The night is always darkest before the dawn. Can’t believe I just quoted Batman in my review for a Marvel comic. It must be all that time I’ve spent talking with Nate and Shaun. Horrible influences on me. Or maybe I just need to stop spending all night getting my reviews up so that it isn’t practically morning by the time I’m done. So tired. But anyway, before I get anymore senile from my lack of sleep, I’ll leave you all to enjoy the latest New Avengers review.
The New Avengers, vol. 2 #19
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Color Artist: Rain Beredo
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, Daredevil.
Plot: Daredevil, the newest of the New Avengers, arrives at Avengers Mansion looking for his teammates. Instead, the vigilante is greeted by Squirrel Girl who is eager to express her gratitude for Daredevil’s recent heroic actions during the Serpent’s attack. Daredevil turns down Squirrel Girl’s advances by pointing out that Danielle Cage needs to be changed.
The rest of the New Avengers are on site at Stark Resilient Satellite Laboratories where they are recovering from the Ultimo robot’s self-destructive blast. Iron Man throws his helmet in frustration and claims that Ultimo was after him and his suit. The New Avengers return to the mansion and reflect on recent events. Spider-Man blames Norman Osborn and says it’s his own fault that Osborn is loose. Jessica Jones quietly confides in her husband that Osborn had threatened to kill their baby before the criminal escaped.
In H.A.M.M.E.R. headquarters, Osborn meets with a collection of his Dark Avengers as Gorgon and Madame Hydra look on. Madame Hydra tells a combative Gorgon to put his pride aside and join the Dark Avengers while the two of them wait for their new leader to fail. Later, Osborn is questioned about his plans and how things will be different with his new team. He explains that these new members are better in every regard compared to their predecessors and this time he even has a man on the inside.
Back at Avengers Mansion, while the heroes enjoy another large feast, Victoria Hand and Spider-Man get into a familiar argument about Hand’s allegiances. Steve Rogers’ liaison to the team defends herself when she receives a message about a situation in Miami. Daredevil and Wolverine eye Hand suspiciously. The New Avengers take off in their jet. Jessica Jones stays behind to watch her baby, and Hand is alone in the dining room reporting to an unknown associate. The New Avengers arrive at the coordinates provided by Hand only to discover they were given the wrong information. When they arrive at the correct location they are surprised to see that Norman and his Dark Avengers are already on the scene and saved the day.
These are not dark days, these are great days: Deodato’s art is good once again, but this time it seems not to be as refined as usual. For example, one scene at the dining room table made Luke Cage appear similar to the internet meme troll face. Daredevil’s acrobatic pose in the beginning seems a bit reminiscent of his poses from earlier issues as well. Those are just minor issues I found because Deodato and Beredo remain a great team. It’s a real treat to see this collaboration month after month and I hope it continues.
The great attention to detail that I have come to expect of Deodato’s art includes the battle-torn attire after the large explosion at the end of issue 17. I even found it humorous when Dr. Strange cast his “Spell of self worth and cleanliness” to tidy up his ragged appearance. I liked seeing that Spider-Man had put up a web-shield to protect himself from the explosion as well.
I’m a fan of self-deprecating humor so I didn’t mind it when Spider-Man put all the blame on himself for Osborn being free. I don’t agree with him that it’s his fault, but I think it shows the hero’s overwhelming sense of responsibility. The interactions between Spidey and Victoria Hand are still enjoyable because of how easily she lets him get under her skin, but I hope that we will see a resolution to the Hand plot soon. It’s running the risk of getting stale at this point.
It’s good to see that Daredevil is suspicious of Hand as well, and I like that he seemed to sense something was amiss with her cover story. The story of Hand’s allegiance is still an interesting plot but I feel like there’s so much pointing at her being a double agent that it can’t be true. It would be too obvious. I’m still rooting for her to be working against Osborn despite all the evidence against her partly because I don’t want to see Captain America played for a fool.
The other highlights of this issue involved seeing some of the Dark Avengers interact with one another, specifically Madame Hydra and Gorgon. I like that the two criminals are planning and waiting for Osborn’s inevitable fall and I’m eager to see how pivotal they will be in his demise. It was nice to see that Madame Hydra does not shy away from calling Gorgon out on his wounded pride even when he reaches out to strangle her twice. These are two evil people and their role in Osborn’s latest plot will be interesting to see.
These are dark times there is no denying: I like this story but it seems as though the break from the New Avengers’ angle in the last issue did the arc some harm. Two months have gone by since we saw the New Avengers fight the Ultimo robot and because of that time away I nearly forgot what they were up to. The introduction to the new Dark Avengers, seen in issue 18, may have been better served before the New Avengers’ fight at the Stark lab so there wasn’t that much of a gap in their action.
I enjoyed the comic, but it was just a good filler issue at best. The main problem I am going to have with this story though, is the belief that anybody would accept Norman Osborn and his new team of Avengers. The character had a very public breakdown when he tried to lay siege to Asgard. I know he has a cult of followers right now, but I would think that the majority of people would have enough common sense to know they shouldn’t trust this man anymore.
I don’t want to say that Tony was out of character, because he is a bit of a conceited hero, but he came off as obnoxious at the beginning of this issue. Tony wasted no time letting everyone know the Ultimo robot was after his suit. Sure he’s an industrial genius, but his overly cocky statement about how far we could advance as a technological species if lunatics didn’t get in his way every ten minutes was annoying to me.
I felt a little bit for Squirrel Girl after Daredevil pointed out that the baby needed to be changed in the beginning of the comic. She may have come on a bit too strong for Daredevil, but he seemed a tad harsh with her. Deodato did a good job physically displaying Daredevil’s awkwardness, especially when Daredevil thought to himself that the combination of baby smells and squirrel musk made him want to throw up. Overall though, that scene didn’t really seem very necessary.
Most Valuable Avenger: Jessica Jones. Never thought I’d see this happen, but I really liked Jessica Jones showing some concern over her child’s safety. She seems to be taking some maternal responsibility and finally reacting to Osborn’s threat on her child’s life. I’m hoping that her staying behind at the end of the issue is the start of her rethinking her place on this team since she hasn’t contributed much anyway.
Least Valuable Avenger: The protestors. The mob is not a member of the team obviously, but they did a good job of detracting from the story. I am not sure why people would be protesting the Avengers after they just saved the world from the Serpent and countless other threats, but I guess maybe they don’t feel safe enough, just as Luke Cage said. I have no idea what they hope to accomplish though, other than to make it seem a bit more plausible that Norman Osborn can rise to power again.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Moment: When Victoria Hand returns to Avengers Mansion from being away for a meeting.
Spider-Man: “So how was lunch with Osborn?”
Rating: Good, art. Meh, characterization, story and writing. Bad, action. 3/5 Avengers Assembled