Current Reviews


Avengers #81

Posted: Monday, May 3, 2004
By: Shawn Hill

“Lionheart of Avalon part 5”

Writer: Chuck Austen
Artists: Coipel and Lanning

Publisher: Marvel

The gray imminence behind the usually motivation-free Wrecking Crew is revealed, as our heroes leave the real English isles for final battle in Otherworld.

This is a good month for Scarlet Witch fans, as she’s on the cover of this issue and featured in one of two strong stories in X-Statix as well. Here she’s right at home, battling a sorceress and warriors on a mystical plane of existence.

Not that she’s the star, as that honor must be shared with several. Austen focuses on Captain America (handling him quite well), on the hardly winsome Wasp, and on Captains Britain both old and new. It seems that Brian and Megan aren’t dead, just captured and tortured by the dread Morgan Le Fey.

She doesn’t look much like the version that last troubled the Avengers 80 issues ago (or for that matter like the long-time nemesis of Iron Man and Spider-Woman 1), but she’s up to her old tricks nonetheless, trying to destroy the world if she can’t remake it to her liking.

Braddock has foiled her plans, however, by transferring his power to a new heroine, the reluctant, abused and now quite angry single mom Kelsey Leigh. Kelsey’s solution to the Morgan problem is surprisingly blunt, but Morgan’s fate isn’t really the point of the issue. Rather, the story is about heroism, about failure and success, about extreme prices and consequences for failure. Kelsey’s dilemma is touching, her sacrifice bittersweet due to her clear potential. As a novice with all the right instincts and the willingness to act, even at great cost to herself, she’s an interesting contrast to the practiced (but never jaded) bravery of her American counterpart.

What’s less interesting:
Morgan isn’t a very effective menace here, nor do Brian or Megan play more than cameo roles. Austen is so concerned with his characters, he strings them on a rudimentary and not especially lucid plot. He’s lucky he has the expressively detailed Coipel to smooth over the obvious gears as they grind along.

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