Avengers: Time Runs Out, Volume 4by Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli, Kev Walker, Mike Deodato, Dustin Weaver Published 07 Jul 2015
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For Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Illuminati, it all ends here! After two years of carefully crafting his cataclysmic saga, writer Jonathan Hickman jumps ahead eight months to the grand finale, the honest-to-goodness immediate future of the Marvel Universe — and the day of the Final Incursion! The Illuminati’s desperate, world-destroying actions have fragmented the Avengers, turning lifelong friends into sworn foes! But as the final incursion looms, will the Avengers, Illuminati and Cabal band together to save what they can, or destroy one another? And have all the battles they’ve endured, and the sacrifices they’ve made, prepared either group for the inevitable moment where time runs out…and the Secret Wars begin? The final act of the astonishing climax to Jonathan Hickman’s legendary run is here!
Collecting: Avengers 43-44 & New Avengers 31-33
"Avengers: Time Runs Out, Volume 4" Reviews
If Secret Wars sucks, I'm gonna be pissed.
I mean, I read alllllll of these volumes to get to this FINAL story, and for what?! It's not goddamn over, and I'm not sure it's ever going to be over, at this point.
I'm tired of this story, I'm tired of the way all the characters are acting like douchebags, and I just want it to fucking end.
Is that so wrong?
I mean, Wolverine is dead, Thor isn't worthy enough to lift his hammer (or is he?), Tony Stark is evil (I think? I can't fucking tell anymore, and I don't care enough to go back and check it out), Cyclops is militantly pro-mutant, Black Panther killed another Avenger, Reed Richards & Beast are both responsible for doing some pretty questionably bad stuff, Doctor Strange is selling off chunks of his soul to the devil (or something), and, worst of all, Storm has a MOHAWK again!
If Secret Wars doesn't re-boot the shit out of the Marvel line-up, I'm not going to be happy.
Ok, maybe I'm being a bit harsh because there were some shining moments in this 'final' volume. Really.
And as long as they fix all the shit they've broken, I'll happily eat my words.
Possibly, my vitriol comes from the bitter taste those last few pages left in my mouth. And it was a very bitter taste, my friend.
Some of you may have noticed that I left out one important character in my above ranty-rant. No, I did not forget what Marvel has done to Steve Rogers. In fact, Captain America is probably the reason that I'm spitting and foaming at the mouth right now.
*rubs face, takes deep breath*
I HATE JURASSIC CAP!
This? This is the absolute worst hunk of bullshit ever. One of my favorite superheroes is now relegated to being a crotchety old fart. He's unreasonable, overbearing, dogmatic, and just plain annoying! I never thought I'd say this, but I was truly hoping Iron Man would punch him in the face, and knock those dentures right out of his mouth.
Every time he came up in a panel, I wanted to claw my eyes out.
Fuck you, old man! Sit down and shut up!
I mean, it's the (literal) end of the world, and that grizzled old bastard keeps harping on horseshit stuff. What are you going to do, you ancient idiot?! Put Stark and Richards in fucking jail?!
Ugh. Kill him already!
If someone would be kind enough to point me toward whatever fresh hell I need to read next, I'd certainly appreciate it.
I thought I'd do a larger review of Hickman's whole run of Avengers here at the end, but since this isn't really the end at all I'm gonna hold off on that until I read Secret Wars which will hopefully be the true finale of this story.
Things regressed a bit from the high of Vol. 3 with this feeling more scattered. There's about two to many major plots, and I really would have been happy with one planet ending threat at a time going on. That's part of what Hickman's going for here with battles spanning multiverses to try and save all of existence going on, but there's just too much going on here. Some stories work better than others, and sadly probably the least interesting one is Iron Man vs. Captain America.
The rift between the two was interesting in Civil War because you could relate to both sides and it seemed like an unavoidable conflict. Cap's earnest sincerity to put principle above all vs. Tony's absolute confidence in his ability to predict the future justifying his whole you-can't-make-an-omelette-without-breaking-a-few-eggs attitude was a real dilemma that left both of them sympathetic even as they were fighting.
But angry old Cap caring less about the end of everything and more about his determination to punish the Illuminati for going against his personal ideals seems stupidly pointless while Tony being right but also being more of a dick than usual is exasperating. The difference between here and Civil War is that they the conflict made both of them feel awful about fighting a friend. Here, they're just two jerks who hate each other so much it blinds them to what's really important, and if you're rooting for them to kill each other there's not much left to care about in that subplot.
Not really the end. Secret Wars better be good.
Time Runs Out, Vol. 4 wasn't quite the huge, slam-bang, grandiose finish I had expected. And yeah, I knew going in this was all build-up for Hickman's BIG FINALE in Secret Wars. But still...such is the curse of massive cross-over events, I suppose.
Most of the pressing issues from the totality of his Avengers run get addressed in this final volume - the identity of Rabum Alal is revealed, along with the grand machinations behind the incursion events, and Tony Stark finally makes for a serious presence on the battle-field after his very brief appearance in volume two.
This particular volume is pretty much all action. Earth is under attack by alien forces (honestly, though, when is it not?), and another incursion event is right around the corner -- this time from the main Marvel Universe's sister line-up of titles from the Ultimate Universe brand of books. The number of alternate realities have been dwindling through Hickman's run as one Earth after another gets snuffed out, until only these two Earths remain.
The relationship between Iron Man and Captain America take center stage here, and it's some pretty good stuff overall. As I said in a previous review, the hero versus hero stuff is a natural outgrowth from the plot and character dynamics. The story itself is rife with conflict, and the splintering of various Avengers factions and Marvel heroes has recreated a sort of Civil War scenario, only much, much richer thanks to Hickman's love of huge, deeply layered storytelling. You really get a sense of how much these characters are hurting as friendships are torn asunder, and the knowledge that their earlier decisions have serious consequences, decisions that have made some of them villains in the eyes of their former comrades. It's pretty powerful stuff, and Hickman handles the nature of sacrifice quite effectively.
Although this book marks the end-run of Hickman's work on Avengers (and New Avengers) proper, there's still plenty more story to be told and lots of dangling plot threads in dire need of resolution, particularly since war is now imminent. Given the last page of the book, though, I have to wonder just how secret they really expect this war to be. The final splash art suggest things are not going to be very secret at all...
And that's the ending? Urgh. What a drudge of an ordeal! Too many issues. Too few twists and turns! I had such high hopes for Hickman's run and kept the faith running far past my good sense, when it told me to drop reading this series a couple of volumes ago... should have listened. Feel burned. Years from now this will be viewed as an Avengers low point. And a monumental waste of time. And my money. And time. And ugly chapter in Avengers history, best forgotten as soon as possible. Better yet, don't bother picking it up in the first place.
This is the end of Hickman amazing run on Avengers.
I am of two minds about this book.
This is not really an end as it leads straight into Secret Wars.
On a positive side there are still a lot of surprises coming up in this book which is credit to Hickman's genius.
On a negative side this book is a little more uneven than the previous ones but it still is the best Avengers run ever in my view even if I would have wished the ending was a little better.
I have all the Hardcovers for the whole run but if Marvel releases one day the whole serie in 2 Omnibus I think I would double dip...