Avengers #19 Review

Boring Tidbit:  A year and a half after the book’s relaunch, after 18 issues and only three story arcs, it’s probably about time we changed things up again and restructure the Avengers roster.  Don’t you think so?  No?  Neither do I.  And yet, here we are.

Avengers #19

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Daniel Acuña
Letters:  VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art:  Daniel Acuña

The Plot:  At the Raft (which I thought had been demolished by Juggernaut but here it is still standing and fully operational), Agent Daisy Johnson a.k.a Quake is questioning Warden John Walker (formerly U.S. Agent) concerning Norman Osborn’s escape (as seen in New Avengers #16.1). Walker is not taking it really well and thinks he was being set up for a fall.

Meanwhile, there is a media circus surrounding Avengers Mansion following the news that Steve Rogers will be changing the Avengers line-up (he cites the deaths of Thor and Bucky as the reason for the change).  Tony Stark suggests that the Avengers need some old friends, so Steve first approaches Black Panther, who declines (he’s “just not there right now”).  At his recommendation, however, Storm is asked to join.

Suddenly, Tony shows up with The Vision, fully repaired after Stark had been tinkering with him for years.  As everyone chats in the courtyard, Steve goes to talk to Quake, who has been going over the files of the guards in charge of Osborn.  She has found out they were all H.A.M.M.E.R. loyalists and fears that they can trust no one.

Finally, the Avengers’ new line-up makes their first official introduction to the media.  Amidst the crowd, Norman Osborn shows up, claiming that he was ousted from his post as head of the Avengers, detained against his will without trail, and he’s here to rectify that situation.

The Good:  There is a lot to like about this issue, starting with the art.  While not always perfect, Daniel Acuña’s style is fantastic.  He puts a great level of detail on every panel, and his splash pages are fantastic.  I also appreciate the way he draws and colors facial expressions.  The issue relies heavily on dialogue, but I felt the character’s faces helped convey more than they were saying.  I liked that (and it should always be like that), and that’s why I think Acuña is a good fit for the tone this arc has been going for.  Some expressions don’t always work well, mind you, but when they do they are superb.

While I still think that the Hawkeye/Spider-Woman relationship is a waste, I chuckled at the conversation the two were having at the Raft.  It was corny but funny.

There were other great moments, such as Cap and Panther in Hell’s Kitchen, Storm’s arrival, or the original Vision showing up again.  That probably would’ve resonated better with me if I had been into comics starring the Vision before Avengers Disassembled, but I know he has a lot of fans, and I’m glad he’s finally back.

Of course, the cliffhanger worked well.  Norman Osborn just showing up in the middle of the crowd is a work of diabolical genius, at least from a political perspective.  He knows how to work the crowd to his advantage, and revealing the shady dealings behind his incarceration is sure to make him a victim in the people’s eye.

The Bad:  When I mentioned that Acuña’s faces sometimes don’t work well, I mean it.  When characters are supposed to look angry or shocked, they instead come off as super creepy.  This is true for John Walker and Jessica Jones.

Also, fake cover is fake.

While the issue had a lot of bright spots, overall it’s still just mediocre.  After reading the Avengers for a whole year, I’m beginning to realize now what Bendis is trying to do:  he’s debating himself.

I bought this issue along with New Avengers Annual #1 (thinking it was the Avengers Annual; apparently I failed to see the “New” on the cover).  In the latter issue, the prologue has Wonder Man going on about how every Marvel event is somehow the Avengers’ fault.  And when you REALLY think about it… they kinda are.  But then you have Bendis in the regular Avengers book dedicate an arc about the value and worth of the Avengers and how they give up so much of themselves for the greater good and how they are human and still make mistakes.  So, really, Bendis is debating himself.  This is exemplified by the “media circus” panels, where several news outlets are covering the Avengers’ new line-up.  Some outlets are incredibly exited, while the not-so-subtle-at-all jab at Fox News rambled on about how they don’t do anything for the American people.

And, honestly, who wants to read something like that?  Avengers has turned into a political satire, and I personally think the Avengers shouldn’t be that.  They are heroes banding together to face the threats they can’t deal with alone.  Why do they have to deal with reporters and scandals?  Come on!

Friendly-Neighborhood Spider-Moment: Oh, remember how Spidey and Logan are supposed to be a part of this team?  When it comes time to make their public appearance, they have this conversation:

SPIDER-MAN:  You going out there?
WOLVERINE:  Hell no.
SPIDER-MAN:  Are we still on that team?
WOLVERINE:  They got their mutant and spider-person.
SPIDER-MAN:  I feel used.

The Avengers:  Iron Man (Tony Stark), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Hawkeye (Clint Barton, who apparently doesn’t bother to put on a mask in public anymore), Storm (Ororo T’Challa), Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), The Vision, The Protector (Noh-Varr), Red Hulk (Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross), Quake (S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Daisy Johnson).

Verdict:  Fantastic art and good moments here and there, but hampered by the tone of the story.  3 Webheads out of 5.

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~My Two Cents

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