Avengers Assemb—, I’m sorry, I just don’t have the drive to finish that rallying cry these days. The Avengers should be on the top of the world right now. They’re starring in this summer’s most anticipated movie, have a popular cartoon show, but I can’t support their fight with Cyclops and the X-Men in the pages of the comics. In case you couldn’t tell from the AvX reviews so far, I’m firmly in the X-Camp. But this little quarrel between the two teams isn’t enough to keep me from playing the greatest Facebook game ever created: Avengers Alliance! I’ve been consumed by that game so Shaun and I recently explored this obsession during the latest MMA Podcast (episode available soon). Like our page on Facebook and friend us so we can Gift All the S.H.I.E.L.D. Points!
The New Avengers, vol. 2 #24
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato & Will Conrad
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: The New Avengers are being briefed by Victoria Hand while gathered around their dining room table. Spider-Man and Wolverine exchange barbs about the logistics of the feral mutant running a school, and Wolverine takes a jab at Spider-Man’s attire. Ms. Marvel, Jessica Jones, Dr. Strange discuss the whereabouts of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Iron Fist leaves to speak with the protestors, but finds Cage outside, already speaking in front of the cameras.
Luke Cage looks into the closest camera and pleads for his wife to come back home. When asked about Norman Osborn, Cage dismisses the reporter and tells the gathered public, and viewers on the other side of the cameras, that Osborn played them. The Avengers aren’t going to hurt anyone, and Cage tells everyone to take care of their own homes. Jessica Jones arrives with their daughter Danielle, and her nanny, Squirrel Girl. Relieved, Luke takes his family back inside the mansion, and the remaining protestors are left speechless outside the gates.
Jessica begins their conversation by apologizing to her husband for leaving with the baby. Jessica tells Luke that Avengers Mansion is not a safe place to raise a child. Luke is offended and taken aback when Jessica claims that being an Avenger is all he cares about. The private conversation is broken up when Iron Fist arrives to report that Captain America is gathering all the Avengers downstairs.
Several members of the various Avengers teams are gathered around the very same dining room table. Captain America asks for the heroes’ discretion before asking if anybody knows about the Phoenix Force. Storm utters “Goddess” and immediately leaves. Captain America accepts her decision and allows her to go. Iron Man and Captain America go on to explain the cosmic force to the remaining Avengers using intelligence they’ve acquired from the New Avengers’ own mutant, Wolverine.
The Thing expresses some reservation regarding Captain America’s plan to transport Hope, the mutant messiah, off planet, and Ms. Marvel warns the captain that Cyclops won’t willingly hand the girl over. Captain America acknowledges the danger and potential conflict between friends and teammates, but he asks for any Avengers willing to help save the world. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones exchange looks. Jessica holds baby Danielle up for Luke to kiss goodbye before leaving.
In the skies above the mutant island home of Utopia, the Avengers are gathered aboard the Helicarrier. Spider-Man and Mockingbird talk about the events of Spider-Island, and Black Widow, Iron Man, and Thor observe the interaction between Captain America and Cyclops. Wolverine expresses doubt that the two will come to an agreement before Cyclops unleashes an optic blast at Captain America, proving Wolverine right. Red Hulk shouts out orders when Captain America calls for the Avengers. The team jumps out of the Helicarrier led by Luke Cage, who drops down on the leader of the X-Men.
The Heroic: I’m not sure if Deodato and Conrad sharing art duties is a permanent thing now, but it’s certainly not a detriment. I like Deodato’s (or Conrad’s?) version of Cyclops and Captain America when their interaction was broadcast as a hologram near the beginning. They had the same exaggerated muscularity Deodato employs, but after seeing Frank Cho’s rail-thin Cyclops in AvX #0, this more buff version was appreciated.
The picture of the Avengers jumping from the Helicarrier was another example of one of Deodato’s strengths, his ability to draw a dynamic team scene. This would have been even cooler in my opinion, if it wasn’t a precursor to them fighting the X-Men. It was also nice to see Spider-Man sporting his traditional red and blue costume again in the pages of New Avengers, after recently favoring the black and white FF threads. Likewise, it was interesting to see Dr. Strange in the new outfit he’s been wearing in the pages of the Defenders.
This may be the best writing by Bendis since I began reviewing the New Avengers. He still has his hiccups with the number of characters he fits into a scene, but he makes up for it this time by offering some enjoyable light-hearted humor. Bendis also helps place this story along the Marvel timeline by having Spider-Man and Mockingbird humorously discuss the events which unfolded recently on Spider-Island.
Bendis must love writing the main Avengers titles during the summer events because he uses it as an excuse to include every Avenger in any Avenger book. The New Avengers, more specifically Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, are still the main focus of the issue, but the rest of the Avengers don’t seem confined to their respective titles. This helps this issue by showing Storm, a longtime X-Men and recently-admitted Avenger, make her decision on which side of the fray she will side.
I liked that Captain America acknowledged that Storm knew where she belonged, but Wolverine remained sitting at the table, continuing to deny his true allegiances. It was also nice that not all of the Avengers, for example Ms. Marvel and the Thing, were immediately on board with Captain America’s plan to extract Hope from the planet.
Most Valuable Avenger: Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. The New Avengers is the story about the life of these two characters, and how they handle being super-powered parents. Bendis gives both of these characters powerful dialogue-driven scenes. Luke puts the protestors and reporters in their place by stating it’s up to the public to take care of their own affairs, and the Avengers are just here to preserve the peace, not to mention the heartfelt plea for his wife to come back home.
Jessica also handles her conversation with Luke maturely. She refrains from using any profanity when discussing the future of their baby and family. Jessica even manages to throw in a jab at the “homicidal mutant with the indestructible, retractable claws” who frequents their home, citing him as an example of the danger that comes with being an Avenger.
The Not-So-Heroic: There’s not much I don’t like about this issue. It’s a good filler issue that effectively continues the story of Luke Cage, but also gives you some insight into the Avengers versus X-Men event. I like seeing the evolution of Luke and his family, but I’d like to see more action involving the big event this comic is tying into. I’ll be severely disappointed if the next issue begins with Cage’s punch, on the last page of this issue, actually connecting with Cyclops. Everybody else in the Marvel Universe has been able to toss Cage the length of a football field recently. It would be upsetting to see Cyclops be the exception to that rule.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I would like to know who is responsible for always having the New Avengers gathered around the dining room table, either eating, drinking, or playing poker. I was a little confused by the speech bubble placement during the early scenes when the team was around the table. It effectively showed the different number of conversations the team members could have, but I had a hard time following Iron Fist and Dr. Strange’s conversation about the protestors, mingled with the speech bubbles about the absent Cage family.
Least Valuable Avenger: Wolverine. Technically, this might make Wolverine the MVA, but he’s still turning his back on his own people. He seems angrier then he normally does and eager to send the Avengers after the X-Men. If Wolverine was so concerned about Hope, why didn’t he bring this to Captain America’s attention sooner, or try to take Hope with him when he left Utopia? I guess he just wanted to wait for his Avenger buddies to back him up.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Moment: Spider-Man and Wolverine at the Avengers dining room table.
Spider-Man: Did I hear right, does Wolverine run a school now?
Spider-Man: You run a school… with children.
Spider-Man: What rational person on this or any other planet would let children anywhere near you?
The two stare at each other.
Wolverine: I liked your other costume better.
Spider-Man: That actually hurt.