C’mon everybody, let’s make a night to remember. I’m coming at you with a brand spankin’ new, New Avengers review, along with a bundle of Bryan Adams references. Why? Because in this issue we go back to the Summer of
’69… ’59. So if you’re a Nick Fury fan, or a a fan of one of Canada’s most beloved song masters, you’ll be in Heaven. Just kick back, relax, and read this review. And remember, (everything I do) I do it for you.
The New Avengers, vol. 2 #10
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Mike Deodato & Howard Chaykin
Color Art: Rain Beredo & Edgar Delgado
Letters & Production: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo
The New Avengers: Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Thing, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Dr. Strange, Mockingbird, Jessica Jones, Victoria Hand, Squirrel Girl.
Plot: Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan were visiting Madripoor in 1959, looking to recruit the first member of Nick’s Avengers team which had been authorized by the president.. The two were enlisting war veterans who possessed that little “extra something.” The first recruit was Victor Creed, a feral-mutant who would later become Wolverine’s favorite nemesis, Sabretooth. Creed became aggressive with Fury so Dugan shot him in the head before he realized that the mutant possessed a healing factor. Nick enticed Creed to join his black ops initiative by offering him incentives such as full clearances to which would enable him to achieve great goals.
Fury, Dugan and Creed traveled to Paris where they recruited the gun-toting, adventurer Dominic Fortune. Fortune was happy to join the team. he had recently escaped an assassination attempt by a seductive Nazi femme fatale.
In Emerald Coast, Florida, the group was greeted by the Atlantean, Namora, and her boyfriend, Sergei Kravinoff. An unspecified personal history between Kraven and Victor Creed resulted in Creed being shot once more by the big-game hunter. Nick Fury broke up the disagreement and the two commandos warily put aside their grudges.
This 1959 incarnation of the Avengers was rounded out by the legendary monster hunter, Ulysses Bloodstone, and the infamous mercenary Ernst Sablinova, the Silver Sable. Nick explained to the team that they were gathered to take part in a mission they were all born for. The Red Skull, it has been revealed, is still alive after the war. He has been developing a secret weapon to fuel a Nazi power play. It was up to these new Avengers to stop him.
The modern day New Avengers are in the middle of a raid on the H.A.M.M.E.R. base of operations which they had staked out. Ms. Marvel goes head-to-head with Superia, the leader of this subversive cell. The two women battle as the rest of the New Avengers clash with the H.A.M.M.E.R. agents around the hideout. Superia lashes out with a green blast of energy at both Ms. Marvel and Wolverine, who attempted to sneak up on the villainess.
Spider-Man acrobatically takes down two bad guys as they attempt to shoot him and a wounded Mockingbird. Dr. Strange arrives alongside Spidey and begins to perform a healing spell on Mockingbird and Spider-Man calls an ambulance using a cell phone he lifts from a nameless H.A.M.M.E.R. grunt. Strange tells Spidey that it doesn’t look like Mockingbird will make it.
Iron Fist, who hijacked the H.A.M.M.E.R. semi-trucks with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, notices ambulances racing towards the action. When the emergency vehicles arrive on the scene, Superia escapes to high-ground and unleashes a devastating energy attack, sending Avengers, medics and H.A.M.M.E.R. agents flying into the air.
The Heroic: This issue takes a couple risks with the story, and it will only be a matter of time before we know if these gambles are worth it. I think the story line has potential and I have read online that it will explain more about the Infinity Formula, a serum which greatly reduces the rate at which Nick Fury ages. That could be an interesting background story to tell and could be even more interesting if it is revealed that Sabretooth or Kraven has something to do with the serum’s history. This could most likely be the secret project Nick says the Red Skull is developing.
The New Avengers portion of this comic is not as prominent as the Nick Fury story, but it’s the better part of the issue. The New Avemgers action scenes and artwork continue to carry the book between the less stellar Nick Fury panels. I like the team that Bendis has been put together. They continue to work well together and each has their own strengths. Every good raiding group needs a solid tank, like the Thing, as well as a healer, shown here to be Dr. Strange. It’s nice to see the two newest members playing valuable roles on the team already.
The Not-So-Heroic: The 1959 Avengers team is not as nicely put together. Most members of that team are basically gun-toting psychos and Sabretooth is just a tooth-and-claw bearing psycho. None of these characters should be on a team of Avengers, no matter how covert and dangerous the mission is. Sabretooth and Kraven are the biggest names in this group, and I have to wonder if it’s just a cheap attempt to parallel Spider-Man’s and Wolverine’s membership in the current team.
It seems possible that this story will build to greater things and greater connections between these two teams. Dominic Fortune, who last appeared in the Hawkeye & Mockingbird series, could have a story involving Mockingbird’s current status on today’s team. The preview for next issue is called “Race Against Time!” so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two teams crossing paths in the time stream at some point. Perhaps the secret to the Infinity Formula will be what inevitably saves Mockingbird’s life. Right now, since the two plot lines aren’t interwoven, the story isn’t anything to get excited about. Once they do tie together, it could pick up.
The 1959 Avengers panels pale in comparison to the New Avengers art. The washed-out look to the background makes the characters in the panels stand out more. That’s not a good thing when all your male characters have a large, Buzz Lightyear-sized chin. The New Avengers art looks sharper, more colorful and more defined than the 1959 Avengers, so hopefully we’ll see more of that.
What is Bendis doing with some of these characters? Kraven and Namora now have a history as former lovers, and Sabretooth was an Avenger? That doesn’t work in my book. Why does he seem to want to make really obscure characters, like Dominic Fortune or Ulyssess Bloodstone, relevant? I’m waiting for the payoff but Bendis’ wordy rants by the Thing, Superia’s crazy rambling, or the cheesy dialogue between the ’59 Avengers, aren’t helping sell the story.
Most Valuable Avenger: Ms. Marvel seemed to be the only one taking on a challenge in this issue. Superia was the only real threat in the hideout with her energy attacks. Ms. Marvel tangled with her pretty much all on her own, despite getting tossed around a bit. It helps showcase her as a team powerhouse, as well as a second-in-command to Luke Cage.
Least Valuable Avenger: Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones. What was the point to having them steal the trucks? Was it really necessary to move the vehicles seven blocks away? Couldn’t one of the super powered heroes have watched the three trucks outside the building, while the other two helped inside and perhaps prevented one of the teammates from getting shot? Yes, but good job carrying the van seven blocks anyway Luke.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Moment: Spider-Man, like the good teammate he is, is watching over Mockingbird’s unconscious body as H.A.M.M.E.R. agents flee the scene. A few stop and try to take a cheap shot at the heroes. In a nice display of Spidey’s true acrobatic fighting abilities, he knocks the gun out of one agent’s hands with a webline, and then follows it up with a handstand-splits kick to two of the tough guys. He then quips…
Spidey: “Hey, any of you happen to be doctors?”
Rating: Meh, art. Poor, action, character development, story and writing. 2/5 Avengers Assembled
“Remember that one time during the fight when it looked like you might actually win? No? Me neither.” – Marvel vs. Capcom 3
“Did I mention I beat up Firelord once? No, seriously. Firelord.” – Ultimate Alliance 2