The penultimate issue of a comic book miniseries is tricky: you want to give readers enough to keep them hooked for that final issue while saving the best for last. That’s a lesson that Chip Zdarsky and Daniel Acuña have taken to heart with Avengers: Twilight #5. There’s plenty of action to keep the readers glued to the page, with a last page surprise that promises a blowout finale.

The Red Skull has made his final move to seize control of America, transferring what’s left of his human body to a mechanical one created by the genocidal artificial intelligence Ultron. Standing in his way are Captain America and the Avengers…but they must also contend with the Skull’s forces. In the case of Iron Man, he has to fight his own son James, who resents him and has been under the thrall of the Skull for years.

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It’s a testament to Zdarsky’s talents that he’s written a very plausible – and very chilling – way for the Skull to seize power. It’s easy to sink your hooks into a world when you control the media and can shape how information is filtered to the public. Public opinion isn’t something you can just beat with an indestructible shield or a magic hammer; that’s the obstacle Cap and the other Avengers have been fighting against. It’s even harder for Iron Man, who has to deal with the fact that his own son hates him; that emotional gut punch hits harder than any of the actual punches thrown in Avengers: Twilight #5.

Not that this issue is lacking in punches. Acuña splits the bulk of the action between the Starks’ rather violent family reunion and Cap’s rematch with the Red Skull. Both conflicts are full of emotional weight, and feature some great action beats such as James punching Tony through the Washington Monument or Cap rebounding his shield off of the Skull’s various soldiers. Even small moments such as Thor standing in front of the White House are pretty epic; that panel crackles with lightning, cutting an image that’s worthy of a god. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Acuña’s stellar redesigns, from the new Hawkeye donning a purple and black suit that’s a modern version of her predecessor’s outfit to James’ sleek silver Iron Man armor.

Avengers: Twilight #5 delivers emotional moments and blockbuster action often in the same moment, as the Avengers face off against the Red Skull. Judging from that final page, Zdarsky and Acuña have truly saved the best for last, which is fitting for a book about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

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“}]] Delivers emotional moments and blockbuster action often in the same moment, as the Avengers face off against the Red Skull.  Read More