Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Tigh Walker
Colorist: Jean Francois Beaulieu
GOING NATIVE: PART THREE
Three months have passed since the Undercover Avengers made their deal with Baron Zemo, and the time has come for them to rebel against their captors but not everyone is on board. Everyone, from the Masters of Evil, to S.H.I.E.L.D., to the Avengers, to the arena survivors, have been making moves and it’s only a matter of time before something big happens.
Ups: I really enjoyed how the characters changed in their 3 months working for the Masters of Evil. Some of the arena survivors went through physical changes, and most went through emotional and ethical changes. Dennis Hopeless continues to evolve and change these characters in ways that aren’t always nice or convenient, which makes these characters feel like actual teenagers. The writing for the villains has this nice balance between empathy and contempt. Characters like Madame Masque, or Constrictor, or Excavator can come off as witty and fun and even likable at times but there’s always a moment or two that reminds you you’re supposed to hate them, which makes it all the more believable that some members of the Undercover Avengers might want to stay with Zemo. On the subject of liking villains, as a fan of the Runaways, Alex Wilder’s return has been very entertaining and he offers a unique perspective on many events.
Downs: This issue didn’t quite have the shock value that every other installment of this series has had. The plot has definitely been moving forward and a good amount of tension gets built up in this issue but nothing happens in this issue that fundamentally changes the direction of the story like what’s happened in the other issues. I also miss Kev Walker’s art on this issue, Tigh Walker’s art is great and captures the same tone as Kev’s art but it is noticeably different and having artists switch in the middle of an arc does take you out the story somewhat. My issue with the art change is about consistency and not quality.
Overall: While this wasn’t necessarily a game changing issue like all the other ones were, there were some considerable developments and the dialogue and action were enjoyable as always. The strength of this series has always been the dark humor, and the evolution of these characters. When this series started it felt like any of the Undercover Avengers could become anything for better or worse. In previous issues we saw the beginnings of these changes as characters killed, lied, and made deals, but with this issue, things slow down and the focus is on cementing these changes. By taking three months to explore what these characters are going through we realize that these aren’t phases that these teens are going through. If it wasn’t made clear before, it’s been made clear now: everything these characters do is real and not everything they do is good, or fair, or smart, which is true of all teenagers.
Grade: 4 of 5