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

“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

17 Responses to “The New Avengers, vol. 2 #13 – Review”

  1. #1 Sarcasmic says:

    Nice points made on the art…
    I thought this issue was the redemption for the rest of it and I agree with the 25 overall, but I felt this should of rated a little bit higher. It kept me invested in the series until Bendis starts screwing with Mockingbird/Hawkeye’s relationship here too (I hope Hawk stays away).

  2. #2 butters911 says:

    When I first heard that Kraven was on the avengers I got all excited. I ended up being disappointed. Bendis is such a good writer, IMHO, but these two Avengers titles just arent doing it for me.

  3. #3 Enigma_2099 says:

    She’s loyal… she’s a traitor… she’s loyal… she’s a traitor… she’s loyal… she’s a traitor… she’s loyal… she’s a traitor…

    Bendis, I’m getting a little sick of you. And Spidey used for something besides a joke or a gag? He must be slippin’!

  4. #4 Brian Bradley says:

    @Sarcasmic, Hawkeye isn’t technically part of this team so I don’t think we’ll see a lot of him in this issue anymore, but I could be wrong. Jessica Jones’ little lapse in memory really threw me off in this issue which I think is what bothered me most. It made me put the comic down, dig through my back issues and find out if she should know who Spidey is or not. Anything that takes me away from the comic for that long really hurts the issue. I forgot to mention it in the review, but I actually had a discussion with Nathaniel Collins about that issue too to make sure I wasn’t misreading that part. Thought it was a good issue, especially compared to the rest in the arc, but still lacking in some places.

    @Butters, the whole team of ’59 Avengers seemed pretty worthless and Bendis was just using some big name crazy guys to try to make the team more interesting. Totally didn’t work in my opinion.

    @Enigma, hopefully this Hand subplot doesn’t get carried on for too long cause you’re right, all the flip flopping will get annoying. Bendis must not have gotten the memo that Spidey isn’t supposed to contribute to the story in a beneficial way anymore :)

  5. #5 Sthenurus says:

    My theorie for jessica jones not knowing that Peter is a scientifique genius is that she might know who the guy under the mask is but haven’t been in touch since high school. So if this arc happen before Peter gets his job at Horizon labs, or just if she doesnt know about it, it might make sense. Even if it’s a little far fetch…

  6. #6 Brian Bradley says:

    Figuring out where these New Avengers stories fit within the cannon of the heroes main titles is always going to be a problem I feel. I haven’t seen Spidey use his Spider-Sense, but I don’t think he’s had the opportunity to use it in a while so who knows if this comes before or after he loses it. Who knows where this fits in with Wolverines ties to the X-Men and now with the Thing on the team, who knows where that will fit in with the FF… I believe the next issue will deal with Fear Itself so we at least know where that will take place in the grand scheme of things.

  7. #7 spideytothemax says:

    That Dr. Strange thing has to be a slip up. When I first read it I attributed that word balloon to Nick Fury because, well, it sounds like him. It wasn’t until the review pointed it out that I went back and checked. Dr. Strange would probably say “Clint” or “Hawkeye” before he’d say “Barton”, I think. I’d say the best moment in the book belongs to Strange though, when he does the teleportation spell on the briefcase.

    I took Jessica Jones talking about Spider-Man to be the typical “surprised when the blabbering idiot does something smart” thing that happens from time to time with other heroes and Spidey, and not that she didn’t know who he is. Maybe she doesn’t for some reason though. Ms. Marvel has a weird line in Avengers 13 or 14 that’s sort of in the same vein. I wasn’t really impressed with the Smart-Spidey showing either. To me it’s sort of like saying 2+2=4 is really good, solid math. It is, but it’s also really basic and something everybody knows. Better than barfing in his own mask though, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

    The Mockingbird thing is interesting, but it doesn’t save the arc overall.

  8. #8 Sthenurus says:

    Hey guys, why not trying to create a new section in site call timeline where we could figure out what fits where (tie-ins, mini, event, guest apperences…)

  9. #9 Two-Bit Specialist says:

    @Sthenurus – I wouldn’t be opposed to that idea.

    With regards to Mockingbird, I’m a little disappointed in what happened. Lots of heroes don’t have superpowers per se. I mean, look at Hawkeye. I don’t see why in this story she has to be treated like “the useless one” unless she’s got super strength or something. But that’s really par on course with how ANYONE treats Mockingbird.

    We’ll see how this plays out.

