Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Avengers #7 Review

We recently learned that Stuart Immonen would be leaving the art duties on New Avengers, and as it turns out, this issue is his second to last, which is a good reason as any to do a review on it. This done in one issue works as a bookend to the previous arc, as the New Avengers deal with the aftermath of the terrible events. Hit the jump to see the full review.


New Avengers #7

Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Laura Martin

Before we get started on the review... You, the one in the back! Yes, YOU! The one that doesn’t like Bendis? You might as well go read something else, because this is not going to change your mind. This is not the Avengers of the 70’s, this is the Avengers of 2010 and they act accordingly.

Alright, now that’s out of the way...

New Avengers starts with the team beaten down and battered, after having suffered a terrible battle that has ended the life of one of their teammates. It’s time to regroup, take a breather, and sort things out amongst themselves. Do remember that the team hasn’t consolidated yet, and it’s not entirely clear who is and isn’t on the team.

What follows is a series of scenes where the team members of New Avengers have a prolonged conversation, one leading to the other, as they solve some of the issues that the face. First of all, Dr. Strange will be part of the team, despite his own worries that his association with them might hurt the rest of the New Avengers. Second: Victoria Hand will remain acting as liaison of the team, despite Spider-Man’s reservations because she used to work with Norman Osborn. Third: the New Avengers will be receiving a paycheck courtesy of Steve Rogers and the U.S. Government, despite Luke Cage’s desires to “answer to no one”. Finally, Squirrel Girl will be the nanny for Dani Cage, despite a rather odd scene involving Wolverine.

So this is basically just an all-talking issue. There is no big threat, no cackling villain, and no big victory for the team. It’s just characters interacting.

If that sounds like a boring comic to you, well, you might right, but to me New Avengers #7 has been the best issue in the series so far. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all the other issues where the entire dimension was in peril, but this one was better. Why? Because without issues like this that show how deep the bonds between these characters, their other adventures would be meaningless. I’ve seen many people compare it with the old X-Men issues from the Claremont era where they would play baseball, or celebrate the holidays, etc. and it’s a pretty apt comparison.

It’s not a perfect comic though. The last two pages rubbed me the wrong way, as I mentioned in the moments of the day. First, Bendis hints at a former relationship between Squirrel Girl and Wolverine, which is just odd. Logan does usually hang out with teenage girls (Kitty and Jubillee), but not in that aspect. Another one is Wong having an attitude towards the team, which is not what I am used to from the character. Without those two pages, this issue would have been perfect.


The art team of New Avengers is spectacular as ever. Stuart Immonen draws the heck out of every character that Bendis throws his way, and if they are moving him to another title, it better be “Stuart Immonen draws the Marvel Universe”. Just continuous pinups of characters, and I would be happy. That’s not all he does though, he handles all the emotions of the characters that speak just as much as the dialogue, and for an issue of this kind, the facial expressions are crucial to the whole enterprise. He also does a great job with the layout of the issue, which is mostly talking heads, keeping the visual aspect interesting even though there’s not a whole lot going on in terms of action. Also, bonus points for having him draw Machine Man. My love for Nextwave is well documented, and I appreciate the pandering.

Wade Von Grawbadger and Laura Martin round up the art team that is unashamed to portray the setting and the characters as part of the fourth color world: the ink lines are thick and noticeable, and the characters shine with vibrant colors. I’ll say it before, and I’ll say it again, the art team makes New Avengers one of the best and most consistently good looking book on the stands. This would be an apt swan song to their short but incredibly memorable stay on the title, but we still have one more issue for them to continue wowing us.

Verdict - Buy It. This issue is a love letter to the Bendis era of the Avengers, and Immonen is up to the task to embellish any imperfections along the way. Too preoccupied with navel gazing? Perhaps. Flawed? Arguably. Entertaining? I definitely though so.


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27 comments:

twobitspecialist said...

I kinda wish I had gotten this issue but I just couldn't take more of the New Avengers. The first arc dragged on for too long and the ending fell flat. The death of Dr. Voodoo should've been a emotionally strong moment but it didn't feel like that to me.

From what I've seen, New Avengers #7 is just more of the same: characters acting out of character. With the Wong and the Wolverine moments, the nanny profiles (She-Hulk? Echo? Guardians of the Galaxy?), Spider-man making more issue out of his secret identity, the fact that this team doesn't really serve a purpose... I can go on about reasons to slap an "Avoid It" to it.

