As It Stands (Avengers Standoff Recap) Part Two [SPOILERS]


As It Stands

Like we did with last summer’s sprawling Secret Wars, Bam Smack Pow is helping you navigate this spring’s Avengers Standoff crossover! Catch up on the prelude issue here, and follow us into a recap of this week’s official start to the story!

What we know so far: The Standoff will send the three Captain Americas (Sam Wilson, Steve Rogers, and Bucky Barnes) into Pleasant Hill, and by the end, the Thunderbolts title will relaunch, Steve Rogers will be young again, and the relationship between heroes and villains will be markedly changed. In Captain America: Sam Wilson, a hacker called Whisperer leaked that SHIELD’s Project Kobik has been using cosmic cube fragments to rewrite reality in defense against another cataclysm like Secret Wars. Last month, readers learned that Maria Hill has directed SHIELD to use the cubes to transform super villains into peaceful caricatures out of a black-and-white sitcom. Baron Zemo (as “Jim”) had some strange encounters with a little girl before The Fixer restored his evil identity.

This is your last chance to avoid spoilers…

Avengers Standoff: Assault On Pleasant Hill Alpha #1

After Sam Wilson fights a hilarious environmental terrorist calling himself The Green Skull, Whisperer summons him to his apartment. Whisperer is actually eternal sidekick Rick Jones, and he tells Sam about Pleasant Hill. Sam flies into action, putting a call out to his All-New, All-Different Avengers on the way, but he doesn’t get to the prison this issue.

Meanwhile, Bucky arranges a meeting with Steve Rogers to give him the same information. Enraged, the former Captain makes Maria Hill show him around the suburb full of mind-wiped villains. She shows him that the Absorbing Man is now serving up malteds at the ice cream parlor and the Trapster is now a groundskeeper named Willie (and Hill is incensed that Steve doesn’t get the Simpsons reference). She introduces the strange little girl from the prologue, explaining her name is Kobik and she’s the fusion of all the pieces of cubes that SHIELD had been messing with.

At the issue’s close, Nitro blows up a building Steve and Maria are in, and Klaw broadcasts a signal throughout Pleasant Hill that wakes all the bad guys up, including Moonstone, Atlas, Tiger Shark, and Mister Hyde. Steve has just enough time to call his Uncanny Avengers team before the gang closes in on him.

Another amazing issue, carrying the political thriller of the prologue forward and studding the text with so many jokes that readers are guaranteed to smile at least once every other page. It’s self-aware and so scary, and the setup is big enough to justify the involvement of all current Avengers teams. This soon after the creative majesty of Secret Wars, I couldn’t have handled another big crossover, but the sixteen pieces of this story feel intimate and personal so far, tackling important moral issues about heroism and its limits while staying focused on a handful of main characters. The press of villains summons up that time the Masters Of Evil laid siege to Avengers Mansion, and the cast and plot structure remind us why we loved the Thunderbolts fifteen years ago. So far, this crossover has every chance to be the best Avengers story since they were Disassembled.

More from Bam Smack Pow

Avengers Standoff will continue in Agents Of SHIELD and Uncanny Avengers next week, then cross through All-New, All-Different AvengersNew AvengersHowling Commandos Of SHIELDCaptain America: Sam Wilson, and Illuminati before concluding in Assault On Pleasant Hill: Omega in April. To keep track of our recap coverage, watch this link.