Current Reviews


Beyond #2

Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2006
By: Shawn Hill

“Second Wind”

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artist: Scott Kolins

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: You know the Avengers. They live to blow Quinjets up. This isn’t the Avengers, you say? Why not?

Comments: Firebird, Wasp, Hank Pym (in No-Shrink Scientist mode), Spider-Man … that’s four Avengers right there. Medusa was on the short-lived Lady Liberators version, and Gravity’s as good a candidate for future rookie status as you’re going to find. The Hood, Baby Kraven, and Venom I can’t much speak about, but they certainly help to make this a motley crew.

Which is the joy of this second issue; it reads like that stock horror/sci-fi plot where a random selection of oddly quirky individuals all find themselves in the same predicament, with odds wide open as to who’s going to make it out alive, if at all. A cliché, maybe, but McDuffie has a confident handle on each of their personalities, so it’s fun to put familiar characters through these dramatic paces.

This issue, while Janet and Medusa jockey for leadership, the Hood and Kraven suggest a final solution to the Venom problem, while Hank Pym reacts intellectually to Medusa’s punishment (quite reasonably in her value system, she administers to the creep who murdered Spider-Man last issue fifty lashes… with her hair).

McDuffie recalls important things about each of his chosen misfits: like Hank Pym’s incredible shrunken arsenal of helpful tools, and just how useful a mass of telekinetically mobile red tresses can be, especially in a crash landing. Gravity and Firebird seem to be in a little over their heads, though their hearts are in the right place.

When the fight with Venom causes their alien arena to crash land (apparently on the planet it would have settled on anyway), the distracted non-team makes the mistake of ignoring native advice. The predators on and above the surface they find may be more dangerous to our mix of heroes and villains than they are to each other.

This issue we get a couple of surprise guest stars including Dragon Man. Next issue promises more of the same. Kolins’ art handles the serious injuries and emotions with aplomb, but also has a bright and shiny quality that keeps things from getting too heavy and grim. In fact, in light of what’s going on in the rest of the Marvel Universe this month, this is the most fun I’ve had in four-colors in weeks!

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