Chip Zdarsky and Daniel Acuña presented us with a new Marvel Universe with Avengers: Twilight #1. It was a Marvel Universe that appeared to move on from the traditional idea of superheroes. Steve Rogers and other heroes were unable to recover their status the horrific events of “Hero Day.” In their place came a government-sponsored Avengers team. This seemingly led to a utopian society. However, we learned at the end of Avengers: Twilight #1 that this utopia was likely nothing more than a cloth hiding the darker things going on in the world. Find out what happens next with our review of Avengers: Twilight #2.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Daniel Acuña
Letterer: Cory Petit
“With the clock ticking to New Year’s Day, and the world against him, CAPTAIN AMERICA must build an army to save America! Will his surviving friends sign up, or is he going to have to lead the ragtag group called THE DEFENDERS against the expert military marksman known as BULLSEYE?” – Marvel Comics
Given the nature of the world presented in the first issue of Avengers: Twilight it was made clear there is a darker force in charge. Someone from the shadows manipulated the world to make the United States appear like a utopia while the reality is much more sinister. That is proven true with Avengers: Twilight #2’s big reveal of Red Skull being the one who took advantage of the “Hero Day” event.
The reveal that Red Skull is the Jarvis running Stark Industries and raised Tony Stark and Janet Van Dyne’s son is what makes Avengers: Twilight #2. It’s a reveal that not only strengthens this issue but also the first. It recontextualizes a lot how Avengers: Twilight #1 formed this version of the Marvel Universe. Especially with the “Jarvis” character the tone of voice completely changes knowing this is Red Skull.
This reveal gives greater meaning to Captain America as the lead of Avengers: Twilight. Red Skull is the natural counterweight to balance out the Dark Knight Returns-style story for Captain America. These two will forever be linked to one another. No matter how many times Captain America defeated him the Red Skull would return. Not only would he return but would take on new identities in order to manipulate things from the shadows while gaining power.
Red Skull’s taking on the “Jarvis” identity falls in line with the normal plan he goes with. Adopting this identity also shows that Red Skull did go with an adjusted approach. Not only did he become CEO of Stark Industries but raised the son of Steve Rogers’s best friends. This makes the whole reveal have a more painful twist of the knife as Red Skull still looked to hurt Captain America on a personal level.
Getting this reveal out of the way in Avengers: Twilight #2 creates an air of mystery about what else will go down in this story. Playing this card early does signal that there is more than Red Skull and Ultron. It especially opens up the story to deliver surprises from the state of the world beyond what we’ve seen. Thus far we have only seen life in New York City. The teases of how the current Avengers are operating as an oppressive group around the world hint at this. These hints grow larger with the introduction of the Thunderbolts, who appear to not have the limitations of the Avengers.
All of this creates even more questions if Steve Rogers and the Defenders can stop this fake utopia Red Skull created. Steve Rogers does his best to act as a spark for the Defenders’ revolution with his return to Captain America. However, things aren’t as simple as getting back into his Captain America shape. This issue does a lot to show how one rallying speech won’t be enough. As the CEO of America, Red Skull has created this society that doesn’t care who or how their lives are being run by the higher power.
In this way, Kamala Khan’s appearance is given added importance. Unlike Steve Rogers stepping back into the superhero role isn’t an easy one. The heroes who have survived have all lived in this world where they’ve been retired for decades. In that blank period, they’ve built lives for themselves. For former heroes like Kamala that meant having a family that they now must worry about. This in turn makes the ending of the Defenders now targeting Tony Stark an intriguing note to end Avengers: Twilight #2 on.
Adding to what made Avengers: Twilight #2 a success was Daniel Acuña massively improved artwork. The art in Avengers: Twilight #2 was much more focused than in the first issue. There was much greater depth in the character designs and the way backgrounds complemented the foreground. This made moments such as “Jarvis” lashing out at the President and Captain America’s rally speech be much more effective.
With a great reveal of who is running the current status quo of the world Avengers: Twilight #2 is a strong follow-up to the world-building from the first issue. It created even more questions about whether Steve Rogers’s return as Captain America can be what turns things around. The answer to that question after this issue appears to be no. Which creates a lot of intrigue into how the narrative will be developed from here.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10