|AVENGERS: OPERATION HYDRA No. 1, June 2015|
Firmly set within the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” as opposed to the New York-based publisher’s comic book shared cosmos, this one-shot could very easily be criticised as being little more than a ‘cash-in’ on the 2015 “Summer blockbuster film” “Avengers: Age Of Ultron”. Indeed not only was this “all-new adventure” by Will Corona Pilgrim blatantly advertised by “Marvel Worldwide” as being a forerunner to Joss Whedon’s ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ silver screen sequel. But, having firmly established the “terrorist-military organization bent on world domination” with the motion picture “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, this magazine also supposedly explores what happens just before the Sentinel of Liberty and his truly formidable team-mates cinematically confront Baron Wolfgang von Strucker at his Sokovian-based Hydra outpost.
Sadly, having established such a dubiously-motivated pedigree, the “Marvel Studios” Creative Research Manager’s narrative disappointingly lives up to its low expectations by delivering an extraordinarily simple tale of “a secret Hydra splinter cell”, led by the incredibly ‘over-the-top’ Doctor Jensen, being somewhat unceremoniously battered to pieces by the combined forces of the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America. In fact, with the exception of a perturbing sub-plot which focuses upon Clint Barton’s insecurities over “someone else grabbing my seat on the Avengers” just because he doesn't have either Tony Stark's armour or Steve Rogers' "super serum-ness", this twenty-page periodical’s storyline arguably consists of very little else but heavily-armed Hydra operatives being severely trounced in a variety of ways by the handful of heroes; “Thank you for choosing air widow. We hope you’ve enjoyed your flight.”
Fortunately “Avengers: Operation Hydra” does have one saving grace, apart from being available sporting a Silver Age Jack Kirby “The Old Order Changeth!” variant cover and containing a reprint of Issue Sixteen of “The Avengers” from May 1965, in that it’s wonderfully drawn by former “The Thing” penciller , Andrea Di Vito. Admittedly the Italian comic book artist’s popular super-team don’t really resemble their celluloid counter-parts, with Doctor Bruce Banner and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s former archer agent proving particularly disappointing likenesses when compared to the actors who play them. But costume-wise the Rome-born illustrator is reasonably ‘spot-on’, even going so far as to having Natasha Romanova dressed in her “Tony Stark-designed high tech suit”.
|The regular cover art of "AVENGERS:OPERATION HYDRA" No. 1 by Michael Ryan|