On his 75th anniversary, Captain America is about to face a challenge unlike any other. Three shield-wielders past and present - Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson - find themselves in a standoff, with high stakes. It all begins in the idyllic community of Pleasant Hill. COLLECTING WELCOME TO PLEASANT HILL PROLOGUE 1, ASSAULT ON PLEASANT HILL ALPHA 1, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. 3-4, UNCANNY AVENGERS 7, ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS 7-8, NEW AVENGERS 8-10, CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON 7-8, UNCANNY AVENGERS 8, ILLUMINATI 6, HOWLING COMMANDOS 6, ASSAULT ON PLEASANT HILL
This is why you ought to never ever go by what industry mouthpieces write. According to IGN:
"A distinctive balance between lighthearted charm and epic drama"
My response? Bollocks. Did they actually read this? I do not think so unless you read it while you were on mind-altering drugs. "lighthearted charm"? Where the fornicating frogs of Vishna was the light-hearted charm?? But, as is so popular in TV, movies, books and comics, lets now jump back to when I ordered this book before we catch up with where I just began....
"Three shield-wielders past and present - Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson" led me to think we would be seeing Barnes as Captain America and Rogers as Captain America and I assumed that we were dealing with some sort of clever time plot -Barnes' Avengers and Rogers' old team and the new lot. oh well. I bought the book and it arrived and I was quite happy.
I started at 16:00hrs and stopped reading at 21:00 hrs. Straight read. It seems that Barnes is now on something in outer space called "The Man On The Wall" where he took over from Nick Fury and where he gets alerts to any major threats to Earth. This means he comes back to Earth and gets caught, escapes, goes on the run...in fact, I had to wonder why someone with some powers had not been "The Man On The Wall" unless it's seen as a pretty lame job?
By the time Maria Hill (I guessed that "Pleasant Hill" was named after her) talked about fragments of the cosmic cube and keeping enemies in check -which was page 5- I knew what was going to go one. The idyllic crime free, perfect little law abiding community, the amnesiac who kept trying to run away....well, I would not say that they "telegraphed" the whole story. It was more like...a super-sized wrecking ball with a keg of gelignite attached smashing into the face. I am guessing that this was all not intended to be a mystery because if it was it failed and if I guessed it all by page 5...but I thought "ahh...leading me to think this is so obvious then -BAM! the twist in the story!"
I was kind of kidding myself there. What the story was...well, it has been the plot of so many sci fi stories, TV shows and movies as well as comics that there was no way readers could not have known what was going on. Even Star Trek Voyager had a story where crew members were kidnapped and then mind altered to believe they were someone else living on another planetary community. I think in that story, as here, something a crew member did as work alerted them to them not being who they were supposed to be. Even shows/'movies' on SyFy have used the storyline.
In this mess it is a super villain who realises from the work he is doing that something is "off". Cue the altered villains being 'turned back' to normal....well, they were wearing their costumes but as residents of the community they, themselves, and everyone else saw them as regular people. It was a bad plot contrivance.
In one part of the book Steve Rogers is the aged S.H.I.E.L.D. commander getting his face pummeled raw by Crossbones. Very graphic beating. A few pages on we have uninjured Steve Rogers...then injured Rogers. There were points as I was reading this that I said out loud What the **** is going on??"
Of course, it all gets resolved in a very prosaic way that has, again, been used over and over in Sci fi, comics and movies/TV. I really expected the twist in the story.
Bucky Barnes is not a shield-slinging Captain America in this. Neither is Steve Rogers. The mish-mash of stories and characters was so bad that at one point I forgot what I was supposed to be reading. The art varies from good to not-so-good. The comics are written by seven different people. They are writing their comic and inserting the Pleasant Hill plot into their monthly comic so mug fanboys buy it for completism. Characterisation was quite minimal in some places and if this was supposed to be an "Avengers book" well, someone lied.
When I put the book down I sat back and simply said "What a ******* mess!"
You throw ten comics together and cover art including variant covers at the back and charge people a high price because: (1) it is a hardback collection and (2) has a lot of pages and offers you a "big" storyline.
What was needed was for a person to take all the Pleasant Hill material from the relevant books and, even if the odd new linking page of art was needed, put them together to make one coherent story. That is what we used to call an "Editor" back in--wait. There was a "Collection Editor"?? Jennifer Grunwald. Well,congratulations, Ms Grunwald for landing a great job title and totally fucking failing to make this a book that had a coherent story that made sense -and getting paid. Wow. Chucking a load of comics together is not editorial work it is fucking lazy.
Seriously, is it all "We need to make more money as the comics do not sell but how about we just get any with this "Pleasant Hill" thing in and chuck them together? Put in a bit of false build-up -once they buy it tough shit!"
If you were new to comics or had seen a Marvel movie and thought "I'll start with a collected book -'Avengers Stand Off -Assault On Pleasant Hill' because it's a big story and it's the Avengers!" Tough titties newbie fanboy. I got this book cheap but apart from it being a slap-dash comic compilation that was nonsense, what annoyed me is that comic fans, at a time when comics are expensive, are going to be conned out of more money for...rubbish.
As I wrote, there was good art in here and tolerable art but the writing and editing just made it seem like a "flick-through and look at the pretty pictures" book. Oh, Iron Man in this book is an incidental character and She-Thor or Lady Thor or whatever hasn't got that much of a greater role in it. My guess is that they are on the cover simply to sell the book. Mrs or Ms Thor because all those other more relevant female characters such as....oooh, Maria Hill would be unknown.
Even previous incarnations of the Avengers have had some plus points but this, I think, shows how bad Marvel Comics have gotten. Stifle creativeness under the Di$ney yolk and you get piss poor writing and artists that provide the only reason to look at the books. You should read and look at a comic and be relatively satisfied by both.
If this is what an "Avengers book" has become.....I pity the artists and fans -if there are any left.
Absolutely NOT recommended.