This issue marks the momentous reunion of Janet Van Dyne, a.k.a. The Wasp, with her teammates in The Avengers, as well as the final story arc of writer Brian Michael Bendis on the title. In many ways, it’s the end of an era. Not only is Bendis saying goodbye, but the Avengers as we know them in the comics may be coming to an end, as Marvel seems to be transforming its universe to more closely resemble its movie counterpart.
A huge reason this issue works so well is Terry and Rachel Dodson teaming up on art duties. Their kinetic style gives the book a more lighthearted and fun appearance, which adds a lot to Bendis’ smart dialogue and action sequences. Even (admittedly) goofy new villain, Lord Gouzer, looks awesome, thanks to the duo’s work here. Despite being a second rate Doctor Doom, Bendis makes Gouzer a formidable threat all his own, as we see that he is able to knock even Thor down, as well as Captain America and Giant-Man. It’s actually Iron Man who appears to have the upper hand against him, albeit temporarily.
The explanation for how Janet survived her apparent demise back in Secret Invasion is a bit cliche, but it’s as plausible as any other explanation we’ve been given in the past, whenever a character comes back from the dead. What actually makes this story work so well are the small character moments, such as Red Hulk’s reaction to a curious bystander taking his picture and the personal moments between Hank and Janet. That’s the beauty of Bendis’ writing. He’ll be missed writing these characters, but I look forward to him on All New X-Men, along with Stuart Immonen. As for this issue, I have to give it an 8/10. While it does feel like a retread of a dozen stories we’ve read before, all rolled into one, I couldn’t help but enjoy the sense of friendship and family between the characters, as well as the witty personal dialogue. Good show!