Avengers Assemble: Science Bros, by Kelly Sue DeConnick ISBN 9780785167976
Four out of five stars
There are three distinct stories in this collection in both plot and the Avengers that are featured. In the first, samples are taken from an ancient lake under the ice in Antarctica and it contains ancient microbes that dramatically alter the body structure of humans when they ingest it. A scientist has gone missing and the Avengers form two teams of two that will separately travel to the research station on Antarctica in order to investigate.
At first, the Avengers take the task so lightly that they make a bet regarding which team will get there first. The losers will have to walk naked down the streets of New York. There are two teams of two, with Iron Man and Thor on one team and the Hulk and Spider-Woman on the other. Other Avengers become involved later in the story.
The story is within the theme of the collection, which is science run amok. There is a powerful villain and he has an army of changed humans to fight his battles. There is some excellent dialog in the form of banter between the Avengers, which is the high point of what is otherwise an above average story.
The theme of the second story is also that of science run amok, in this case it is a recreational drug that can be deadly, but that also transforms humans into lizard creatures. It features the Black Widow, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman traveling into the city sewers in search of answers. It is an average story.
The third story is in many ways the best, for it features the Vision dealing with the aftermath of his marriage to the Scarlet Witch, the loss of their children and his long rehabilitation after being disassembled. It is also a story of science run amok, this time as a consequence of corporate greed.
The culprit in this case is Roxxon and the CEO, a man with a plan and no scruples in the pursuit of greater profit. There is a disgruntled employee with great powers and a desire for revenge against the company. It is up to the Avengers to stop him and only the Vision has the powers to fight him. Yet, the Vision is battling his own demons and past as he does his duty as an Avenger, yet cannot overcome his emotional baggage. It is a story that mimics the modern world of greed being considered good, even if there is human carnage left in the wake.