Review by Frank Plowright
The Death Hunters are a group of powerful beings collected from alternate realities to lay waste to and conquer different Earths. All of them if possible. They’re versions of familiar characters, but twisted, so perhaps a Wolverine in a constant state of berserker rage a Green Goblin that also has the power of a Ghost Rider or a Kid Thanos as seen on the sample art. They are many and they are dangerous, but their aim in this instance is to destroy Deathloks sent from the future to warn the Avengers.
Jason Aaron spreads the title story over three points of attack, and given what’s happening it ought to be as thrilling as the events detailed in World War She-Hulk, but it isn’t. There are few aspects that don’t spark, but they could be setting something up for later, as there’s no claiming Aaron doesn’t plot over the long term. The primary reason this doesn’t hit the spot, though, is down to artist Juan Frigeri. Technically he’s good. The figures are in scale and proportion, but there’s little dynamism to the way he lays out the battle sequences. He concentrates almost exclusively on figures, and while a colourist can make a great difference to this type of art by highlighting, David Curiel doesn’t take that approach. Other artists handle specific short stories, and all their pages look better, more detailed and more expansively laid out.
‘The Death Hunters’ is largely a direct plot. There’s a novelty to the weirdly composite villains, and there’s a mystery about the Deathlok warnings, but the primary strangeness concerns Starbrand. There’s been much talk about her power and destiny with little to back up why she’s so important, although there has been her transformation from infant to grumpy young girl. There’s another transformation here. Thor’s also grumpy, taking the sulk about finding out about his parentage, but it doesn’t ring true that anyone, never mind someone who’s seen as much as Thor, would be so sulky about something beyond his control.
The new Avengers introduced last time round have a presence, but the removal of Ghost Rider for Avengers Forever leaves the team loaded with sheer power on an astonishing scale, but little else. Even the villains seem better balanced.
Beyond the title story, there are some surprises. There’s another look at the Avengers of a million years ago, this time with specific reference to Thor’s parentage nicely drawn by Kevin Walker, and Javier Garrón is back to prove why he’s worth a guest shot on Fables, and before that for a surprise look at Nighthawk. It might have been presumed his role ended with Heroes Reborn, but Aaron has even greater surprises in store in a clever piece of plotting. Black Panther has been vital to Aaron’s Avengers from the beginning, so his departure due to matters in his own title would under other circumstances be a massive loss.
This is an uneven collection, but not one without some delights. History’s Mightiest Heroes follows.