As writer Brian Michael Bendis’ tenure with the Avengers winds down to a close, it’s apparent he intends to go out with a bang. In this issue, the Avengers cross over to the Microverse to investigate a mysterious signal being sent from there and are surprised by what – or who – they find. This is someone I’ve been wanting them to bring back for quite a while now and, while it’s very tempting to spoil who it is, I won’t. Trust me, it’s worth finding out for yourselves.

This issue begins with Tony Stark contacting Hank Pym to let him know about the strange signal they’re picking up. Since it’s coming from the Microverse, Pym’s help is all but required for this mission. What’s odd about the signal is that it’s coming from an old communications device, no longer being used by the team. Meeting up in Central Park, where the coordinates mark the signal emanating from a subspace area, Hank and the rest of the Avengers decide on who will be making the trip to the Microverse and who will be staying behind, in case something happens to them. Ultimately, it is decided that Captain America, Iron Man, Hank (as Giant Man), and Thor will be the ones to travel there. Before they go on their way, Wonder Man shows up and offers a helping hand, attempting to reconcile for his past behavior. The Avengers, still suspicious of Wonder Man after being attacked by him only months ago, reject his offer, telling him that now might not be the right time. Disappointed, but seemingly sincere in his intentions, Wonder Man flies away, but vows that he will make amends to his former teammates. Once there inside the Microverse, the four Avengers find the person who sent the signal and are reunited with an old friend. While the identity of this person might be predictable to the reader, the reunion is no less poignant and welcome to longtime fans. The issue ends with the team facing a new threat inside the Microverse. A threat so big (literally) that it might very well take all of them to defeat.

This final story arc really does feel like Bendis is putting things back the way they were before he took over all those years ago, so someone else can come in and have their fun. It seems that, now, to show respect to the fans and to the team he’s been so involved with the last half decade, he’s setting up a story that, for all intents and purposes, returns the status quo back to a more familiar look and feel. While I hope certain members stay on, such as Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Wolverine, etc., I have to say that it’s a relief that a more familiar Avengers team appears to be returning to the fold. While all of this might not be the most surprising turn of events, it is a welcome turn, nonetheless. I applaud Bendis for all of his hard work and storytelling, as well as the utter class and respect he’s showing towards these characters and this title.

The two artists on this story arc, Mike Mayhew and Brandon Peterson, are both giving this already momentous occasion an even greater presentation. Their realistic style of art is, quite simply, beautiful. Never have characters such as Captain America and Hank Pym looked so vivid and alive. Very appropriate for this arc and you really couldn’t ask for a more qualified team for it. In short, this issue is everything you would want from an Avengers comic. As much as I’m looking forward to Bendis and Stuart Immonen on All-New X-Men, his absence from the Avengers will, most certainly, be felt by me. Aside from the story being a tad predictable, it’s still a fun read, done in classic Avengers fashion. 9/10