Have you ever seen that movie Adventures in Babysitting? Well I had the perfect image in my mind to represent this New Avengers issue using that movie’s poster. Using Photoshop I was going to add the Avengers heads to the bodies on the poster and then call it: “Avengers and Babysitting.” Trust me, it would have been perfect. Anyways, join me as we follow Luke Cage and Jessica Jones as they search for an Avenger nanny. UPDATE: The epic “Avengers and Babysitting” image is now included at the end of the review!
The New Avengers, vol. 2 #7
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Laura Martin
The New Avengers: Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Thing, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Dr. Strange, Mockingbird, Jessica Jones, Victoria Hand.
Plot: In the aftermath of the most recent demonic invasion to beset New York City, Dr. Strange awakens in a bedroom of the ruined Avengers Mansion. He thanks the gathered New Avengers for their assistance in the skirmish and apologizes for any trouble it may have caused before taking his leave. Luke Cage stops a disheartened Dr. Strange from leaving and insists that the good doctor stay with the New Avengers until he is back on his feet. The team succeeds in convincing him when they remind him of the many times ‘the Magic Avenger’ had helped them in their times of need. Dr. Strange relents and stays with the team. Victoria Hand then calls everyone together for a meeting.
Spider-Man, who wonders why Victoria Hand looks so familiar, is appalled when she reminds him that she used to work for his personal nemesis, Norman Osborn. In light of his personal history with Osborn, Spidey bemoans her presence on the Avengers, letting the issue drop only when Luke Cage repeatedly tells him that Captain America vouches for her. Spidey’s opinion of Hand only gets worse when she passes out paychecks – courtesy of a previously unknown Avengers fund in the government budget – to everyone except him. Since Spider-Man’s identity is not public record, the government cannot pay him for his services.
Luke Cage becomes irate and initially refuses the paychecks stating that they ‘are not on anyone’s payroll.’ When his wife, Jessica Jones, confronts him about their family finances in a personal-yet-public argument, Luke gives in. Earlier in the issue, he faced the same dilemma when it came time to pay for repairs to Avengers Mansion. Cage initially opposed Steve Roger’s offer to foot the bill but was forced to accept it when the estimate was around a quarter of a million dollars.
Now the New Avengers face their most challenging task yet: finding hired help. Dr. Strange brings aboard Wong, his long time sidekick. Wong sarcastically confesses his lifelong desire to be a ‘second-rate Jarvis.’ Tasked with the arduous job of interviewing babysitters, Luke and Jessica go through a motley montage of B- to C-list characters from Avengers history. Even Deadpool was included for good measure. After the two heroes decide on former Great Lakes Avenger, Squirrel Girl, Wolverine walks by and sees the new babysitter. After an awkward interaction, hinting at an unknown history between the two, they agree to be professional, and the Avengers have their nanny.
The Heroic: Where to start? Seriously, the good things in this issue are so minuscule that it’s hard to see them. Spider-Man’s two-page rant about working with Victoria Hand was respectful of his connection to the villain and I appreciated it as a Spidey fan. His frustration at not getting paid was a good example of the old Parker luck as well, though I’m not sure if he should be worried about it now that he’s ‘hit the big time!’
Luke and Jessica’s quest for a babysitter, while not a thrilling storyline, was at least kicked off on a humorous note when Wolverine volunteered for the job. The assortment of applicants, showcased by Immonen as a series of headshots with a brief speech balloon, featured various past Avengers and other lesser known characters from Marvel history. I was only able to make out D-Man, Ronin, She-Hulk, Howard the Duck’s exgirlfriend, and of course, Deadpool, so if anyone wants to help identify the rest of them for me, feel free.
The Not-So-Heroic: Confrontation is not an uncommon theme in comics, but this issue was loaded with the more unpleasant and awkward type of confrontation – the type that occurs between teammates when they’re just hanging around a mansion and not fighting bad guys. I understand that not every issue needs a super villain plotting for world domination, and I’m a huge fan of character development, but this comic was an obvious filler issue, and a hastily put together one at that.
With the exception of the close headshots, Immonen’s art appears to be a bit looser. Faces of the Avengers in wide group shots were less defined and a little chubby. Perhaps the large spread on the dining room table is to blame. Bendis seemed eager to add some hidden mystery or relation between his characters and his writing and jokes often fell short. One line that really failed to impress was from Spidey after hearing that Dr. Strange had slept for 15 straight hours – “I’m so jealous I could poop!” I personally prefer my Spidey jokes wittier, not simply sophomoric fart jokes.
Most Valuable Avenger: Wolverine. It pains me to pick him. I was really hoping we’d be much further along in our reviews before I was forced to pick this guy, but really no one did anything special here. Wolverine delivered timely, somewhat humorous lines throughout the story, such as suggesting that they pay Spider-Man in cash. The relationship between Wolverine and Squirrel Girl is intriguing as well. His mutant healing factor must also extend to his digestive system because he did all this while bolting down a lobster, a chicken leg, some ribs, and a sausage.
Least Valuable Avenger: Luke Cage. Besides bringing Dr. Strange into the New Avengers fold, Luke was forced to eat crow on two separate occasions in the book. He argued with Jessica Jones about accepting the paycheck only to be verbally slapped down by his wife in front of their teammates. In addition to Luke’s face-to-palm moment about the repairs to the mansion, the head of the damage control team claims to know Luke from his past. She may also be some sort of lawyer as she told Luke to call her “when and if this domestication doesn’t work out.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Luke Cage was headed for some marital troubles in the future.
Spidey: “Yes! Please! Let me take my mask off in front of Norman Osborn’s best friend.”
Rating: 2/5 Avengers Assembled
“Did I mention I beat up Firelord once? No, seriously. Firelord.” – Ultimate Alliance 2