Honestly, Immonnen's art was being wasted in those stories. I hope he's been assigned to something better.

MARY ANNE said...

christ twobit the nanny profiles were jokes....come on man stop being a stereotypical angry geek

machina said...

Some people need to take a joke...Does anyone remember when comics were supposed to be fun and less about continuity

twobitspecialist said...

Hey, I LOVE light-hearted and fun stories, when they are done well. Superman/Batman #77 is light-hearted and fun, but you don't see Supergirl or Robin acting out of character there, right? ;)

I can see why the nanny profiles would be considered jokes (I didn't laugh once, though), and if it was that one instance, I wouldn't have thought too much of it. But this isn't the only time Bendis ruins characters for no reason at all.

Ivan said...

I like these kind of issues. I loved when Giffen and DeMatteis did something like that with the JLI. But I'm not a fan of Bendis and the blatant disregard for characterization and continuity that he represents.

Midnight Monk said...

Tbh, I been enjoying New Avengers way more than the regular Avengers. This team just feels like my bread and butter and this was a transition issue nothing more, nothing less. Issues like these do exist not every issue has to be some big huge adventure. Either way great book none the less that could use some "pruning" here and there

Rocker69 said...

I enjoyed parts of this story but some things were just beyond silly. Bendis thinks he can get away with anything and he doesn't give a damn about continuity.

Why oh WHY do they have to have lunch in costume?? So that new readers know who is who? That's lazy. I remember picking up Fall of the Mutants way back and I didn't know who the New Mutants or X-Factor was. But I learned. There's google, there's wikipedia...trust me, kids will understand everything.

Also, it might seemed funny to some people, but I was actually offended to see the Guardians of the Galaxy being on the nanny line. I mean...that would NEVER HAPPEN. Same with She-Hulk and most of the others. That was beyond disrespectful to fans of other characters.

I'm also getting sick and tired of Luke Cage's "I AM THE BADDDEST BADDASS OF ALL". Thank God for Jessica Jones, otherwise he'd be unbearable.

Last but not least: please please put some costume on Dr. Strange. The brown overcoat is hideous.

I think Bendis's clock is ticking and I sincerely hope Marvel gets a new Avenger writer for 2011.

Parallax207 said...

I loved that Molly from Runaways had a panel... but lord it made me angry that there hasn't been a new Runaways in over a year.

googum said...

I appreciated your review...but no. I've had it with Bendis, and with most of Marvel lately. Hey, let's have Spidey dicked out of cash again! That never gets old! And let's have half the Marvel Universe show up for Luke Cage's nanny job, because Luke is so great! And why shouldn't Dr. Strange volunteer his friend to be the Avengers' maid? No, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great review. I loved the issue. Especially Nighthawk's comment about The New Avengers actually being the Defenders!
Sometimes you need these issues to help fill in the gaps and let your heroes catch their breath.
Like other readers, at first I found Wong's attitude odd but as I've thought about it there's an incredible story just waiting to be told. Probably one of my favorite issues since Ms. Marvel discovered she was pregnant.

- Retcon Joe

Don Winslow said...

I loved it! The nanny interview page was hi-larious. I'm sad to see Immonen go, but the man is a talent that needs to keep going up the ladder.

Remember his Superman run in the 90's? He made electric Supes look damn fine.

furious george said...

......somebody is in marvels pocket

Ryan K Lindsay said...

I didn't pick up this issue, I have officially dropped New Avengers, but I do admit this issue looked like fun. If I was still getting the series I would not mind an issue like this at all.

As for Furious George - how much do you think we get for a good review? I am always curious about that but can never get an answer. I also don't get why Marvel doesn't pay us to give every issue a good review. Maybe I just don't have a business brain...

george said...

just the next marvels next big thing , the Immonen interviews , the good reviews although the books reception has been negative

Nathan said...

Stuart is being put on Marvel's "next big event" is the rumor going around, so I'm not really sure his talents will be given better material. I for one am sad to see him go, as he was about the only saving grace for the Avengers books as of late. (They did the same thing with Billy Tan! Pulled him off New Avengers and gave him the subpar Shadowland. Marvel really doesn't care about quality titles anymore. If they have a top talent, they just move them onto their "It book of the year" and leave the previous title to languish.)

