prv3253_cov Blast! The “Dark Reign” logo has left the cover, meaning I’ll never get to use my “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen reign” pun. Way to reign on my parade, Marvel. I had a whole list of puns, but now I’ll have to reign them in. I think I’ll listen to “Reigning Blood” by Slayer to vent my rage.

Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: Stuart Immonen
INKS: Wade Von Grawbadger
COLORS: Dave Mccaig


The power drainer incapacitates and nauseates the powered Avengers, including Ronin (the narration acknowledges the strangeness of this), leaving Mockingbird to fight Chemistro alone. She beats him, but the Wrecking Crew appears and makes short work of her and her crippled teammates. Wrecker taunts Luke Cage, whose loss of power causes heart failure, until the real targets of this “display” arrive: the Dark Avengers.
Sentry charges in, but falls prey to the power drainer and collapses to the street. The others hover out of range while Norman evaluates the situation. Jonas Harrow hacks the Iron Patriot armor and explains that he’s demonstrated the ability to take the power upon which Norman has based his empire and will do so unless Norman makes the same deal with him that he made with the Hood.
Meanwhile, the Hood, Madame Masque, and Loki teleport to Cuba, where Loki uncovers hidden Asgardian magic stones that might restore the power Doctor Voodoo exercised from the Hood.
Back in New York, Norman refuses Harrow’s offer, so Harrow hits him and his team with the power drainer. Now Norman lies prone and armorless before the entire army of ex-Hood followers.
Like many Brian Michael Bendis comics, you can read this one in a few minutes and it only marginally furthers the overall story arc. For some reason, though, it works well this time. We often obsess over the raw minutes of entertainment per dollar the book offers and in how densely writers cram their pages with plot, but I think New Avengers can attribute at least part of its success to how it offers snippets of fun that go down the hatch like silk. It’s a pricey snippet, sure, but these days I value comics that provide full compliments of art and a few central Marvel Universe advancements that I can finish during a ten-minute break. I once dropped New Avengers for the same reason I praise it now, so I don’t know if I’ve changed or if the series has finally recaptured the magic of its early years. It probably helps that Stuart Immonen uses the perfect art style for breezy pop entertainment.
Not all time is quality time, so, instead of calculating the minutes-to-money ratio, I’ll focus on the cool things I got to see. I got to see a severely underused heroine, Mockingbird, kick butt and narrate a scene, justifying her return and reintroducing her personality. I got to see some second-string villains like the Wrecking Crew and Jonas Harrow actually act like dangerous badasses. I got to see Loki advance her power play by manipulating the Hood. I got to see an effective cliff hanger that made me think “how’s he gonna get out of THIS one” about Norman Freaking Osborn. I had fun.
“Yeah, that’s right … run like a bitch.”
4 out of 5. New Avengers is on fire.


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