Avengers #5: Writer: Brian Michael Bendis. Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Review: This issue starts off with the Avengers having split into two groups with one group trying to repair the damaged timestream, while the other group simply tries to hold things together in the present. I'll start off with the latter group, since their story is WAY easier to decipher. Hawkeye, Spider-Man and Spider-Woman try to keep rampaging barbarians at bay all while attempting to prevent dinosaurs from eating New Yorkers, while Thor attacks Galactus, who had materialized in the city and was building his world devouring machine. While all of that is occurring, the rest of the Avengers are in the future, where they learn from the Maestro and an older version of Tony Stark that Kang is responsible for fracturing the timestream thanks to a war he was waging with Ultron. It seems that(for some reason)Kang had decided to attack Ultron, and was soundly defeated. Not liking the bitter taste of defeat(although to be honest, he should be used to it by this point), Kang went back in time, organized a group of heroes and villains from various points in time and attacked Ultron again at the same point in time as the first war. Once again Kang is defeated, which leads to him putting together yet another team and starting the war yet again. And once again, Kang is defeated. Kang continues fighting and losing to Ultron, but winds up screwing up the timestream due to his repeated abuse of it. While old Stark is trying to come up with a plan with his younger self and the Avengers, the timestream begins to fold up on itself, which would start the entire cycle all over again. Old Stark notices Noh-Varr and realizes that he didn't know him, meaning that somehow he was the key to fixing the damage Kang had done to the timestream. With this knowledge, old Stark begins to frantically tell his younger counterpart what to do to right things, but before he can finish, time resets and both teams of Avengers are back several hours earlier battling Apocalypse and his alternate version of the Four Horsemen. The Avengers who were in the future can still recall what had happened and what Old Stark told them, so once Apocalypse and his cronies and tossed back into the timestream they begin to work on a time machine that would bring them to the place and time old Stark told them they needed to go. When the machine is completed, Noh-Varr, Captain America, Iron Man and Wolverine head into the future where they meet up with Ultron to ask him for a favor.
What I Thought: Woooo, there's A LOT to get through here... The main story(the Kang-Ultron War and it's effect on the timestream)IS interesting, but it's also VERY confusing! The older version of Tony seemed to enjoy speaking in crypto-nese. Instead of just coming out and saying, “Hey young me, do this!”, he instead played word games while Kang moped and Maestro complained. I get that Bendis is saving the big reveal as to what old Tony was trying to pass on to his younger self for the next issue, but it kind of made this issue a bit of a headache to read. Although it was a headache to read, the JRJR's artwork was phenomenal. The fight scene between Thor and Galactus REALLY needed more then the few panels it was given. Hell, after seeing what I did, I want to see a full issue of Thor and Galactus just having a mindless free-for-all, drawn by JRJR! It doesn't even need a story, just those two characters fighting for no reason! Anyway, back to the story. I am still enjoying this storyline, but I have to say, this issue was a bit of a step down from the prior four issues. Here's hoping Bendis pulls out all the stops(and explains what the hell is going on adequately!)next issue.
Score: 7 out of 10.A glimpse into Marvel's future or just some Bendis madness... You decide!