Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: Avengers #389

Avengers #389, "Message From Home," Cover Date August 1995
Written by Bob Harras and Terry Kavanagh, Penciled by Fabio Laguna, Inked by Scott Koblish

Well, last month we wrapped up "Taking A.I.M.," so now the Avengers go into the home-stretch before "The Crossing," as Deodato needs another fill-in after a strenuous TWO issues in two months. So let's all enjoy a one-off about Deathcry!

Avengers 389 cover

We open with a shot of a small object going through a wormhole outside of earth, as we're told in narration that Lilandra swore not to use the sol system wormhole anymore because of its potentially catastrophic effect on earth's sun. A few minutes later, on earth, Deathcry is engaging with Mandroids who are trying to take the object from her. After Deathcry slashes a few Mandroids and posits that Widow is going to "have a cow" when she finds out about this fight, Deathcry is joined by Hercules and Quicksilver. The Mandroids try to argue that Deathcry is an alien that is compromising global security, but then calls Quicksilver a "mutie," which if Kitty Pryde is to be believed, is a bit like trying to convince a black guy to take your side and then calling him the n-word. The Avengers take care of the Mandroids, but on a nearby helicopter, Henry Gyrich smugly thinks how he's got the Avengers now.

Avengers 389 deathcry
Proud Shi'ar warrior Deathcry and her Bamf doll.

30 minutes later, at Avengers Mansion, Gyrich confronts the team, asking that Deathcry be turned over to the U.S. Government. Black Widow argues that arresting an alien without any proof is "clearly illegal," dating this comic to the 1990's, when America couldn't just indefinitely lock up any Shi'ar agents it ran across in Guantanamo indefinitely. Widow asks why Gyrich is even here, since he's not the Avengers liaison, and works at the Starcore base, but Gyrich points out that this is Starcore business. They tracked the unauthorized wormhole use back to Deathcry. Gyrich asks how much they really know about Deathcry, and then, because he's a bad guy, he asks Quicksilver how his dad's doing, because again, nobody can make a convincing argument without personally insulting someone's family or background. Marilla, the Inhuman nanny of Quicksilver and Crystal's daughter Luna, storms in and says Gyrich has no right to talk to the Avengers this way, but not surprisingly, Gyrich blows her off. Quicksilver asks why Deathcry didn't mention dangerous wormhole activity, but Deathcry's response is a teary run to her bedroom while shouting "why would you believe another alien," as she runs past a framed photo of noted alien and all around creepy dude Starfox. Moments later, Marilla says that Deathcry's left her room through the window.

Avengers 389 Deathcry
The only thing missing is a line about "the focused totality of my psychic powers." 

Widow promises Gyrich the Avengers will get to the bottom of this, but Gyrich scoffs at the notion. When Hercules gets in Gyrich's face, he reminds the team that it wasn't that long ago that Sersi nearly blew up half of New York (in the conclusion of the Gatherers storyline), and that it's his job to protect normal people from super-powered "wild cards" like them. Gyrich slams the door after telling the team they better find Deathcry before he does.

Avengers 389 Deathcry Hercules
Okay Herk, this is getting weird.

Later that night, Deathcry returns to her room in Avengers Mansion, noting that someone left the window open. Hercules is waiting for her, and says he knew she'd come back because she's got  nowhere else to go. He points out how her room, which is full of stuffed animals, isn't what he expected from the Shi'ar warrior she presented herself as for her first 15 or so appearances. Deathcry points out that she was just acting tough because she was a stranger, and that the Vision saw through her "tough girl" act. The two bond over being exiled from their home for a bit until Hercules shows that he has the object Deathcry's been looking for, and after touching it, a garbled message from Deathcry's nursemaid plays, saying only vague things about her "destiny." Deathcry and Hercules hug it out, in a very creepily framed shot, as Hercules says he hopes Deathcry has found a "friend." Meanwhile, a Shi'ar ship reports in directly to Lilandra (she needs to learn to delegate) that they found a ship, but that a probe had already passed through the wormhole. Lilandra prays that the message never reaches its destination, for the sake of us all. The End?!


We're only one month out from the lead-in to the Crossing, so here's a completely irrelevant issue about everyone's least favorite Avenger hanger-on! This issue is clearly designed to address the sudden, inexplicable 180 degree turn Deathcry took about five issues back, when she suddenly became purple Jubilee after being introduced as a tough alien warrior. It also seems to be adding some dark hints about Deathcry's real mission on earth, but there is never any pay-off on that at all, as she disappears during the whole Onslaught mess,  never to be seen again until Abnett and Lanning bring her back as part of their Annihilation event. Deathcry's dialogue in this issue remains completely insufferable, saying things like "I feel more alone than ever. Is that, like, weird?" The issue also has some plotting problems, as the Avengers seem to think it's somehow Deathcry's fault that she's getting these messages. I mean, it seems like she's just getting space mail from her nursemaid. I'm not sure how that's her fault, but Hercules says "I understand why you did what you did" as though he's forgiving her. There's also absolutely no hint of the mystery door in the mansion, no sign of Luna, and absolutely nothing to indicate what this big storyline on the horizon is. Although we do get a crude sketch of an awful 90's Black Widow costume redesign by hot young artist Joe Quesada.

Fabio Laguna's art is decent, although the style once again clashes with Deodato's 90's style. Laguna's work looks more like Joe Madureira, to the point that some of the panels of Gyrich and the team look directly lifted from Joe Mad's work. Apparently, Laguna was known to be a direct swiper, but I didn't notice that until I started looking for it. Apparently he did a couple of issues of Wolverine that Jim Lee deserved a co-penciler credit on, it was so blatant. I didn't really notice the Jim Lee influence... until I started looking for it.

Of course, the biggest problem with art like this is there's such a huge difference between his swiped art and his regular art. Compare these two images of Crystal, one of which bears a resemblance to a certain Gen-13 member, and one of which does not.

Avengers 389 Fabio Laguna

Avengers 389 Crystal Fabio Laguna
Clearly the same character.

It's pretty insulting that Marvel basically had a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for artists like Fabio and Roger Cruz and their lifting of other artist's work, to the point that Joe Mad slipped in a complaint about Cruz in a comic published by Marvel!

All in all, this a one-shot story about a forgettable character with irritating dialogue and art that's pretty inconsistent, since it's only partially swiped from other, better artists.

1 comment:

  1. I like some of this artwork for its cartooniness, but yeah, there are some blatant swipes going on. In particular, that shot of Quicksilver in your second image from the end looks like it might as well have been drawn by Madureira, circa "Age of Apocalypse".

    Also, the cover makes it look like those hands are trying to aggressively grope the Avengers.