Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Avengers: The Reunion #3 Advance Review

Written by Jim McCann
Art by David Lopez

After Mockingbird tells Hawkeye she actually filed papers to divorce him just before the Skrulls replaced her last issue, McCann and Lopez dial it back a notch and downplay the fallout of the revelation a bit.

They certainly don't drop the issue completely, but, after the cliffhanger showing them walking away from each other, I was expecting Hawkeye to be a little more broken up about it. As it is, he's more glib and cavallier about the whole thing, as if the revelation hasn't registered with him completely.

Review continues after the jump.

While both Mockingbird and Hawkeye still play off of each other nicely, the conflict of the series, which only has one issue remaining, still hasn't really been clearly established. AIM has a bomb of some sort and is kidnapping scientists while, in a rather convuluted manner, trying to make it look like they blew them up at this dinner party our two heroes are infiltrating. Why are they kidnapping them? Why go to such lengths to cover it up? What are they actually planning? These questions were fine in the opening issues, but this is the penultimate chapter and we still don't even know what this was all about. I assume it will be wrapped up in the last issue, but the actual plot of the series has taken a backseat to the flashbacks and now amounts to little more than a subplot when it should have been the other way around.

However, negativity aside, that doesn't make this a bad issue either. In fact, I continue to enjoy how McCann is writing Mockingbird and Hawkeye and how they play off of each other. There's some genuine chemistry between the two when they are on panel together and the tension and friction between them with their recent history is well done.

I also enjoyed the flashback in this issue, which thoroughly details Mockingbird's time on the Skrull homeworld. The mind games the Skrulls played with her, in particular the Skrull Hawkeye, were great insight into what kind of state of mind she's currently in and tells us why she's having such difficulty reconciling her past with her present, especially in regards to her feelings for Clint.

But, that lengthy flashback sequence, as I said, also pushed the main plot to the backburner and leaves a lot to be covered in the final issue, which also has to wrap up the 'are they or aren't they' lovers subplot, properly introduce and explain the main villain, as well as their goals and what the heck they are actually doing, and, finally, have the heroes put a stop to whatever it is they are trying to do. That's a tall order for this issue and doesn't even touch on the cliffhanger for this issue, which, arguably, could be more for shock value than actually relevant, but will have to be dealt with regardless.

Verdict - Check It. While arguably just as good as the last issue with answering questions about Mockingbird and her time with the Skrulls, as well as with the interaction between her and Hawkeye, there comes a time in a four issue miniseries where we need some plot progression and waiting for the last issue to really introduce and conclude that aspect of the story can backfire. Without having read the last issue, I have a sinking feeling this series might have actually benefitted from being a five or six issue miniseries instead, but I'll reserve full judgement until next month.

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Andrenn said...

Still waiting on the collection for this but it sounds like a good read.

Matt Ampersand said...

I am going to get the collection as well.

Steven R. Stahl said...

It appears, from the review, that McCann's motivation for the miniseries wasn't to tell a story, either a plot-driven or character-driven one. He just wanted to write Barton and Morse as a bickering couple, and any sort of plot that provided at least *some* action sequences, even if the plot made no sense, would be okay.


Steven R. Stahl said...

This interview (link is below) with McCann re REUNION is quite interesting. McCann seems to have the required background to be a good writer, and appears to have a real affection for the characters -- so why is the plot material in the miniseries so bad? REUNION #3 doesn’t have a real plot. The scientists are generic figures; the abduction of them, while illegal, isn’t a monstrous threat; turning A.I.M. from an organization trying to use technology to take over the world into a group of high-tech terrorists only succeeded in making them a group without a real purpose. McCann’s WCA is just a ridiculous concept -- counterterrorism as volunteerism and philanthropy. Among the problems with it is the notion that the Skrulls would keep the abducted S.H.I.E.L.D. agents alive.

Perhaps the worst problem with the miniseries is that McCann hasn’t provided a reason for Mockingbird to be alive. He hasn’t provided a solid reason for Morse to be abducted -- she had no special knowledge about anything -- which only makes the cheats that try to get around events in AWC #100 worse.

My guess, after reading the interview, is that his soap opera background, combined with Marvel’s lax editorial standards, caused McCann to believe that he could get away with practically anything as far as plot material was concerned, that the readers would be impressed enough by his treatment of Morse and Barton to like the miniseries.

Schaefer, Brevoort, and other Marvel editors should realize that publishing this material delegitimizes their roles as editors. Editors are supposed to enforce standards when accepting and publishing material, but explaining how REUNION meets any standards concerning plots would be practically impossible.


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