flashback to an event that wasn’t shown: Count Nefaria transporting Doctor Strange, Thor, and Captain Marvel to the strange world that we saw in the previous issue.
I’m sure that this will read a lot better in graphic novel form, where you can go straight from one issue to the next, but when you have to wait a number of weeks for information that’s vital to the previous issue it can be fairly frustrating.
Thankfully, with this information now in hand, and having been told the end goal of Nefaria and what that could mean for the world, it picks the story up quite a bit as our heroes in both dimensions must fight to stop him from achieving his goals.
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Whilst the action is entertaining throughout, and certainly manages to showcase most of the team in interesting ways, there’s very little in the issue that progresses or serves the characters. This is a big shame, but I feel it’s not any fault of Matthew K. Manning, but rather a behind the scenes choice to have each story arc only be three issues long. Manning has done a good job in the series so far at making the characters pop here and there, and I think that if he was given more time to play with the characters and story the issues would feel more satisfying from a story and character point of view.
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But, please don’t take this as a complaint against the writer, as despite the brevity of the stories they have been very entertaining so far, and have showcased some of the characters that I’ve had very little knowledge of, such as Count Nefaria. It’s this use of more obscure characters and different storytelling sensibilities that makes the Marvel Action titles stand out.
The art is also another highlight, as Jon Sommariva makes even the simplest panel look dynamic and interesting, and the world of the Ruby Egress is filled with so many interesting and varied creatures, some familiar and some new, that it really stands out.
A much better middle part of the story than the first, one that gives a lot of information and packs in some good action, before setting up for what is sure to be an explosive finale.