Avengers Undercover #8 Review

Written by: Dennis Hopeless

Art by: Tigh Walker

Publisher: Marvel

Avengers Undercover may very well be my favorite Marvel book right now. I love this book so much, even more than I loved Avengers Arena, which dealt with the same cast and came from the same creative team. In this issue, we go through a three month time jump, checking in with the cast three months into their stint as undercover members of Zemo’s criminal organization. As much as I would have loved to have seen what happened in that three month time period, it doesn’t really bother me that it was skipped, as it may very well have brought the story’s pace to a crawl. Plus, none of what happens in this issue feels undeserved on the part of the creative team. It seems that the characters – Chase, Death Locket, Hazmat, Cullen, Nico, and Aiden – have fully infiltrated the Masters of Evil.

Despite claiming to be “infiltrators,” it does seem hard for them to shake off being part of the organization. After all, they’re all teenagers, and, frankly, aren’t the best decisions makers. Really, Avengers Undercover is a great look at the teenage psyche, but with superpowers thrown in for good measure. It’s a great character study of the seven lead characters, who have arguably been beaten down more than any other character in the Marvel Universe that isn’t Daredevil or Hawkeye. They’ve been forced through trials that none of the heavy hitters have been through, experiencing things that the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, and other major characters simply would not be able to relate with. And, since the beginning of their journey in Avengers Undercover, they’ve all been developed so much, even Cammi, despite the fact that she’s still sitting in a cell.

Despite the heavy material, it’s actually fun follow the voyages of these characters. This issue gives us time to catch up with where all the character are, aside from Chase and Cammi. This results in some great scenes, as we get to see character dynamics unfold in a marvelous manner. The interactions between Hazmat and Aiden, Aiden and Cullen, and Hazmat and Death Locket are great. And seeing Hazmat let loose and absolutely lose it with other members of the Masters of Evil is probably the best scene in this book.

Plot wise, it’s becoming obvious that this series is wrapping up. We’ve known that the tenth issue would be the last for some time, and with next issue being the penultimate issue, there’s some set up for the final confrontation. Characters are making their moves, and maneuvering around the board. Fortunately, everything feels natural, and while this issue is largely set up, it doesn’t necessarily feel like it is. It’s not as if the pot goes nowhere, because it does, with a major revelation towards the end of the issue and a couple more minor advancements earlier in the issue, namely Hazmat and Aiden being brought into the fold of the Masters of Evil’s plan by Madame Masque (who’s an awesome character, by the way).

All in all, Avengers Undercover #8 is a great issue. It;s an exhilarating page turner that is never relents, pace-wise, throughout the entire issue. The creative team is firing on all cylinders as the book draws to a close.