A long-standing challenge for not just Earth's mightiest heroes but the people of Earth gets an interesting new development. Avengers #45 leans heavily on character development and has only a very subtle bit of plot development happening here.
Blade has always been an awkward fit in this team, as his rather singular focus ran counter to the larger scale focus of the team's mandate. This issue runs heavily in continuity, flashing back to not just the recent symbiote-scented crossover but also the recent Phoenix-flavored storyline and earlier ones as well. That's actually one of the biggest challenges as it detracts attention from the really clever final development.
Using that continuity as a launching pad, an antagonist emerges from previous issues and a clever plan. What ultimately happens echoes a previous line from a Black Panther book, paraphrased, is when people stop acting like supervillains and act like politicians.
Jason Aaron's script has a Bendis-esque taste for character dialogue, which is great in terms of development. The choices for how Avengers respond to various notifications, for example, are very enjoyable. The visual presentation of Luca Maresca, David Curiel, and Cory Petit is solid and effectively manages the scale of the storytelling.
Unfortunately, the core through-line for Blade is not given much room to breathe alongside discussions of musical tastes and day-to-day activity, which is a shame. Luckily, regardless of the cover and solicitations, this issue is 99.9% Knull-free. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
By Jason Aaron, Luca Maresca
THE AVENGERS JOIN THE BATTLE AGAINST THE KING IN BLACK! The year's most epic event explodes in the pages of AVENGERS. The vampire hunter Blade has been at the forefront of the fight against the dark symbiote god, but now he must pay a dark price that will change his world forever.