They have tried everything. Prisons, Prison Islands, Negative Zones and all the other types of holding grounds for the worst and most deadly villains. But time and again the worst of the worst villains have returned. Often more powerful or with more convoluted plans than the time before. Yet S.H.I.E.L.D. has never been the type of organization to back down from a challenge. Their newest strategy: Welcome to Pleasant Hill.
Something untoward appears to be going on under the helm of Director Maria Hill. Something so unimaginable that it pulls Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier and The Man On the Wall, away from his duty as a cosmic protector. With the help of the Cosmic Cube, Director Hill is taking the lives of the most evil into her hands. And the consequences may be dire.
Is it surprising that an experienced creative team like Nick Spencer (Ant-Man) and Mark Bagley (Trinity) would put together a solid prelude to the beginning of the next Marvel crossover event? Of course not! The book is inventive and compelling, with all the twists and turns of a perfect pre-beginning. Offering up just as many questions as unexpected answers. Pleasant Hill is just as welcoming as it will be earth shattering.
Along with inker, Scott Hanna (Avengers v. X-Men), and colorist, Paul Mounts (Fantastic Four), Bagley’s work is spot on. Creating intrigue and mystery, something similar to the beginning of a classic spy film. Shadows darkening even the brightest panels. Large and emotive eyes that suggest they are “watching you”. Bright reds to develop a feeling of loss and confusion, while the typical blues lead to the serene that may be a little too inviting.
Spencer does not hold anything back on the espionage side of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the growing manipulative personality of Director Maria Hill. Pleasant Hill is a warm and hospitable place, but so obviously horror-movie-esque, the want of escape is inevitable. Spencer builds the need to ask questions, to know more about each character and this new glittering town. While answering just enough to force you to the turn the page. But, as you flip from page to page, each one seems a little darker than the last.
Spencer has a big event on his plate, the main series of books consisting of a 15 issue crossover. He, with artists Jesus Saiz (Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1) and Daniel Acuña (Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1) will helm the lead and conclusive issues of the crossover. The main event includes titles such as Illuminati, New Avengers and Captain America: Sam Wilson. For a full list, check the very last page of Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1.
Make sure to stop by your local comics retailer and pick up Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1. And keep a look out for Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1, arriving in stores March 02.