Pick of the Week

12.01.2004 – The New Avengers #1

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Size: pages
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Writer – Brian Michael Bendis

Penciller – David Finch

Inker – Danny Miki

Colorist – Frank D’Arnata

Letterer – Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne

Marvel Comics – $2.25

Possibly, this is all the X Box’s fault.

For the past week I’ve been playing a lot of Spider-Man 2, which is probably the best superhero game ever made. It has been wall-to-wall wall-crawling and web-slinging around here. And there is a moment in The New Avengers #1 that is so reminiscent of the game that I laughed and laughed like the big ol’ comic book reading, video game playing geek that I am. And so here we are.

It is strange that I would like this comic book so much because it goes against all of my basest continuity-loving, traditionalist instincts. I hate the latest trend — which is mostly happening at Marvel — of ending perennial, long running books (like The Avengers), in favor or relaunching them as new number ones. While not being a big Marvel Zombie, I was always a fan of the Captain America/Avengers family of books and characters. Now, a lot of people hated the Avengers Disassembled storyline, but I didn’t. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. I was more saddened and surprised that such a self-professed Avengers fan like Bendis wrote the Avengers so out-of-character.

By now you might be asking yourself why I bought The New Avengers #1? The answer is that, although it has happened, Brian Michael Bendis has rarely let me down in the past, and I figured I would at least give the book a shot.

From the cover image alone we can see that this is not your mamma’s Avengers, rather an (somewhat) all-star line-up of characters that I imagine is meant to be Marvel‘s answer to DC‘s Justice League.

What we have here with New Avengers #1 is a really fun book. It reads like the opening of a big budget action movie – there is a prison break at the super villain prison wing at Ryker’s Island. And with the Fantastic Four and X-Men out of town and the Avengers having been disbanded, the only people who can stop the rampaging horde of bad guys are Captain America (who was sent in by the military), Spider-Man (who was in the area), Daredevil (who was visiting a client), Luke Cage (who is Matt Murdock’s bodyguard), Spider-Woman (who works there), and Sentry (who is an inmate). I imagine that the rest of the people who are on the cover will be on their way at some point. It’s the classic random-people-come-together-to-stop-a-crisis-and-form-a-team scenerio that a lot of supergroups (including the original Avengers) spring out of.

It is clear that Bendis loves to write Spider-Man and I no longer fault him for finding a reason to stick him into every book he writes – he is just so damn good at it. Another thing I love about this book, and Bendis’s books in general, is how interconnected he makes them. He usually finds a way to reference something he has written somewhere else which does a great job of evoking a feeling that all these books really are taking place in the same shared universe. In this case, Luke Cage’s nonverbal confrontation with The Purple Man (borne our of events in Alias) made for one of the best and most powerful scenes in this book.

Now, on to my two quibbles.

The first is that at times the art/colors were sloppy. When we first see Matt Murdock it took me a while to realize that he wasn’t Cyclops. His hair was more brownish than red and it just didn’t look like him. The second is the use of Sentry in this book. Sentry being the infamous hoax character that Marvel and Wizard tried to pass off as a long lost Stan Lee creation oh, so many years ago. That was an ugly incident and Sentry being in this book leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Other than those problems I really liked New Avengers #1.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at how much fun this book was and how much I am looking forward to the next issue.

Conor Kilpatrick

Hates helicopters and the river


E-Mail: conor@ifanboy.com

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Comments

  1. My god. i HATED the end of the last Avengers storyline and I LOVED this first issue.
    I also think it’s great how Bendis ties all of his books together.

    My quibble is kind of a dumb technical detail:
    If the doors to the cells have video screens and not windows, how is it the purple man can look back at Luke Cage?

  2. man, that sentry scene was awesome

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