newavn053_dc11-1On August 19th, 2009, Marvel will release an original graphic novel titled “NEW AVENGERS VOL. 11: SEARCH FOR THE SORCERER SUPREME.” In an unprecedented promotional move, the company is releasing short sections of the upcoming project over the course of four months, almost as if they were single issues of a monthly comic book series. These installments cost about a dollar more than your typical comic book, but such is a small expense for a preview of the complete work, months ahead of its release.

Read the review of this month’s sample and comment!

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: Billy Tan
INKS: Matt Banning
COLORS: Justin Ponsor
LETTERING: Albert Deschense & Jimmy Betancourt







Brian Michael Bendis’ habit of stretching simple concepts into paperback-sized extravaganzas meant expanding this arc’s expository stage into two issues of boring, dinner-table chats, but at least he draws the good bits out too–Bendis hasn’t written a New Avengers this action-packed in years. Although the villain involved, Madame Masque, poses little difficulty to the team, her skills, arsenal, and willingness to play dirty gives them a valid run for their money.

One must aknowledge Billy Tan for demonstrating his tightest, cleanest work on this title yet, while mixing in unique visuals like a smoke-obscured Kung-Fu duel depicted in silhouette. The other attraction, the magical characters versus the Hood, looks climactic too. Tan may not render the Hood as strikingly as Chris Bachalo, but at least he can coherently convey action.

Bendis, meanwhile, tries to convey personality through the action, mostly succeeding at individuating his cast. However, some characterization seems superficial and obvious: Bucky likes guns, Spider-Man won’t shut up, and so on. Bendis’ cocky-yet-battle-seasoned Hellstorm, on the other hand, really shines, as do his perennial pets, Luke Cage and Spiderwoman. The former plays off of The Annoying Spider-Man with a series of priceless expressions until he breaks, while the latter finally comes into her own after a period of post-Skrull Queen uncertainty.

Though well-executed, the proceedings suffer from an unshakable sense of pointlessness, like the ordeal was mere time killer leading up to the reveal. All the punching and shooting seems to have had no bearing on the Sorcerer Supreme’s selection, so I’m left wondering if it was really necessary.

“I’m giving you to the count of three.”
“No, I’m giving YOU to the count of three.”
“How about we all count to a hundred?”

3.5 webheads out of 5. Finally, the Avengers do some avenging. Let’s hope it ends up mattering.


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