  10. #10 Brian Bradley says:

    @7spideytothemax – About Jessica Jones just possibly making a joke, that’s what Nate Collins and I were discussing. Just seems like a pretty weak attempt at a joke since people should know that despite his blabbering his still a smart guy. Think they’d respect that about him. But who knows. Seems like it was more confusing then it should have been. The Dr. Strange use of the word “ain’t” could be a mistake as well. Those are just a couple things that jumped out at me that made me go “whaaa??” And I agree about the spidey smarts. He didn’t really crack a code or anything, and Im sure Dr. Strange or another smart person could just have easily looked at it and realized the same thing. But they didn’t and they gave it to Spidey so that was nice of Bendis, even though it may have been to set up that Jessica Jones ‘joke’

    @8Sthenurus, the timeline would be really cool but that could be really tricky and tough to keep up with. Maybe someone smarter than I could figure it out.

    @9two-bit – That does seem pretty cheap. Even though I was one of the ones questioning the lack of super powers, it’s not necessary for everyone to be all powered up as long as they’re written well. So it just seems like a cop out to give her these extra powers potentially. I wonder if they will actually serve a purpose in a later story.

  11. #11 spideytothemax says:

    @Brian Bradley – Especially so in the case of Jessica Jones, who Bendis’ himself made a classmate of Peter Parker during high school where he had a reputation as a brainiac (assuming she still knows who he is). The next time Spidey does something smart around Jessica Jones I’m sure she’ll be surprised again, though.

  12. #12 Two-Bit Specialist says:

    I used to give Bendis the benefit of the doubt, but now I have no doubt that he really doesn’t care about continuity, whether someone else’s or even his own, especially if it doesn’t fit with the story structure he wants to tell.

  13. #13 Enigma_2099 says:

    I read New Avengers in a bubble…

  14. #14 herbiepopnecker says:

    Squirrel Girl?!
    marvel has a character named Squirrel Girl?!

  15. #15 Doc Folsome says:

    I no longer read NA, but I will restart with Norman in 16.1. In an attempt to catch up, I read over all your recent reviews with this H.A.M.M.E.R. arc, and they’ve all been very well done…nice work. I’m not sure how I feel about Superia taking over H.A.M.M.E.R. seeing as how she had no relation to Norman while he was in charge nor was she even featured in any Dark Reign story. But, honestly, it may make more sense for an outsider to take over the regime for no other reason than they wouldn’t have been taken down alongside Norman.

    But now this ‘formula’ subplot has me intrigued…especially since the image from one of your earlier reviews had Superia emitting ‘green’ energy blasts…could this formula be related to the Green Goblin formula? It seems to have rejuvenated Mockingbird, which would make sense since we know it has a ‘healing factor’ built into it. Also, it seems now that Victoria Hand and Superia are both about to become involved (to some capacity) with the Green Goblin. I’ll have to read-up on the Superia lady, I don’t know much about her power-set at all…

    I certainly won’t go back and buy these issues b/c i can no longer stomach the Bendis-Spider-Man, but I’d love to see this ‘formula’ tied into Stromm’s original masterpiece…

  16. #16 Brian Bradley says:

    Thanks, glad they helped you play catch up a little bit. I actually just did a quick wiki search of Superia myself cause I wasn’t sure if she was a new character or not myself. There is a former Captain America villainess named Superia who was killed by Red Skull and it’s not confirmed if they’re the same character. Either way, it doesn’t seem like there’s much on those characters. The green energy blasts are intriguing and I’m looking forward to learning more about her and her connection to Osborn. Good point about how she assumed control of HAMMER though since there was no apparent connection, I just figured it was a hostile takeover on her part. The serum I think was more of a focus on the Infinity Formula and Super Soldier serum but thatd be an interesting twist if the Goblin formula was somehow an offshoot of that as well. Wasn’t the Oz serum in the Ultimate universe supposed to be an attempt to duplicate the Super Soldier serum as well?

  17. #17 Doc Folsome says:

    Sorry, CS was down, I wouldve responded faster…glad its back up again…

    The reason why I’m a little irked by Superia’s (whether its the old Cap villain or not) control over HAMMER is due to the fact that the HAMMER forces were sort of specialized niche group. IOW, they were loyal b/c they believed in Osborn’s agenda (and methods!) and were inspired by his actions. He was not your typical hero by a long shot. To me, it seems like if Osborn is no longer in control, they’d be a lot less likely to follow a person who was not directly endorsed by Osborn himself…publicly or privately. Since we’ve never heard of her in connection to Osborn, I’d be very curious to know how she swayed the group to follow her…iow, does she want to rid the world of the mutants/monsters/aliens/etc too? Was she connected to the Goblin Cult before Hand slipped the Goblin pic into her cell? Or is she the big-time feminist described in the wiki article. B/c if thats the case, I couldn’t imagine a person less likely to be endorsed by Osborn than a feminist…he’s an uber-misogynist…

    I’m big time 616 Osborn fan, I’m not super familiar with the Ultimate version of the character, but the connection btn OZ and the Super Soldier serum seems about right. Certainly thats not the case in the 616, although, ironically, Stromm’s formula and the Super Soldier Formula are remarkably similar…