Check out Our Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1 Review that is ALMOST COMPLETELY DEVOID OF ANY SPOILERS!
In this day and age of advanced solicitations and twenty-four hour news cycles, it’s very hard to keep a secret. But with Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1, Marvel did just that and also delivered a gripping read by some of comics most consistent creators.
The book starts out with the Winter Soldier’s returns to Earth but the major focus of the book is a young man named Jim. Jim lives in an idyllic town called Pleasant Hill, but he has no memories of his past. Jim is desperate to escape the homey confines of Pleasant Hill even though everything seems perfect there. The whole thing is a very entertaining riff on The Prisoner or Wayward Pines, but it still feels like one is smack dab in the middle of the Marvel Universe, because there are some very familiar figures in Pleasant Hill who want to keep Jim there – safe in town – no matter how many times he runs.
Nick Spencer does a masterful job building suspense and pacing a story that is essentially a prolonged mystery. Spencer hits the reader with the same beats over and over, Jim waking up, getting help, being told why he needs to stay in the peaceful town, and running again. Each time, Spencer gives the tale a subtle twist that gives the reader a new clue to just what the heck is going on. Guys, this is a real page turner.
Mark Bagley’s clean lines really add to the book. Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1 looks like a classic Marvel comic. Bagely renders everything so (forgive the wording) pleasantly, that the normalcy on the page powerfully impacts Jim’s nightmare scenario. In addition, Paul Mounts’ colors are so vibrant that the shadows underneath Pleasant Hill stand darker in contrast.
Oft times, comics like this do not deliver on the promised surprise. The set up works but the twist falls flat. Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1 delivers. The twist is a complete 180 from what the reader suspects but it all makes sense. I won’t blow it here, but I’ll drop this hint: Mark Bagley being the artist on this particular project makes perfect sense.
Most importantly, Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1 is additive; it leaves the Marvel Universe slightly different than before and it is also a complete and satisfying read. No decompression here, just a one and done mystery that ends with a bang that will make any classic Marvel fan very happy.
Written by: Nick Spencer
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inker: Scott Hanna Colorist: