Since Eli has already covered last week's Mighty Avengers
, I thought I'd take a stab at the newest issue of Brian Bendis' New Avengers
or "(Secret) Avengers" as I like to refer to them.
Let me start off by saying that Brian Bendis is the writer that made the Avengers make sense to me. As a primarily DC oriented super hero fan, and havin been burned by the quality of books Marvel had been putting out by the mid-to-late 90s, I really didn't care to give most of Bendis' work a try. However, books like Ultimate Spiderman
were among some of the few Marvel books I would pull regularly. Anyway, it was when I read Bendis' opus (IMO) Alias
that I began to change my mind about the current state of the Marvel Universe. Bendis brought decades worth of forgotten history to the foreground with this book, and made it all fresh and exciting (even if I was reading it several years after the fact). That being said, I still thought the first few issues of his New Avengers
book were a bit hit or miss for me.
Enter Civil War
. I think of all the writers working on big titles at Marvel, Bendis was the one who took their flagship title to the next level, and thus handled the whole event in the best manner possible.
Most of my criticism of Bendis' New Avengers
seemed to be centered around the usual troubles that many writers have dealing with a larger cast. Unlike books like Alias
, or even The Pulse
, which all handled the large cast of the entire Marvel Universe quite well, Bendis didn't have a titular or protagonist character to constantly fall back on. With New Avengers
, Bendis was given the tough task of having to make b-list characters like Luke Cage and Spiderwoman seem as important and irreplaceable as Iron Man or Captain America. It wasn't until the Civil
tie-in arc that Bendis was able to give each character at least an issue of face time, thus letting us get to know the characters on a more intimate and relateable level.
Anyway, I liked this issue of New Avengers
, which focused on the Avengers who chose to not register with the American government. Unlike, Mighty Avengers
, the line-up for this team seems so much more organic than the tactically chosen line-up for Iron Man's government sanctioned Avengers. This generally yields better chemistry than on either Mighty Avengers
or even the previous line-up featured on the pre-Civil War New Avengers
Unlike before, this line-up features all heavy hitters, but no "icons" (I've already discussed how I feel that "iconic" super heroes seem antithetical to me in the context of the Marvel Universe) like Cap or Iron Man, who always gave the generally buoyant nature of the teams chemistry an added weight. In the post-Civil War
Marvel Universe, the weight is already out there. It is nice to see a group of super heroes acting less like a military unit, and more like a band of brothers.
I was originally a bit wary of the book originally, given that I have absolutely loved Lenil Yu's artwork in the past (especially his collaborations with Gerry Alanguilan), but was still on the fence about the new non-inked method utilized in this book. While the intense clarity of Yu's previous work seems gone, it is replaced by a certain ethereal quality that works well with the lighter dynamic of this team.
And that seems to be the big thing. This book, and even Mighty Avengers
to a certain extent, seem far more fun than prior to Civil War
. It's as if the dire grimness that has characterized so much of Bendis' major Marvel works (Avengers: Disassembled
, House of M
) has finally given to the latent humor constantly peaking behind the corner. The Mammet-esque "Wait...What?" moments have now formally been replaced by actual punchlines, and referential continuity jokes have been replaced by visual gags (which Yu helps pull off quite well).
With Captain America "dying" in his own book, and Ellis' constant need to exploit the criminal nature of his characters in Thunderbolts
, it seems that Brian Bendis' new Avengers titles, as well as Matt Fraction's Punisher War Journal
title seem to be picking up the slack of the now finished Nextwave
book, by shining some light on the supposedly dark Marvel Universe post-Civil War
. New Avengers
is everything that I expect from an in-continuity super hero book - fun, fun, fun.
* * * * * * * * *
NOTE: I haven't finished reading all the books that came out this previous week, but there are few worth talking about. Unfortunately, this week seems to be the best week during BAM's month long Shohei Immamur retrospective
. So that being said, I probably won't be touching reviews until this Saturday, while my girlfriend is off doing a Manhattan-wide "pub crawl" in celebration of St. Patrick.
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