Pick of the Week

09.12.2007 – New Avengers #34

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Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Artist – Leinil Francis Yu
Colorist – Dave McCaig
Letterer – RS & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne

Marvel Comics – $2.99

Today, I bought so many comic books that I felt a little embarrassed. That’s how big the stack was. Granted, it was made up of this and last week’s book, but my word, if it was not a great big load of comics. So I got home and got to reading, trying to finish up early, because some lingering jetlag from my time in Ireland has left me unnaturally sleepy around 9:30 every night, and I wanted to both read and write while I was still mostly coherent. I’m trudging through the stacks, and it’s starting to feel like a chore. There are a lot of books, and most of them are OK, but I find I’m actually skimming books more than reading them in many cases. However, the reason we’ve got this particular book as Pick of the Week is because it’s the only one that held my interest and made me wish for more. New Avengers #34 was certainly the only book of the week that made me laugh out loud.

I don’t really look at covers, other than to check the number of the book when I buy them. I mean, I see them, and if the image is striking, I’ll notice. But if it’s something subtle, there’s a good chance I’m going to miss it on the cover. With this issue, I didn’t notice the cover until I was scanning it for this page. I think it’s brilliant.

You all remember that last month we had massive mistrust and “he’s a skrull, she’s a skrull” was all over the place. This month, almost thankfully, Bendis put that aspect of the story to bed, allowing the Avengers to get on with their Avengering, when the sniping could have gone on for months. I am glad for this. I love how he handled it. Basically, it appears that Bendis took a simple writer’s exercise, and turned it into a compelling device to get through his story. If you’re writing a story, and you want to understand the characters, you have to really look at them, and figure out who they are, inside and out. You have to know what it is they really want, and even if you never share that with your readers, just understanding it will usually make your portrayal of these fictional characters stronger. In this issue, Doctor Strange uses a magical spell to show the whole team who they really are inside, for all to see, including us. This two page spread, referenced on the cover, was my favorite couple of pages in a book I’ve read in a while. I especially like to see that Bendis, a guy who’s caught so much flack for “killing” Hawkeye, seems to really understand the character, and it makes me salivate all the more for any Clint Barton I can get.

But that’s just one bit to get excited about. I could tell you something on every page of this book that made me happy. We got follow up on Strange’s relationship with the Night Nurse. We got great Jessica Jones stuff. We got Wolverine taking a shot in the yarbles. What a great issue! What a great series!

Ah yes, lest we forget Mr. Yu. I’ve averaged lukewarm on Yu’s art on this book. Sometimes I love it, and other times, I’m of the opinion that it’s too loose. However, in this issue, I was all for it. I don’t know if he was just on his game, or if I was just in the right mood, but I really thought the artwork in this issue was among the best work he’s done on the title. He’s making the character moments really pop, and capturing the subtleties of the character’s faces at those times. Then, when you’ve got a big fight at the beginning, those are pretty dynamic too. It’s still totally not what I think I would want, but after the fact, I do want it.

This series just has everything I want out of a superhero comic book in it. I’m not sure if it’s everything that someone else would want, but since I’m me, it works out well. I almost feel bad that I don’t recommend this book more when people ask what they should read. But then, I’m pretty sure this is one of the best selling books out there. But unlike a lot of those other best selling books, this one is really very good, consistently. It’s been good since the very start (excluding Xorn). Hell, once we find out what was in Wanda’s closet, Bendis might be challenging his own Daredevil and Ultimate Spider-Man runs for modern classic status.

Josh Flanagan
I think Hawkeye is my favorite Marvel character.
josh@ifanboy.com

Did you read New Avengers #34?
Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!

I pick this issue for the sheer joy of reading it, and have not a single doubt about it being the best thing I read this week. And it’s been nearly six months since we picked it, so clearly, it’s time.

Comments

  1. Cool. New Avengers was the series that got me back into comics after a long hiatus.

    I like Yu’s art, but I think it’s probably better suited to the action heavy issues and not the talking heads. Next issue should be a playground for him if the last page is a good barometer of what’s to come.

