Originally Published: March 30, 2011, on Comicvine.com

The Hood continues his quest for the Infinity Gems and is already half way there with three in his possession. Can the Avengers prevent him for completing the gauntlet or will a new force arise to hinder his progress?

The Good

With Parker Robbins being the pursuer of the gems, this story is a clever twist of the original Infinity Gauntlet story arc, stirring up some great nostalgia for me from the early 1990s with that original story, and playing War of the Gems on my Super Nintendo. With all six gems located this week, Avengers #11 has me salivating in anticipation of the next issue.

Avengers #11 also enlightened me as I came to a new appreciation for the Red Hulk. His monthly may be teetering on the edge of oblivion in my comic book store pull box, but he definitely has a place in an ensemble and was a nice contrast to Thor and Namor while battling against Parker Robbins and it was very fitting that he was able to wrest the red power gem from him after an epic battle.

Couple all this great action and nostalgia with a surprise villain reveal of a being we haven’t seen in quite some time who has become aware of The Hood’s quest and the pieces are in place for one of the more interesting story arcs I’ve read in a while to play out in earth-shattering detail.

The Bad

Although the overall story progressed considerably with all the gems being located now, most of this action took place in only half the book as the other half was The Watcher providing narration over Parker Robbins’ battle with the Red Hulk in order to set up future issues in this arc by explaining how Parker Robbins does not know the power he is playing with.

This also lessened Parker Robbins as an overall threat to the Avengers, even though he has three Infinity Gems. This supposedly huge player in the Marvel underworld keeps losing power and then regaining it, but then gets downplayed simply as someone who is just a common thug that keeps happening onto these outlandish scenarios. If Marvel is going to have him be a major player, then they need to treat him as such. Otherwise stop featuring him as one and leave him alone because last I checked you had to be something pretty special to wield an Infinity Gem.

The Watcher narration also provided a pacing problem. Half the book is this long drawn out battle between Red Hulk and The Hood over the power gem and then the other half sees two more gems found and another change hands. It felt like crawling up to the line at a red light and then slamming on the gas when you saw green.

The Verdict

Avengers #11 harkens back to a classic Marvel story arc and sees more heroes than ever trying to prevent the unthinkable from happening. With an epic battle between the Red Hulk and Parker Robbins serving as the background for a lot of Watcher narration, this would actually be a great spot for someone to jump into this arc as the first half of the book will bring you up to speed on all you need to know from here on out. If you’ve been reading this book though, they try to apologize for the replay session by forwarding the plot tremendously in the last half by uncovering the remaining gems and throwing in a surprise villain reveal that will make fans of the original Infinity Gauntlet arc squeal in delight.

The book has some pacing problems and doesn’t know if it wants Parker Robbins to be a Grade-A villain or a chump, but aside from this it has the makings to be one of the more interesting reads in the coming months and this would be a great time to get on board if you haven’t already.