Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinel Yu
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: The New Avengers talk and talk and talk over pizza and get nothing done. An owl, two hoods, a wiz and a woman in an iron mask enter a room. A sleeping cyborg wakes for a moment, and a wolverine walks into a bar.
Commentary: If some of my Plot synopsis sounds like the beginning of some old jokes, thatís intentional. I donít know whether to take Bendisís run on New Avengers seriously half the time. So my final verdict on his run is still out. I keep returning to this book because of what can only be described as morbid curiousity. Iíve known Bendis to write some good enjoyable comics in the past, but I donít know how long he can continue to dangle plot lines and have heads talk before the fans start turning away in droves. Having said all that, there are some developments this issue but annoyingly it seems once again one plot thread is being dropped to go back to another. Namely, the whole Skrull conspiracy deal begun two issues ago with the revelation that Elektra was a Skrull. To me itís just desserts if the Elektra weíve seen all these years was actually a Skrull imposter. Frank Miller killed her, and she should have stayed dead. If this is the case, Iíll thank Marvel editorial for allowing this. Itís righting a long over due wrong. After all, the fact Elektraís never been able to fly for long in her own series should speak volumes to what a mistake it was to resurrect her in the first place.
The regrettable things about Bendis writing a team book is that his characters donít act much like superheroes on a team but more like members of a college frat house. They donít do much by way of taking the bull by the horns, buckling down and being super heroes. I mean címon! A potential Skrull invasion and infiltration which could possibly stretch back into the Marvel Universe for years and these New Avengers practically dismiss it over pizza? Spidey says, ďWe need some bad guys to punch.Ē Um, you battled ninjas for the past six or so issues, Peter. Donít you think itís time to delve into the Skrull mystery and squash it as soon as possible? This is supposed to be the Earthís premier super hero team. I wouldnít feel safe and secure with this bunch around.
The reveal of the villains introduced this issue takes the stage over the heroesís angst and squabbling. This is a positive aspect of the issue. We get a different cover this issue instead of the Avengers battling ninjas from different points of view and poses that weíve gotten for the past six or so issues. The cover made me go, "oh, maybe weíre getting somewhere now." I was pleased to open the book and flip through it and see different backgrounds, scenarios and characters depicted by Yuís art. Whew! Weíre out of Japan and away from the ninjas. Yuís art is crisper and cleaner and better defined this issue than itís been on his entire run so far. Every issue was starting to look alike. Here there is blessed variety. He gets to draw the old Avengers in a nice flashback scene with Captain America. We get another glimpse of Cap acting like the soldier he is before the rest of his original teammates. We get some nice shots of the villains in a warehouse with different points of view making the Bendis talking head syndrome bearable and enjoyable here. I like Yuís depictions of Madame Masque, The Wizard, The Owl and I donít know who the first bald guy is. Thereís a reveal here of The Hood (a character I donít know but am looking forward to getting to know) who is trying to fill the void left by the Kingpinís imprisonment. Thereís been hints that the mastermind behind The Raft breakout which started Bendisís run would finally be revealed. Was it The Hood? Seems like it will be that way. And this is the plot I guess Bendis is finally trying to resolve after thirty three issues. Mr. Bendis, please donít fall into what happened with The X-Men: endless dangling plot lines which later writers had to tie up, most done to dismal effect.
We have a cameo by a classic second tier character from the 70ís which seems to be Bendisí favorite comics era. That's okay with me. I dug it too and grew up in it. I wonít reveal who it is, but if you like Cyborgs from the future, this is one of the coolest ones in all of comicdom. Hereís hoping itís use in this issue just wasnít a throw away tactic but that weíll see some good developments from here. Even if you donít like this issue's story, the pictures are still pretty to look at. Yu is back in his game. The issue winds up with one of those coincidences that is just too much of a coincidence. Wolverine, out of all the bars in New York, happens to walk into the bar where the Hood is holding conference. The issue ends with an underwhelming cliffhanger; unless The Hoodís pistols happen to be pistols with ďsuper-kickĒ to Ďem and are loaded with adamantium jacketed slugs I donít see how this is much of a threat at all to Wolverine. Iíll hang on for another issue or two since Iím still curious about the Raft deal, and Yuís art is getting better and better as the issues go on. Hereís hoping Bendis can get on track and keep on track.
Final Word: A little saving grace in story and art should keep you coming back for more, but Bendis and Yu have got to give us more consistency and wrap up storylines if weíre going to stay for a long haul.
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