  2. If you went back in time to, say, 2002 and told me that the book that made me happiest would one day be the Avengers, I’d have done a spittake all over your future suit.

    “The Avengers?” I’d say. “Like, with Hawkeye and Jack of Hearts and whatever a Warbird might be?”

    “It’s not what you think,” you would reply. “By then, Jessica Jones will be on the team.” Unfortunately for you, I’d be in the middle of another drink when you said that, and your future suit would once again be covered in Crystal Pepsi.

  3. Did anyone else notice that nearly every mainstream DC comic released this week had a Green Lantern in it? I have nothing interesting to say about it, other than to point it out.

  4. While I enjoyed X-Men: Emperor Vulcan slightly more than New Avengers, I can find no fault with this pick and I totally agree with ya. Yu, as much as I can’t stand his art in this book, was better than he’s been this entire run (though I still don’t like his style). This book was damn good.

  5. My favorite part has to be the last page, such a great cliff hanger.

  6. Welcome home Josh. Please to be regaling us with tales of the homeland this podcasting.

    Picked up NA, but haven’t read it yet. Bendis’ work on this book has been excellent since the end of that whole Michael the supermutant arc pre-Civil War, so I’m really looking forward to this issue.

  7. They’re all Skrulls I tell ya!!!

    Good issue… damn I was sure one of them was a skrull… reminded me of the scene from The Thing where they get tested and the monster jumps out… just no monster jumping out…. oh well maybe next time.

  8. New Avengers is also the book that got me back into comics.

    I haven’t read it yet it was second in my stack to Walking Dead And I only had time to read one book so far. But that said waklking dead was awsome this week. Sweet ending. These next few issues major things are going down!

  9. Yep, this is pretty much one of the best books out right now.

    Between New Avengers, Daredevil, DMZ, Criminal, X-Factor, and Nova, I had a pretty killer week.

    New Avengers is my pick as well, with X-Factor a close second.

  10. SO RIGHT!!!

    This book CONSISTENTLY makes me excited while I read it. It’s never long enough, never comes out quick enough, and keeps me coming back.

    I used to read it in trades… Better because I got it in chunks, but now that it is so continuity heavy, and fast and furious with the story, I’ll never be able to go back.

    I will however be getting the deluxe hardcovers as they come out, so I can play Spot the Skrull!!!

  11. “Averaged lukewarm” is a pretty good way to describe my feelings on Yu’s art on this book, too. It’s funny– I didn’t think much of his art on this book, then I picked up and read Superman Birthright, and thought his art was amazing there.

    I’ll probably turn out to be completely alone in this opinion– but I was also lukewarm on this particular issue. It WAS the best New Avengers issue in a while. And, I did like the scene with Strange and the Night Nurse– and the scene referenced on the cover was was fine, although we of course just went through this routine with Strange casting a (different) spell to determine if anyone’s a Skrull. But overall, I just have the feeling that I’d like to see this book get moving, you know? The characterization and dialogue is great as always with Bendis, but I’d just like to see the plot get going a bit. I feel like we’ve been sufficiently “deconstructed” and would like to see something constructed.

    Anyway, in another week this might’ve been my POW, but this was just such a great week! I thought the JLA Wedding Special was great– and also really enjoyed Booster Gold #2.

  12. I like Ultimate Hawkeye better

  13. RIGHT ON!!!!

    This book CONSISTENTLY excites me. Story wise, it’s fast and furious and has maintained an air of “anything can happen” since the begining. I can not think of a mainstream comic book, that can make that claim. Countdown? MY ASS!

    I used to read this in trades, and I will most likely never be able to go back. I would NEVER be able to wait out every six months now.

    I will however be getitng the oversized hardcovers and playing me some Spot the Skrull.

    Great pick, sir.

    P.S…. Could I get others’ opinion on Brubaker’s Rise & Fall…Shi’ar story. I have been reading it collected, and it is so far, so great. While it was happening, it made hardly a mark outside of the X-Men niche. I have hardly any prior knowledge of the Shi’ar Empire or 90% of the characters going in (aside from Deadly Genesis) but I am so far loving it. Jsut looking for some opinions.

