Since Jason Aaron took on the Avengers franchise he has delivered on what you expect from the premier series from Marvel. Bringing in the Celestials for the first story arc in the new era of the Avengers has had a big event feel. The new Avengers team that Aaron has formed already shows that they have a fun dynamic with different personalities meshing together. With all that has happened it is still not clear how the Avengers will actually defeat the Dark Celestials and the Horde at the same time. Let’s find that out with Avengers #6.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Ed McGuinness and Paco Medina
Inker: Mark Morales and Juan Vlasco
Colorist: David Curiel
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Across the universe the Unseen Watcher, Man-Thing, Starbrand, Shi’ar Imperium, Iron Fist, Jean Grey, the Wakandan’s and Odin are left to either fight or wait for what the Celestials are doing.
Somewhere in Russia Thor, She-Hulk, Iron Man and Ghost Rider are fighting the Dark Celestials.
Elsewhere Captain America, Black Panther and Captain Marvel are able to push the Horde back.
At the same time as the Avengers continue to fight Doctor Strange battles Loki. Loki mocks Doctor Strange by the fact that he only wanted the Sorcerer Supreme title to reveal the truth about everyone on Earth.
Meanwhile She-Hulk is finally able to take down the Dark Celestial known as Obliteron. The rest of the Avengers try to figure out how to take down the last two Dark Celestials but struggle to do so.
At the same time while Captain America, Black Panther and Captain Marvel continue to repel the Horde even more show up. Analyzing the situation Black Panther realizes that the Horde have shown up everywhere on Earth.
Loki points out to Doctor Strange that the Horde have actually saved them from becoming nothing. Doctor Strange says he will make Loki into nothing once he is done. Loki snickers that Earth is finished.
As the Avengers continue to fight the Dark Celestials both Ghost Rider is overwhelmed by the Horde that are surrounding his body. Iron Man decides to try to take one of the Dark Celestials into the sky but suddenly is forced to stop by the First Celestial hosts that show up.
Captain Marvel calls Alpha Flight to prepare to evacuate the planet as the Avengers become overwhelmed by the Horde and the spell that made them big starts wearing off on Thor, She-Hulk and Ghost Rider.
Iron Man ejects from his giant armor and tries to come up with a plan. As he does the Dark Celestials repeat that the Eternals are dead, the Ebony Blade is bleeding and that they are all God’s vomit much to Iron Man’s confusion.
Captain America realizes that this is about the story Loki told him that life on Earth is a result of a dying Celestial who was infected by the Horde. Black Panther understands now that they are all Earth’s infection.
Thor mentions that the First Celestial Hosts could’ve cleansed the Earth from its infection when during his father’s era but they choose not to. Captain Marvel believes that this is because the First Hosts believed that the people of Earth could become something that could defeat the horde.
Iron Man, Black Panther and Doctor Strange realize they can beat the Horde by becoming a live virus vaccine that could be a cure for the Horde’s infection. Black Panther mentions that this potential was the reason why mutants, Inhumans and other superhuman people appeared because it was baked into humans genetic code to adapt.
Loki strikes Black Panther from behind. He then congratulates the Avengers on figuring things out but says that while they think they are the cure for the Horde he is the cure for them. She-Hulk knocks out Loki by stomping him.
Black Panther says he needs his lab and fifteen minutes for him to figure out a way to combine their powers. Iron Man has an epiphany after remembering what Ikaris of the Eternals told him about the Uni-Mind and tells the rest of the Avengers about it being the key to combining their powers.
The Avengers then work on combining all of their powers. They end up using Ghost Rider as the vessel to house their combine powers into one person. Ghost Rider then uses all the power he has to launch one massive fire attack that wipes out the Horde.
The Avengers congratulate Ghost Rider on making the Horde become dormant again. Black Panther mentions that the Horde that made it inside the Final Celestial Host are still inside so their fight isn’t over.
Ghost Rider wonders if this means they are back to square one. Captain America states it does not as they have friends that can help them out.
Captain America then leads the Avengers fight the Final Host and succeed in repealing them all back.
In Asgard Odin smiles and tells the statue his old Avengers crew that the others did it and they can rest now.
Back at the battle site Loki laughs and welcomes the Avengers back. End of issue.
The Good: Throughout this Dark Celestials story we have gotten big fights and fun character development between the Avengers. And luckily for us Avengers #6 is no different as Jason Aaron closes out his first major arc on this series with a bang. In doing so Aaron also creates a lot of interest in what the future holds for the Avengers and Marvel Universe under his watch.
What made Avengers #6 so enjoyable was the fact that Aaron never lost sight of how at the end of the day the story needs to be fun. Even as we get a lot of big action sequences and character moments, at its core Avengers #6 is just a fun comic book. Everything that happens works within the strong pacing of this issue so that we continue to push forward with the story. That opened up a greater opportunity for the moments when each of the Avengers had their moment in this issue to shine it was much brighter.
