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New Avengers #12

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2005
By: Kelvin Green



"Ronin" (Part 2)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: David Finch (p), Danny Miki (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Bendis is all surface. He's a superficial writer. He almost had me won over here, with some fun sequences during the Avengers/ninja fight (which is exactly the non-event I thought it would be, so what's the point in using it as a cliffhanger?), particularly Luke Cage falling off the building and having to wait in the lift until he gets back to the battle. But there's nothing else going on. Again, we've got only a couple of scenes; one's the fight, and the other main scene, unbelievably, is a recap of half of last issue. There's also some stuff about Spider-Woman being a double agent and S.H.I.E.L.D. being corrupt, but we already knew that, so we only get about ten pages of new content here, and it's a fight.

What's worse is the sheer waste of space here. We've already spent two issues on half an issue's worth of story due to Bendis' vacant content-free scripting, and chucking in four double-page spreads just exacerbates that. Not to mention that Bendis' pathological overuse of such spreads robs them of visual impact; you're supposed to use them for effect, not to fill up space because you've run out of ideas. That said, no amount of splash paging is going to make the Silver Samurai come across as a convincing threat. They're the Avengers, for Pete's sake.

(I predict that this “cliffhanger” will go the same way as last issue’s one with the ninjas. I mean, can no one write cliffhangers any more? The point is to provide an exciting, uncertain situation that the heroes will have trouble getting out of, and with luck, that uncertainty will bring the reader back for the next issue to see if and how the situation will be resolved. The way it's done nowadays, apparently, is to present the cliffhanger in one issue then in the next issue reveal it not to have been a cliff at all. That's called cheating. Bah.)

Oh, and it should come as no surprise that the "mystery" of Daredev... I mean Ronin's identity is not resolved in this issue. Obviously, Bendis just didn't have room for it with everything else that's going on.

As for the art, well... it's Finch. It's all stiff poses, non-existent body language and identical faces (“Hi! I’m Luke Cage. I look just like Captain America, except I’m brown!”). Business as usual then. But Wizard and Marvel say he's a "hot" artist, so what do I know? Apart from the names of fifty artists who could do a better job than this, of course.

This is an awful comic. Utterly, iredeemably, brain-numbingly, testicle-shrinkingly awful. Marvel are supposedly a professional comics company and shit like this really should be beneath them. But perhaps I’m just a raving optimist.



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