  14. I am aware I posted a variation of the same thing twice… I am new to this.

    Apologies.

  15. Glad to have you back dude! This was a great issue in a very solid series. That being said, I still think Thor #3 would have been my pick this week. It just blows the rest of the books I’ve read this week out of the water.

  16. Thor was strong this week. I bought the first issue against my better judgement, because I saw the cover to this issue at the Pittsburgh Comic Con. I thought the second issue was a little bit stronger than the first. My intention was to drop Thor after his Iron Man encounter, but now I am thinking about continuing with it. However the gods among mortals schtick has already been done in Thor when Journey into Mystery was high jacked by Heroes Reborn. Also in Neil Gaiman’s Eternals.

  17. This was an awesome comic. I had to do a search on wiki to figure out where the Night Nurse started hooking up with Strange, but I loved the whole book.

    That is saying somehting, because I had been getting lukewarm on Bendis.

    Also, he had the crossover Myxzylplk rference, so that was cool.

  18. I had to do a search on wiki to figure out where the Night Nurse started hooking up with Strange,

    Read BKV’s Dr. Strange the Oath.

  19. A great issue, good pick Josh (personally I would have gone with Daredevil #100, but that’s just me). I agree 100% with paper’s comments about Yu’s artwork, sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it.
    My biggest problem with this issue though, was the fact that we seem to have finally reached that crossroad where both New Avengers and Mighty Avengers will join. Now I love Frank Cho’s artwork but he’s not the quickest guy and I will be mighty (heh) pissed if my New Avengers is held up because of the Mighty book, I think he needs to take a break and get someone to replace him for a few issues (Mark Bagley anyone?), build a bit of a backlog and then come back on, because at the moment I’m loving the Avengers so much that I don’t even want to think about having a scheduling delay!

  20. DD #100! All of Bermejo’s work was killer. Marko and Lee sure put Turner to shame with the covers.

    So, who blew up!?!? The looked like a heavy Ben Urich (no, it is obviously not Ben). Could this of been the real Larry Cranston? The reprints collected here seem to suggest that. They look awefully alike. This would then beg the question: Who is this Mr. Fear???

    C.

  21. Oh, maybe I’m way off. This could be the laywer that was defending Melvin in the last arc. Mr. Fear knocking of all connections to himself for Melvin’s killing spree.

    C.

  22. Countdown was really really rough to get through this week. The pencils were bad on the Search For Ray Palmer scenes. Then out of no where Kyle Rayner shows up and it is all, “Oh good, Green Lantern is here. The Monitors have you marked for assassination too. Lets all hang out together.” Then the Atom is taken away and they don’t care enough to go after him???

    This was the first week I considered dropping this book, but I will stick it out and see what happens.

  23. I’m loving this series its one of the few that i actually keep looking forward to reading.

  24. New Avengers, really?

    I didn’t hate NA or anything. But in a week of Fables, DMZ, Daredevil, JSA and Fear Agent- I’d have a hard time picking something as ho-hum and frankly, uninspired as New Avengers.

    I know a lot of folks are enjoying the Skrullspiracy as it were. I am not one of those people.

    I’ll take my DMZ over the type of tepid superhero action in NA any day, thank you very much.

  25. ah! Can’t wait until tomorrow when I can finally get my books. As has been said, New Avengers #1 (along with Green Lantern: Rebirth) got me back into comics, so I’ve honestly loved this book throughout the series (again, minus the crappy Collective storyline).

    Question for those of y’all who bought Daredevil #100: if I were to pick this up for the first time, would I understand it? or should I buy a few backissues too?

  26. Question for those of y’all who bought Daredevil #100: if I were to pick this up for the first time, would I understand it? or should I buy a few backissues too?

    You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t look into the AMAZING back issues of Daredevil. That being said i think #100 is a great jumping on point for new readers. It helps set up everything and introduces you to the cast of characters pretty well

  27. i liked NA#34, but I felt it was too much “It’s not the destination but the journey.” All this build-up to get to a last page that seems to be in the middle of another story.

    I liked the JLA Wedding Special, but I found two (actually on, but someone else pointed another one to me) mistakes on one page (in one panel, no less). I wonder if anyone else caught them (Conor, I’m counting on you).

