Tuesday, May 28, 2013

GOOD READIN': The New Avengers #1

Vision had been ripped apart by She-Hulk, Hawkeye had died and The Scarlet Witch was responsible for all. Yip, after writer Brian Michael Bendis butchered my favourites in the climactic storyline Avengers Disassembled, there was no way I was picking up The New Avengers #1. Sure he was bringing back Luke Cage and Spider-Woman, but I didn't care. He could kiss my @$$. Wallet was staying shut.

For a few years at least. Six to be exact.

Then, in the back of an isolated comic store, I saw issue #1 and forked out a few bucks to read it in the bus-stop on my way home. It had Daredevil in the form of Matt Murdock. It had Luke and Spider-Woman. And it kicked off the new 'JLA of the Marvel Universe' by pitting them against one of my childhood favourites: Electro. Yip, Electro.

Sure he is backed by a shadowy mastermind, but Electro is the central 'bad' of the debut issue. Heck, from the moment he turns on his costume, you know he's got the power to do it. That and the fact artist David Finch is about to deliver the run/work of his career, and boy does he ever.

With The Avengers disbanded, Electro is sent to create an authority distracting breakout at super-vilian island prison, The Raft. Unbeknown to the electric rouge, Murdock, Cage and Foggy have landed on the island ahead of him to interview their latest client, under the guidance of S.H.E.I.L.D. Agent Jessica Drew the first "and best" Spider-Woman.

Though as Electro makes his move, it's not Spider-Woman who Finch draws flawlessly, but her better known male namesake. Seeing blasts strike the prison, Spider-Man swings in The Raft's direction through one of those 'That's how Spidey should be drawn' moments. That is until his ride is downed and another hero comes to his aid... 

It's this drip-feeding of the full roster in the first issue that the writer known for 'talking faces' masters so well. He starts with the legal world he took to new heights in the pages of Daredevil, and escalates the action until it is naturally too big for just one hero to handle. Just like the intro to Earth's Mightiest has said for decades.

The pace is steady not frantic, yet as Typhoid Mary, Molecule Man, Grey Gargoyle, The U-Foes and plenty more just as evil spill out onto Finch's atmospherically rendered prison halls, the saviour of Foggy Nelson is not Cage or Jessica. It's their 'client', a man who is more powerful than most and a suspected murderer at that.

Sure Bendis murdered Vision and Hawkeye, but finally reading this issue made me the one that was guilty. Had I not needed my bus and gone back for #2 straight away, I probably would have been 'She-Hulk angry' at myself for not originally grabbing them all the way home.

 What do you think? 


  1. I cant say I liked this New Avengers [saying that always makes me think of Joanna Lumley and Patrick Macnee!], not just because of its 'stunt casting' of Wolverine and Spidey [cause they don't appear often enough in other books!] but mainly cause Bendis got rid of my fave 'second-stringers' Avengers like She-Hulk, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and the Vision. For me they were the stars of every Avengers book, not the big three of Cap, Iron Man and Thor.
    Didn't think much of the storyline either...so over forty crims escaped from the Raft and Purdey, Steed and, er, sorry I mean Wolverine, Spidey et all quickly forgot about them as the book went on, so the initial premise was useless and not followed through.

    Have you got the novel of this storyline, which has just come out? The writer has replaced Spider-Woman with the Black Widow, to cash in on the recent Avengers Movie. What rubbish!

  2. Thanks Karl! I guess that's one benefit of my delayed reading of this issue, I read other Marvel comics that dealt with the villians release first, so it did kind of tie together. The fact it wasn't referenced in the pages of New Avengers as you say, kind of makes you long for the days when Marvel had all those editorial boxes everywhere in the issue, pointing out what connected huh?

    Like you those are muy favourite Avengers, the second stringers, as I state in the opening of the post. For me Hawkeye is the heart of the Avengers, both in his soul and belief and also in his story of redemption he literally is The Avengers made flesh. Secondary to him is the twisted family tree of Wasp, Pym, Wonder Man, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ultron etc, then after all branches are connected maybe Captain America. Spidey is best alone, and in Captain America Annual #8 Steve makes a pretty solid argument for why Wolverine wouldn't be an Avenger, and to me that still stands. From Wolvie's perspective he'd hate hanging with the glory boys and again as you say, it's just not a match.

    As for Spider-Woman been replaced by Black Widow, that doesn't surprise me. Marketing has more strings attached than HYDRA. Still it is odd Marvel acknowledge she is an icon of the company then just undercut her at every chance.

    Black Widow made perfect sense for an Iron Man movie, and Scarlet was pretty decent to her, but in comic terms she really only served through the 90's.

    That said, I do have hope Falcon will jump from Captain America 2 into Avengers 2 in a few months time.

    Thanks for the comments!

  3. Also Joanna Lumley is brilliant - any thing that makes you think of her can only mean you are on the right track!