Review: Avengers #16

Published on August 23rd, 2011

So as for Fear Itself, well , some people are digging it, and some people aren’t. Personally, I don’t love it, but I certainly don’t hate it. I will say that for the most part, I have been enjoying Brian Michael Bendis’ take on things in his Avengers tie-in books. Did you read The New Avengers a week or so ago? Come on! He made Squirrel Girl pretty bad-ass. Anyway, this last week we got Avengers #16 from Bendis with John Romita Jr. handling the art duties.

avengers16Once again, this tie-in to Fear Itself shows different Avengers being interviewed and looking back on the events of this crazy event, but this issue also focuses on Steve Rogers trying to avenge the loss of his best pal, Bucky Barnes, who was killed in the line of duty by Sin. When Steve gets a tip of where Sin is hiding, he gets Sharon Carter, Maria Hill, and Victoria Hand to join him on a covert operation to take out the daughter of the Red Skull and avenge the loss of his friend. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan for Commander Rogers.

For the most part, I liked this story. I think it’s important to show how much it really hurt Steve to lose the friend that he feels he’s let down time and time again. What I think really dragged this book down though, was the humor that Bendis put into this. Now, it’s not like we saw Captain America slip on a banana peel and fall into a giant pie; it’s mostly Bendis realizing the situation he’s created and making light of it- and of course I’m talking about Captain America’s Angels. It makes sense that Steve wouldn’t be pulling Thor or Iron Man from the battle field, because if he does, then Sin would know that the Avengers are coming after her. Sharon Carter is Steve’s go-to secret agent, so I get why she’s going. My problem is taking Maria Hill and Victoria Hand on this mission. Is there really nobody else he could have taken? You would think that having Hill stay behind to run all of the world’s defenses in Rogers’ absence might make sense. And I am really losing patience for Victoria Hand; it was like she went just to complete the Charlie’s Angels joke and so she could be made fun of as being an accountant. I feel it just would have made more sense to bring in Black Widow or another character instead.

What I did enjoy was seeing Steve Rogers get back to kicking some ass. We’re told that Master Man is even stronger than Steve, but with Steve having the fate of the entire world on his shoulders and dealing with his own loss, he’s focused and angry enough to take this guy out with ease. This is the kind of Captain America story that reminds us why Steve Rogers is who he is, and why he’s so integral to the Marvel Universe. This issue is what bridges the gap from Steve not wanting to be Captain America again to him realizing why he needs to be that symbol.

Ken Zeider