(Note: I know I'm not your regularly scheduled "Avengers" reviewer but Managing Editor Byron Brewer, is getting his own version of The Odin Sleep right now. When the Fates see fit, he will emerge once more to reclaim his rightful domain. Until then, hang in there big guy, we're all rooting for you!)
Let me start off by saying, most people ridicule Mr. Bendis regarding his "talking heads" books. Whether warranted or not, this issue was the perfect instance for that style, setting an ominous tone that chilled the reader as the devastation unfolds.
Like last issue, we are treated to the combined might of all the Avengers teams recalling the horrific events of "Fear Itself." Morose dialog and shunted eyes, tell the tale of battle weary heroes - ones that did not fare well against the hammers of the Serpent! But unlike last issue where we only see our heroes speaking with hindsight, here, we actually get to see the decimation in flashbacks, as well - and no Avengers fan will want to miss the utter annihilation that is layed out before us!
Bendis and JRJR combine for a virtual tour de force issue, mixing mayhem with melancholy and completely blowing our minds! Bendis' approach of telling the tale as a form of reflection was pitch perfect. Without having the characters actually come out and tell you what happens, it is all shown in it's chaotic glory before us - and no Avenger will ever be the same! Personal feelings are dredged up from the various members of the different teams as well, showcasing their doubts, fears and and ultimately a feeling of comradiere that will help them through the darkest of days. The humanity of our heroes has been exposed, and it makes us love them even more for it.
Overall, this book combined every aspect that we cherish from our "funny books." An exposure to the spirit of individuals that will defy everything to save not just themselves, but humanity as a whole; the unity of diversities to form a stronger, single force; senses-shattering battles that trigger the endorphins to fluctuate through the reader; a bit of comedic wit and an overall sense of justification for the purchase as we close the final page.
But the best part, and to sum it all up in a single fanboy thought - Red Hulk vs. Thing! "It's Clobberin' Time!"