The Avengers #8 – Return of the Illuminati
When the Illuminati made their first (official) appearance back in New Avengers five or so years ago, I was pretty happy. The group represented a few things, in my mind. One: sort of an ‘ultra-avengers’, to repel the most absolute threats to earth (or the universe) and the fact that these events would inevitably occur, based solely on the existence of the group in the Marvel U; and Two: the internal boiling point of such a group of heroes together. Each character brought such a diverse dynamic to the group that even while they’d accomplish and prevent great feats, there would always be internal dissent. When have Namor and Stark EVER gotten along? Well, maybe for a shred of a moment after Steve Rogers ‘died’. I read the first arc of this Heroic Age Avengers. It was alright. This issue however, promises a larger scale conflict and brings back one of the most iconic items in the Marvel Canon: the Infinity Gauntlet.
Quick story round-up: Parker Robbins “The Hood”, through unknown funding, manages to get some hi-tech gear and tracks down one (then two) of the infinity gems. He then beats the snot out of the Red Hulk, who alerts Iron Man, who then alerts the Illuminati, and that pretty much brings us up to where we are now.
The last time we saw the Hood he was, well, in prison. But before that he was fighting the Avengers and New Avengers during Siege, wielding the power of the Norn Stones, and much before that he was a pretty prominent villain for the New Avengers. So there are a few things to take note of: he’s been a thorn in their collective Avengers side before, a formidable one he’s shown, and he also has experience wielding strange runes of immense power. So I like where this is headed: Bendis in control of his familiar faces, and a power-driven, formally threatening-foe that will certainly warrant the powers of the Illuminati. Oh but Medusa is on the cover? Well that’s because Black Bolt is ‘dead’. And how about that awesome, secrecy-smashing, cliff-hanger ending! Everything seems in place for a great arc. Oh, except Romita’s art. Disgusting. But consider it overlooked!