I have to say, I can't for the LIFE of me figure out why the Avengers are Marvel's top selling titles, given that Bendis is writing them. Then again, fanboys are usually a disappointment where sales successes are concerned...

Matt Duarte said...

@george: I'm a big fan of Immonen, and I will freely admit so. The interview was something I personally set up and contacted him about because I love his art. I've dropped the other Bendis-Avenger book, but stuck with this one he is playing in his element and Immonen's art are better. As for lots negative reviews? I've seen plenty of positive ones so I'm hardly alone in praising this particular issue.

twobitspecialist said...

@Nathan - Well, I dropped New Avengers after #6 but then picked up Avengers #7. I immediately regretted it when pretty much nothing happened in that issue (the setup could've been easily condensed).

I know I'm going to stick around until the end of this arc because I was promised something cool with Rulk, the Illuminati, and the Infinity Gems, but, boy, Bendis is sure making me want to give up on this one before it really takes off.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@george - this site is getting more and more access to publisher information, it's true. We've been put in with conference calls to creators about big projects, we've gotten press release information (though hopefully you'll notice we didn't just run a standard press release post for the Hellraiser announcement but instead actually wrote an article about it, which no other site did), we generally don't just cut and paste news, or at least try not to. We're not that kind of site, or at least don't want to be. All of our Fireside Chats have been personally organised just through connections we know. That's just us wanting to chat to creators we like.

I know last week a publisher sent me a preview copy of one title and I reviewed it as 2 stars, then sent that link straight to the publisher (as they request) and they're fine with giving me more to review this week. No one holds us over a barrel to do what they want, we are completely left alone. Publishers do not have that influcne over us, not at all.

And as for this issue, I have only read positive reviews, usually any snark comes from comments - even though people always seem to have said they want more issues just dealing with the daily lives of these heroes/groups...I guess you can't please everyone all of the time. You might not like the issue, which is fine, but it's a bit harsh to say we MUST be in someone's pocket to have liked it...

I still say, I wish a publisher would pay me for good reviews, ha, my credibility has always been for sale!

twobitspecialist said...

@Ryan L. - Like I said, I DO like this kind of issues, just dealing with daily lives of superheroes and other lighthearted stuff. My main gripe is Bendis doing weird things with the characters. Why have Wong threaten to burn down the kitchen? Why imply that Logan and Squirrel Girl had a "thing" in the past, when she's barely legal? And it's not just here. Why have the future hate on Bucky? Why have Wonder Man go crazy?

And I'm not just hating on Bendis because it's the cool thing to do. I liked his Dark Avengers run. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I just read the line of "You, the one in the back! Yes, YOU! The one that doesn’t like Bendis? You might as well go read something else, because this is not going to change your mind"

And you are totally right, Avengers has been a piece of crap since Bendis took over. I really miss a real avengers writer like Waid...

Those were good avengers stories

Naymlap said...

I don't get the serious hate for Bendis. A good review for one of his books seems to inspire a response akin to a bad review for a Grant Morrison book.
I thought the book was pleasant. His first New Avengers arc was ok, I thought it dragged on a bit. But this issue was great. It was the type of book that you don't see often.
Bendis's disregard for continuity isn't worse than a lot of writers. If anything, I think the criticisms of his work are more because he has a strong voice.
Also, is he really implying that Wolverine had a relationship with Squirell Girl or that they've met before? I read as they met, fought some bad guy together or something and he wants to keep as far away from her as possible.

Matt Duarte said...

@Anonymous #20: Mark Waid has written only a couple of issues of Avengers, as far as I know...

@Naymlap: See, the obvious thing to do would have been that Squirrel Girl and Wolverine had fought before (and you know who would have won). But their interaction doesn't have a hint of antagonism to it, so that's out of the question. I think the comments that imply that there was a relationship is the whole "You look good" & "You look amazing", which is the kind of thing that ex-lovers would say to each other.

Rocker69 said...

Avengers is Marvel's biggest seller because the X-Men has been shit ever since Morrison took off...simple as that.

Or do you expect to see something like Thunderbolts or the (unfortunately canceled) Guardians of the Galaxy at the top of the sales list? Please people, get real.

To me one of the best recent Marvel books were Dark Avengers and Captain Britain & The MI-13. Too bad they didn't last long.

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