Geoff Johns is known for being one of the driving forces at DC comics for the last ten years. It is hard to imagine him working at Marvel, but he did during the earlier part of the last decade. He did some decent stuff on the Avengers book, like the Red Zone storyline.
This story pits the Avengers against one of the biggest fears of the early 2000s: biological warfare. A weapons depot under Mount Rushmore has been compromised, leaking the uber-deadly Red Zone. The team splinters off, dealing with various parts of the outbreak.
Eventually it is revealed that the whole outbreak was a plot between a rogue member of the Department of Defense and the Red Skull as an attempt to blame Wakanda for the attack, thus setting up a United States/Wakanda war. While the team is trying to prevent this international incident they also have to find the Red Skull, because the only cure to Red Zone is based on his blood. How crazy is that?
Along the way, Iron Man and Black Panther have to put aside their suspicious of each other’s motives in order to stop the outbreak. This leads up to a touching scene at the end where they acknowledge their respect of each other.
On the whole, Red Zone is a fun story. It’s very bombastic and cinematic, reminding me a lot of the Dustin Hoffman movie Outbreak, except the Avengers don’t have to deal with any toxic monkeys.
Art on this book was from Olivier Coipel, right before he blew up with House of M. The covers during this story arch were done by JG Jones, with the six of them blending together to tell a larger story. I didn’t know that until Jones explained that to me at a comic book show!