    I loved the alternate cover of JSA this week. Reminded me of my childhood.

  28. New Avengers? Really?

    I don’t think anything was resolved. After all, it’s Doc Strange casting a spell, and if he’s a skrull, then he could show them anything he wanted.

    Also, there was a panel a few issues ago suggesting that Cage’s baby might be a skrull, and that irritating plot twist wasn’t addressed at all, even though the kid was sitting on Cage’s lap during the spell.

    No, Thor #3 was the best book to come out this week.

  29. I enjoyed New Avengers this week, but it leaves me a little bit confused. I guess it’s safe to say that it’s no surprise that none of the New Avengers are Skrulls, but then how is Jessica Jones’ baby a Skrull? Granted, I picked this title up at issue number 27, so I may have missed something. Still, I’m a little bit lost. After seeing the preview cover, I think the next issue will be a lot of fun. I think the Symbiote will play really well to Yu’s fluid pencils.

    I also really enjoyed Maintenance this month. This title is just so great with amazing “cartoony” pencils by Rodriguez. Plus, it’s funny as hell.

    I really enjoyed Daredevil #100, though the extra issues in the back were not very significant. I will say that you definitely got your bang for your buck with that issue. Also, I liked the art interludes, and it was kind of cool to see the Man Without Fear, actually, for once, have some.

    Jack of Fables continued it’s zany awesomeness. This book just keeps getting better and better.

    It was kind of refreshing to not have Punisher: War Journal completely suck ass. Fraction nabbed for one more issue, but we’ll see how the next one pans out. Also, the new pencils really fit the book better.

    My pick this week definitely has to be Nova #6. This book continually blows me away with how good it is. It’s like, I always expect it to be horrible, but somehow, it just keeps coming out awesomely.

  30. This issue took me totally off-guard by how good it was. It was full of content and character without even hinting at exposition. Loved it. Good pick.

    I want to know what you guys thought of Daredevil this week, but I guess I have to wait for the podcast.

  31. Bendis was promising for months that this issue would finally showcase Wolverine kicking ass. It was kind of disappointing that “kicking ass” consisted of having one’s dick blown off by a C-list villain.

    Sadly, though, having his dick blown off by a C-list villain probably was the most badass thing that’s happened to him in recent years, so I’m gonna have to simply say it’s a start and go cry in the parlor while reading my Wolverine Essentials. The rest was pretty good, though.

  32. lame–I missed Wednesday again…looks like i will be cramming the books in this weekend. Still, I have been loving this title, so I can’t wait.

    hey, have you guys checked this comixology thing out?
    http://www.comixology.com/

    it’s kinda interesting, you go through the upcoming week’s comics, add ’em to your list, then you get this pull list you can print out..it also tallies them all up so you can see what the most popular books are for the week. there’s a dashboard widget, too, which is interesting.

    anyway, I dunno how they are going to make money so it might be interesting to see how it goes before it disappears.

    I gotta go to sleep.

    m

  33. walking dead was the pick of the week for sure, if just for the last page. i really really can’t wait for the next issue. josh,ron, and conor should really give this the single issue treatment it’s so good that it’s a shame it’s hardly mentioned on the podcast.

    bprd was a very close second, Conor mentioned awhile back that mignola can damn well craft a good story, and coupled with arcudi, the guys have yet to miss a beat. and guy davis art is amazing, offbeat and just plain fun, you guys should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

  34. I liked this issue too and i think what got to me was Spidey’s MXYZPTLX joke, cause I’m a DC guy. Even though i liked this issue i preferred Green Lantern 23 this week, it just had so much packed into it and the little twists in the end got to me.
    Regardless Great pick.

  35. Nice pick. I loved this book, my only problem is that Yu’s Peter Parker looks kinda retarded but I might just be too defensive of Spidey.

  36. If it wasn’t for my slavish devotion to Rachel Summers and the fact that X-Men: Emperor Vulcan made me laugh a few more times than Avengers did, it also would have been my POW. That said, I totally agree with everything you’ve said here. I still don’t like Yu’s art at all, but it was better here than it’s been since he started the book.

