Written by Jonathan Hickman, art by: Adam Kubert
Some writers weave narrative tapestries really well; Hickman is one of these writers. After starting his Avengers run with a big three-issue story to set the scale of things, Hickman brings down the tempo to introduce three of the lesser known characters (who are actually three of the more powerful characters in Hickman’s line-up) – Issue #6 is the last of these character stories but still weaves into a larger, more world spinning story as Hickman deals with the character of Captain Universe and the person who is the host of this power (not going to go into too much detail as unintentional spoiler would result).
The most impressive thing about this issue is Hickman’s easy juxtaposition of phenomenal cosmic entities and tiny characters and characterisation, in this issue he gives a history of the character (and entity) of Captain Universe but keeps her humanised as well as giving the character of Shang-Chi a chance to shine as he acts as the interviewer/counsellor to The Uni-Power. An entire interview is conducted while the definition of these two characters are done by expression and tiny movements, expertly executed by Adam Kubert.
Kubert’s art on these three issues were clearly planned – it wasn’t just a case of artist’s rotating (Jerome Opena did the first three issues, and Dustin Weaver will do the next three) but clearly Hickman had Kubert’s style in mind when scripting the issues and knew how his use of body language and expression would tell as much of these characters origins as the dialogue.
The test of a good artist is if you can follow the story and understand what’s going on without reading the dialogue; these two characters have a full expressive conversation through Kubert’s art. His use of tone and art tells you when the conversation gets serious and then Shang-Chi’s goofy expression during the light hearted moments tell you what’s both are feeling during this telling done in one.
Complimenting Kubert’s art is long time collaborator Frank Martin who uses a very clean varied pallet of colour but knows Kubert’s art and style well enough to compliment him well enough.
This series is Marvel’s flagship title and is getting a lot of extra attention thanks to the impact of Joss Whedon’s 2012 movie. Subsequently, there is a tendency to fill these issues with high action and explosive dynamism on every page- Hickman, being a storyteller, realises what would be lost doing that and paces the series beautifully to allow for character moments and gives his readers a chance to step back and understand their heroes better, and carefully chooses an artist to achieve these moments too.