Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1

Check out our mildly “spoilery” review of Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1, written by Nick Spencer with art by Jesus Saiz.

Not much happens in Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1, but man, due to Spencer’s ear for dialogue and masterful pacing, it’s incredibly fun to watch the exposition fly by.

Coming out of the first part of this event, there were tons of unanswered questions. This Alpha issue answers those questions and answers them…and answers them some more. But because of Nick Spencer’s keen ear for debate and humor, this issue is a blast to read.

The story centers on the town of Pleasant Hill, an idyllic community that is actually a prison. You see, SHIELD has used some Cosmic Cube fragments to transform Earth’s most dangerous super-villains into residents of Pleasant Hill. It’s like a Guantanamo Bay with malt shops.

This issue, both Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson find out about Pleasant Hill and we are off. There is lots of hand wringing and yelling about human rights but the story never gets mired in the political because of the humanity in which Spencer infuses his characters with. Spencer’s Maria Hill is particularly fun to read as the writer manages to capture the cadence of the Cobie Smulders version of the character while making the SHIELD honcho her own character. She is clearly the foil in this piece but she takes joy in her immoral prison and practices.

It says Avengers on the cover but this is a Captain America story – a good one – with many elements from Cap’s past playing into the unfolding tale. By the end of the issue, it is also a Thunderbolts story and it looks like we might finally get to the fisticuffs.

There are some great questions of morality and justice brought up in this issue, but fear not; although it is exposition heavy, it is a satisfying read with plenty of humor to carry readers through the frequent and king-sized plot dumps.

Those fearing another event should take into account that Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 reads very differently than any issue published during Secret Wars as Nick Spencer’s event is its own thing with its own voice and purpose.

In a year of Civil Wars, both in comics and film, this is perfect thematic companion to that type of storytelling with clean and grandiose artwork by Jesus Saiz who infuses the many talkie panels with joy and energy.

 

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