Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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.
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.