Having that focus on moving the story forward made the entire flow between action and character moments so much more enjoyable as nothing ever felt out of place. Even as Aaron was moving us between scenes through multiple panels on the same page you never feel lost as a reader. Everything you see going on is clear as to where it is going in context to everything else. And with all of the Avengers doing different things at the same time Aaron was able to make sure the reader wasn’t overwhelmed with everything that was going on.
Making the story even better is the fact that all of the Avengers had their moment to shine in Avengers #6. Everyone that you see on the cover of Avengers #6 is put at the forefront of the story. No one is lost and just made to act as a background character so that one or two heroes can act as the star. That makes action each member of the Avengers is involved in feel important to defeating Loki and the Dark Celestials and if one of them failed the entire team would fail.
That is especially important when you have a character like Ghost Rider on the team that readers won’t think about being an Avenger. This issue was key in getting over Ghost Rider being someone that should be a member of the Avengers. Ghost Rider has always been powerful but has never been seen as a hero that could do more than what he does within his corner of the Marvel Universe. Putting Ghost Rider over by having him be the one that is able to channel all of the Avengers powers and release it in one massive attack was the impressive showing that the character needed. With that Aaron is able to put over what Ghost Rider adds to the team and makes him a strong wild card for the team as things get even more intense in future stories.
Similarly, it was good to see that the She-Hulk was the sole Avenger that was able to take down a Dark Celestial on her own. Like Ghost Rider, this puts over how powerful She-Hulk is when she is able to go all out on a fight. There is still some work to be done to make her more than filling the Hulk hole as just the muscle of the Avengers. That said, Aaron has shown that he knows that She-Hulk will need more character development in the future and hints at exploring the deeper issues she is going through that made her anger problems become so intense.
The story around the Dark Celestials and Horde was made even more intriguing with how Aaron expanded on why Earth is such a special place. Finally confirming that the dying Celestial made humans evolve in a way that so they can gain powers through radiation or evolve to become mutants and Inhumans gave depth to why the rise of superpowers happened so rapidly. This explanation makes all of these people with superpowers more closely connected and opens the opportunity for Aaron to integrate other heroes into the Avengers as his stories get bigger the more we learn.
This added importance made the team work that the Avengers showed in this issue even better. All the Avengers combining their powers made how the conclusion feel different to the typical “we win by punching harder” method we normally see be the resolution to a story. This angle in particular made good use of Black Panther and Iron Man as both were key in coming up with a way to channel all their powers to Ghost Rider. By doing this Aaron is able to highlight how important these two are and how even though Black Panther and Iron Man are tech genius they don’t cancel each other out in terms of skills.
The Avengers combining their powers also put a spotlight in how Captain America and Captain Marvel are the leaders of the team. Both characters were key in inspiring the rest of the team to act together and make them realize the importance of working together. It is an especially important moment for Captain Marvel as her show of understanding what was going on made her more likeable compared to when she was arguing with Iron Man. More showings like this as she acts in a second-in-command type role it’ll help make her a better character when she steps up when needed.
Now while the Avengers were able to overcome the Dark Celestials Aaron does a good job not ending the entire story. There are still things left open with the Celestials that can be expanded on further as Aaron continues his Avengers run. What is most interesting about all this is the fact that we are teased with the Earth having an even greater purpose within the Marvel Universe. How the Avengers get more actively involved in what is going on with the rest of the universe gives us a lot to look forward to, especially as we learn more about the Avengers 1,000,000 BC.
Also, given Loki’s role in this first story arc it’ll be very interesting to see if Aaron has bigger plans for Thor’s brother. Even though he was defeated in Avengers #6 Aaron seem to imply that Loki is looking to do more than just what he did in this story. Seeing as he pushed this version of the Avengers to form there has to be more to what his plot for Earth is than what was shown. That is an exciting prospect as it’ll give Loki the chance to still be part of stories with Thor while expanding his importance to the Marvel Universe, something we are already seeing over in Infinity Wars.
Ed McGuinness and Paco Medina throughout Avengers #6 was as energetic as ever. There style meshed in well with the over-the-top action that we see take place as the Avengers take on the Dark Celestials. Given the pacing of Avengers #6, both McGuinness and Medina help keep the issue focused and easy to figure out what was going on in each page. And with how many scene changes we get in this issue, that clarity in the artwork is a major help in not getting overwhelmed by all the action going on.
The Bad: As enjoyable as Avengers #6 is the one drawback in this issue was how dialogue heavy it was even with all the action going on. With how much talking the Avengers did in the middle of all the fighting we did not need the narrator boxes included to further explain what was going on. The opening scene is a good example of this. It would’ve been much more effective if the opening page did not have any dialogue. This way Aaron would allow his artist to do the talking for him. The same goes for when Iron Man is disabled in the big splash page. Sometimes less is more and in these pages that was the case.
Overall: Avengers #6 was a highly enjoyable ending to Jason Aaron’s first story arc in this series. Aaron delivered a story that felt like a big event that had major consequences for how fans will view the Marvel Universe moving forward. And with how Aaron concluded this Dark Celestials story arc he has left us with a lot to be excited for as he gets deeper into his plans for the Avengers.