If the last issue was a representation of the old serial drama pulps, then this issue feels infected by the zany, world-hopping, high-octane, free-love 70s vibe that means anything goes. We get a look at HYDRA through the years and we also get one step closer to seeing their master plan come to fruition. It’s still great to see HYDRA really taking top billing with Cap as they are just as important.
If you aren’t familiar with the art of Tom Scioli, then consider this issue a minor master class. His work on “Gødland” is always phenomenal and here he brings a warped marriage of his independent sensibilities and some of the Marvel standards we know and love. His women might be as ugly as the rear end of a badger but his Avengers are simply glorious to behold. Scioli shows the Marvel Universe as the pompous and ridiculous world it truly is.
The Avengers, who feature prominently, are well used for both the narrative and how they appear visually. Thor’s addition to the tale is the most important but it’s just as rewarding to see Scioli work on Giant Man, Iron Man, and the Wasp. He is the perfect artist to bring them to life in the timeframe of the early Avengers days. It feels like the editor matched the artist to the content perfectly in all respects.
Maberry continues to tie this tale into larger brush strokes of the Marvel U. HYDRA date back through history and we see them come into possession of the Spear, as opposed to the Shield. The immortality of gods is a theme they are obsessed with, and this issue takes that desire one step further. You really can see this as a companion piece to "Secret Warriors" and Hickman’s overall Fury plans.
This issue has plenty of action. There’s fist fights with zombies in graveyards, mystical hammers smashing into HYDRA flunky faces, and a prophesied arrow finding its way into the body of two men with very interesting blood types. For all the action, the narrative is still always progressed, with some great character moments. This issue pushes you toward wondering just how powerful HYDRA is.
This title has been pleasing so far, and this issue certainly delivers on scope and progression of narrative. It then helps a great deal that the art is magnificent to behold. If you’ve always wanted to see Scioli tackle some of the Marvel greats, then this issue will not let you down. It seems that not having a locked-in art team is really helping this book. Maberry and Scioli deliver a bombastic action piece that reads like a biblical epic and the end will ensure you want to keep seeing what HYDRA can do in the next decade as science slowly matches their world dominating grasp.