Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinil Yu
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This issue of New Avengers perfectly exemplifies why I have a love/hate relationship with Bendis’ original Avengers title. While it is a pivotal read in current Marvel continuity, Bendis’ decompressed style of storytelling and often stilted or ridiculous dialogue is an infuriating thing to deal with month in and month out.
I can’t knock Leinil Yu’s artwork. At first I found it hard to get used to his style, and even though it’s difficult to discern what the action is depicting in some panels with just a cursory glance, I think his style is a good fit for this comic. Unfortunately, a lot of the time he is stuck with nothing more interesting to draw than Bendis’ talking heads.
Last issue's whopping cliffhanger stunningly revealed that Elektra was in fact a Skrull posing as the leader of the Hand, possibly implying an invasion of Earth by the Skrulls. This issue though doesn’t directly follow up this development. Instead we are “treated” to another session of the New Avengers bickering like morons and Spidey providing comic relief, only in Bendis’ hands Spidey comes off more like the Flash in the Justice League Unlimited cartoons with Logan taking the place of a stern and business-like Batman.
The whole first part of the comic feels like a retread from the old Twilight Zone episode where an alien has landed in a small town and passengers who stepped off a tour bus try to figure out who the alien among them is in a diner. “She's just like a science fiction, that's what she is! A regular Ray Bradbury! Six humans and one monster from outer space.”
I must admit I did enjoy Wolverine’s line about “being everywhere at once” and all of a sudden knowing who he is, poking some fun at the character’s ubiquitous status in the Marvel universe and at the fact his origins were only recently revealed.
Then there’s a whole sequence in which Bendis gets on a soap box about Area 51 and how the government spent millions of tax dollars mocking the people who went public about it. Are these the writer’s personal beliefs being uttered by the characters? Even if they aren’t, they seem superfluous and oddly out of place here.
All of a sudden there’s turbulence. Or maybe it’s a mystical energy field. Who the heck knows? Oh wait, I remember the opening page blurb mentions that in New York City, Iron Man and the Mighty Avengers are fighting a newly-powered Ultron who has taken control of the world’s weather patterns. To think all along I thought it was a plug for Bendis’ other Avengers book and would have no bearing on this issue.
It’s actually another contrived plot device to throw the New Avengers into immediate danger, except even this life threatening situation feels forced and unlikely. They have Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme on board and he’s not enough to prevent the plane from crashing? Well, somehow his cloak doesn’t work properly under those conditions. This should not prevent Strange from manipulating the ambient mystical energies of the universe to conjure up a protective field around the plane. In other words, Spidey’s webbing to soften the impact is unnecessary. I understood that Strange’s cloak amplified his powers, and they aren’t a direct source of such powers, but maybe I am mistaken. I’m no Doctor Starnge authority. Maybe, the good doctor is a Skrull. At any rate, this crash seemed to me an ill-conceived way to interject some action into an otherwise lackluster issue.
Worst of all, the Skrull invasion conspiracy plot is not advanced all that much, save for the last page of the issue. The fact that next issue is entitled “Invasion” at least provides some hope that this storyline will be explored in greater detail in the next few issues of the New Avengers.
If you ask me though, I think Brian Michael Bendis is a Skrull.
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