She’s alive! I hope that’s not spoiling the ending of this story for anybody, but had it ended any other way it would have made the whole story arc even more pointless than it already was. But at least this story arc is over. We don’t need to do anymore time traveling to the days when the likes of Sabretooth and Kraven disgraced the Avengers name and Captain America was a Nazi-created, bulletproof, Super Soldier. All for the sake of giving Mockingbird some sort of powers… hope it was worth it.
The New Avengers, vol. 2 #13
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Howard Chaykin & Mike Deodato
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: In London, 1959, Dominic Fortune was questioned by an unseen interrogator about his involvement with Nick Fury’s team of Avengers. Fortune told the interviewer that no one had spoken to or seen Fury since the super spy had left the team with the Red Skull’s briefcase after the assault on the castle. It appeared that Fury met up with his contact in Bayamo, Cuba. He turned the briefcase over to the General who explained that the Nazi’s were working on a formula that combined the Super-Solider Serum and the Infinity Formula. Fury expressed his uneasiness with how the Nazi’s created their version of Captain America.
In the present time, Wolverine is interrogating the captured H.A.M.M.E.R. agent, with Hawkeye looking on. Dr. Strange tells Luke Cage that he is uncomfortable with the interrogation tactics when Wolverine and Hawkeye threaten the prisoner with their weapons.
The rest of the New Avengers are searching the scene of the raid on the H.A.M.M.E.R. hideout when Jessica Jones phones Cage, her husband. Spider-Man found some evidence of Mutant Growth Hormones as well as some very advanced instructions to create a formula. Ms. Marvel recalls that during her fight with Superia she saw the villainess hide a vial in her pocket, so Superia must still have the formula on her.
The heroes get no answers from the H.A.M.M.E.R. agent about Superia’s location, but Luke Cage receives another phone call from Victoria Hand. Hand tells the Avengers leader that Superia has chartered a boat and is planning on leaving the city with several of her high-ranking scientists. When Cage questions how Hand was able to discover this information, the Avengers liaison admits to having been in contact with Superia and then quickly ends her conversation with Luke.
With no other choice, the New Avengers gather at the docks where Superia is scheduled to depart. Spider-Man accuses Hand of betraying the team again and blames her for Mockingbird’s injury, but the Thing speaks up and claims that it’s all his fault for rushing into the battle when the team wasn’t prepared. The team’s blame-game is interrupted when Hand arrives in a jeep ahead of schedule, but the Avengers are surprised when a jet appears nearby and blows up the roof they were perched on. Superia claims she knew they were going to be waiting.
Ms. Marvel flies after the H.A.M.M.E.R. leader and Luke Cage tosses Iron Fist towards the jet. Iron Fist powers through the aircraft bringing it down and Hawkeye disarms Superia and her agents with three well-place arrows. Superia tries to surrender the briefcase she is carrying to the New Avengers, but Dr. Strange simply casts a transference spell. Ms. Marvel knocks out Superia.
The New Avengers question what is in the briefcase when Nick Fury shows up claiming that the case belongs to him. Fury explains the history of the formula and Hawkeye takes it back to the hospital where Mockingbird lies unconscious. After much disagreement among the team members, Hawkeye makes the decision to give Mockingbird the formula because she deserves another chance. Dr. Strange injects Mockingbird with the serum-filled syringe. Mockingbird’s eyes open.
Superia is being shown her cell in the super villain prison, the Raft. When she is locked up in her room, someone on the other side of the door slips a piece of paper under it with the Green Goblin insignia printed on it. Superia praises “Miss Hand” to herself.
The Heroic: Mike Deodato’s art is the highlight of this comic. Now that the New Avengers take center stage in the story again, Deodato’s great artwork is featured prominently as well. The detail, color and line work in the costumes and characters is really nice. I appreciate how the battle-torn attire remained from the first encounter and wasn’t disregarded as the issues went on.
Another great chance for the creative team to flash their talent is when the Avengers were gathered. During their rooftop stakeout of the dock, the Avengers are cast in shadows with subtle hints of color on the characters’ outfits, skin or hair. A nice Easter egg put in for video game fans came in the end when the guards of the Raft were drawn to look like the Spartans from the Halo game series. And even though the insignia represents a devotion to a pretty bad fellow, I really like the design of the Goblin mask that has been going around in the Spider-Man world.
Some great team interactions made this issue enjoyable as well. After being sabotaged by the invisible jet, Luke Cage borrowed a move from his teammate, Wolverine. The fastball-special scene where Cage tossed Iron Fist at the jet was really cool. I really liked how Deodato had Spider-Man clinging to the large, rocky back of his FF teammate, Thing, when they confronted Superia on the docks.
What makes the Avengers a fun comic is the chance to see these characters associate with one another in the same book on a monthly basis. You get a real feel of how different their viewpoints and morals are. I thought Dr. Strange’s expression of his concerns about Hawkeye and Wolverine’s overly aggressive tactics was nice. The characters’ disagreement on the rooftop was also interesting, allowing fans to see how heroes who want the same goal in life have different approaches to how they handle themselves.
The Not-So-Heroic: During the rooftop confessions, I was moved by how the Thing took the blame for Mockingbird’s dire situation. I liked that there were team members who consoled him and told him not to worry, but I didn’t appreciate how aggressive Wolverine was. Who is Wolverine to blame the Thing for jumping headfirst into a battle without being prepared? He seemed way too ‘holier-than-thou” in that situation and it didn’t seem necessary for him to talk to a teammate and long-time associate in that manner.
I still don’t like the idea of Hand being shady and I’m unsure who exactly was being set up in that situation on the dock. It may be the point, though; that neither team, nor the reader, knows whose side Hand is on. Other poor character moments were Dr. Strange’s use of the word “ain’t,” which is probably more the fault of Bendis’ writing, and Mockingbirds potentially new Super-Soldier-esque powers, which could be the fault of Bendis’ storytelling.
The worst example of character development in the story belonged to Jessica Jones. Jones alluded to the fact that she didn’t know who Spider-Man was when he was analyzing the formula, but she should know that Spider-Man is a scientific genius considering that she knows Peter Parker is underneath the mask. Peter unmasked to his team of New Avengers, including Jessica Jones, back in issue number 51 of the first volume of New Avengers, where Jones admitted to having a crush on Peter when they had the same science class in high school. This scene took place after the events of One More Day, so the psychic blind spot on Spidey’s identity should not be in effect.
Most Valuable Avenger: Spider-Man. I like when the man behind the mask is shown as more of the hero than Spider-Man is and this was one of those occasions. I like how Spidey is going to be the scientific mind on this team and having him analyzing the formula was a good display of Peter Parker’s background as a science-whiz.
Least Valuable Avenger: Jessica Jones. I can’t blame her for not knowing who Spider-Man is, because that’s a fault with the writing. But I can blame her for not really offering much to this team. She just stands around in a t-shirt and jeans, which must be her Power Woman outfit to mirror her husband’s attire, but she doesn’t seem to offer much to this team.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Moment: Spidey had a couple of good moments in this issue, like the aforementioned clinging to his teammate’s side and the showcasing of his brainpower. He also continued his distrust of Hand and, despite no longer having his spider-sense, makes a crack about it.
Spidey: “I’m telling you, this is fishy. Fishy, fishy.”
Luke Cage: “My spider-sense is tingling, too.”
Spidey: “That’s copyrighted.”
Rating: Good, art. Meh, character development, story and writing. Poor, action. 3/5 Avengers Assembled
Overall Story Arc Rating: Meh, art. Poor, action, character development, story and writing. 2/5 Avengers Assembled