Yeah, I've had these books for over a week, I just didn't feel like getting to them last week. Living out of suitcases always discombobulates me.
Avengers Undercover #5 & 6, by Dennis Hopeless (writer), Kev Walker (penciler, #5), Timothy Green II (artist), Jason Gorder (inker), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - I am not sorry I couldn't find an image of #6's cover to use. It has about the chunkiest, dumpiest looking Captain America on it I've ever seen. Even worse than the one Coipel drew in New Avengers Annual #1, the one I joked had been eating too many of Aunt May's wheatcakes. The stupid helmet he has on his costume these days doesn't help, I'm sure.
Issue 5 is the sales pitch. Zemo's crew splits up the kids and tries to show them what a great life they'll have if they sign on. Well, except for Madame Masque. She expects Cammi, Hazmat, and Anachronism to recognize what's offered, and she's got stuff to do, so she bails. I like that. It's still a version of a hard sell - "this deal is so great I'm not even wasting time pitching it" - but one ostensibly designed not to insult the intelligence of these three Masque has just praised for being decisive leaders. Which doesn't seem like an accurate description of Anachronism or Hazmat. Nico would have been a better choice, but she's getting wooed by Hellstrom bringing her dead ex-boyfriend back from Hell.
Anyway, Masque's charges, left to their own devices, come up with a plan. They know working for Zemo won't work out long-term - it never does for the lackey villains - and leaving sends them back to jail for killing Arcade, since they aren't going to get a pass that heroes get anymore. So instead, they decide to try a con. Pretend to accept, wait for an opening, then bring down Zemo's whole operation from the inside. They get everyone on board except Deathlocket, who they can't get away from the teen villain dorks she's hanging with. But then Cammi refuses to sign and leaves, only to be ambushed by Constrictor. God, I hate Constrictor getting strut around like some big wheel. Gonna need to see him get stabbed by somebody before this is all over. Preferably Zemo. Doesn't have to die from it, but I need that moment where he realizes he's still just a chump. That he always has been, always will fodder for the smarter villains.
Issue #6 looks at how Deathlocket's adjusting to life on Zemo's team. Answer is, a little too well. She's having the time of her life, right up to the point they're sent to assault an A.I.M. facility. She adjusts to whomping the crap out of the orange beekeepers very quickly, but then Captain America shows up. And Digger tells her to shoot him. Chase keeps that from happening, and then finally explains to her this isn't supposed to be a con. Then he and Digger start fighting, and Deathlocket. . . shoots Chase. You know, if I didn't regard Chase as a useless moron, I'd be bothered by that. Then again, it's not likely to be pretty when Nico finds out.
So I'm pretty sure Cammi's leaving was part of the plan, because she'd been giving Zemo too much static to suddenly shift gears and sign on. I'm also pretty sure her getting pummeled against a wall by Constrictor wasn't the plan. Which is not a good sign for this working. That and the fact they went ahead with it without letting Deathlocket in on it ahead of time. The kids clearly think they're pretty smart, but I have a feeling the bad guys are a few levels above them. I don't think Zemo's crew is even trying to undermine a scam; they're just doing a very good job finding different hooks to put into each kid so it's easier to keep them divided and malleable.
Kev Walker's art is very good on issue 5 as usual, I really enjoy Beaulieu's colors though. The kids are split up and each section has it's own shading. Nico, Cullen, and Hellstrom are in a lot of yellow, orange, and red, especially this sort of sickly orange, that plays off that deep purple of Nico's powers really well. Makes things feel hot, but nobody's sweating, because it's a different kind of heat maybe. Cammi, Hazmat, and Anachronism are in this really cool blues, way up above everything, trying to survey the scene calmly, find a way out. Lots of deep shadows, too, appropriate for scheming. As for Chase and Deathlocket, they're in what I'd call normal lighting, maybe because it's a more low-key sort of sales pitch. Just hang out, have fun. No offers of power and wealth, no offer to help understand one's power or true nature.
As for Tim Green, if he would make Deathlocket less of a leggy supermodel, things would be fine. It is really jarring going from how Walker draws her, short, not that much of a figure yet, to Green's version, which would look skinny if he was drawing Psylocke. Otherwise, I thought he did pretty well. I'm not clear on where Deathlocket's shot hit Cap to smack him back into the Humvee without actually killing him (unless Hopeless plans to reveal it was a stun shot all along), but besides that, I thought it was good. He can't make Cap's new outfit look good either, but I've yet to see anyone who can. It's a bad costume, Marvel, give it up. Hmm, is that why the Falcon is becoming Captain America for awhile, so Steve can get a new, non-shitty outfit? I don't know whether to credit Green or Caramagna, but I like the "Dink, Dink" sound effect for when the A.I.M. guy in the exo-suit tosses Chase. Perfectly appropriate for Chase.