  37. New Avengers was indeed great.

    That being said I am not a huge fan of Yu’s art. Well, I am a big fan if it was only his art I was looking at (I love that kind of style), but sometimes, during the action scenes especially, I find the “looseness” to be quite confusing. Sometimes I just wish it could be a bit more clearly defined.

    Also, Nova continues to be awesome.

  38. I’m going with The Lone Ranger #8, a bit of gunslinging, some romantic tension, and best of all, a full page villains spread that when looked at, literally turns on some Ennio Morricone soundtrack in your head. Good stuff.

    Walking Dead was pretty good too. What’s up with Kirkman? Thats like 3 straight issues that have been released close to every other week!! He’s spoiling us for some reason…

  39. Dreg, I thought Wolverine kicked some pretty good ass in Millar’s “Enemy of the State” and “Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

    Oh, and I second the motion that Marvel has to get Frank Cho off of Mighty Avengers immediately, farm out Bendis scripts completed up to the point where the correspond to the (very important) goings-on in “New Avengers”, and then put Mark “I can do a book a week” Bagley on “Mighty”. Send Frank Cho back to “Liberty Meadows”, where continuity doesn’t rely on his slow ass, AND SO HE CAN FINALLY FINISH THAT FRAKATA BRANDY/NERDY VET/JEN LOVE TRIANGLE! I like me some “Liberty Meadows”.

  40. Stop making excuses for him!!!

    Historical weight is irrelevent!
    If you can read, you can understand it!

  41. On Clint being Ronin—I guess it could be said that the “Old” Avengers team was Clint’s master. Since that organization has fallen Clint is a warrior without anyone to serve. He has never been one to serve authority so he isn’t going to join the Initiative. So I guess this Ronin-schtick is Clint developing a new sense of self. I like it. I fully trust Bendis to make a new man out of Hawkeye and I am really liking watching it happen. I say more Ronin.

  42. Poor Wolverine. I like Bendis’ take on his character, but he needs to be used as something other than a whipping boy in a fight. He’s Marvel’s second most popular character, and he’s become total clown shoes.

    LEAVE WOLVIE ALOOOOONE! HE MAKES YOU SO MUCH MONEY, MARVEL! YOU SHOULD BE GRATEFUL!!! THIS IS THE SECOND TIME HE’S HAD HIS JUNK SHOT OFF! THINK OF A NEW GAG!! LEAVE WOLVIE ALOOOOONE!

    (Here endeth the parody).

    Seriously, though…

    Decent book otherwise.

  43. The best part of the show is listening to Josh’s attempts to yawn quietly while other people were talking.

  44. Walking Dead was INSANE. Beginning to end. It takes alot to beat the awesomeosity that is Green Lantern right now and it did.

  45. The Mr. Terrific analog in the Injustice League is Mr. Horrific. I haven’t read where he comes from, but believe he’s featured in the current JSA Classified run.

  46. Mr. Horrific was created for Villains United.

  47. OK, what exactly about Xorn does everybody hate? I loved the way Morrison wrote him in X-Men, and I love that he was “really” Magneto nearly the whole time. The only thing I didn’t like was the way it was retconned into being “actually” Xorn somehow making himself look like Magneto. What do you think?

  48. OK, what exactly about Xorn does everybody hate? I loved the way Morrison wrote him in X-Men, and I love that he was “really” Magneto nearly the whole time. The only thing I didn’t like was the way it was retconned into being “actually” Xorn somehow making himself look like Magneto. What do you think?

  49. When I went to Target to pick up Superman Doomsday, I went through the toy aisle to check on the new action figures and Xorn was one of them. I got away from X-Men early in Grant Morrison’s run so I don’t know much about Xorn. I read the mini bio on the back and it said something about him posing as Magneto, while teaching at the school, and having a twin brother. That didn’t encourage me to want to learn more. The X-Men need some fresh faces, bringing Magneto into it made it seem like it was like all the other Magento stories that have been done. What did sound cool was that he has a sun at the center of his brain. I don’t think that has ever been done in comics.

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