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Alright, so… admittedly, it’s been a little while, but I’m back! And what better way to come back than with the prelude to Marvel’s next big event, Avengers Standoff?

The way I understand it, Standoff is supposed to act as the prelude to Civil War 2, so… I guess that makes this issue the prelude to the prelude.  In any case, the issue starts with the Winter Soldier on a covert mission inside a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. He soon learns a little more than he thought he would just before an abrupt cut to an idyllic little town, and a man waking up in the middle of a field, with no idea who or where he is. The story advances from there as the mystery man slowly tries to piece together his identity, and discovers an interesting secret about Pleasant Hill in the process.

Nick Spencer crafts the introduction to what could be an interesting storyline, particularly as a lead in to another, bigger and more complicated event. It’s already clear that this will be the catalyst that creates an ideological rift in the Marvel community. However, I almost have to wonder if Spencer gave everything away too soon. By the end of this issue, we know exactly what’s going on, so there doesn’t seem to be much left to dangle in front of the readers. That being said, I am curious to find out what could possibly happen over the remaining two issues of the main event book and the half dozen tie-in series that are planned.

Mark Bagley’s artwork is crisp and clean as always. However, all of the perfection of Pleasant Hill leaves an uneasy feeling in the midst of all the surrounding beauty. The main character feels it, and so do the readers. Bagley’s action shots are still some of the most dynamic in the business. There aren’t many here, but what we do see is great, and really provides an uncanny sense of motion and speed.

I can’t say that this is the best starter book to an event series that I’ve ever read, but it’s far from the worst. Spencer may have let the cat out of the bag a little to soon for my tastes, but at the same time, it makes me curious as to where the story is going to go from here. It does seem like this is shaping up to be a pretty interesting event, so if you want to get in on the ground floor, I would recommend you start here.

The Verdict for Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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