Pick of the Week

12.24.2008 – New Avengers #48

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670
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Avg Rating: 4.2
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 32.3%
 
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Size: pages
Price: 2.99

For some reason, I seem to be writing these Pick of the Week reviews on or close to Christmas Eve quite often.  It’s been lost to the years of the internet, but years ago (2003 maybe, or 2002?), I chose the Marvel Holiday Special as the Pick of the Week on (or near) Christmas.  I remember sitting down and writing the review in my parents living room, while food was being prepared and did my usual gushing over the annual Marvel holiday offering.  Sadly, this year they chose to give us the Marvel Holiday Special in digital format (and it was still quite good), so I would have to work for this week’s pick.  Little did I know that the pick this week would also be in theme with the season, even if it wasn’t intended to be.

One of my favorite traditions around Christmas is to watch the Frank Capra classic It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.  It’s easily one of the best movies of all time, and encapsulates what Christmas is all about, to me at least.  In fact, I will be watching it in just a few hours, after my family finishes our annual traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner (which consists of 7 different kinds of fish.  Don’t ask me why though…).  So what does this have with New Avengers #48?  I’ll get there, but first let me tell a little bit about why I liked this comic, especially coming out of the finale of Secret Invasion.

You see, a few years ago when Brian Michael Bendis started writing New Avengers, for some reason unknown to me, I started reading it.  I was never a huge Avengers fan, not like Josh at least.  But I liked Bendis and I was curious.  He had just “disassembled” the team and relaunched New Avengers and it felt like an important moment.  In that first issue he had relaunched the team, with Captain America and Iron Man agreeing that the world needed the Avengers.  It was truly Bendis at his peak.  Finally getting the dynamic down of a team book, the story and dialogue was snappy and a joy to read.  I actually called Josh up and insisted he read it, it was just that good.  I think I even paypal’d him the money to buy the first trade, that’s how great it was.  But then Civil War hit, and the book seemed to get bogged down by the greater world of the Marvel Universe.  Just when I was getting disillusioned with it, the prospect of this grand Skrull storyline was revealed and I was excited again.  And then for the past year, New Avengers has been relegated to flashbacks and one-offs, providing the background for Secret Invasion.  But now Secret Invasion is over, and Dark Reign has begun and we’re all rolling our eyes from event fatigue, not sure what to expect.

Well I can tell you one thing, I didn’t expect New Avengers #48 to read just like those early New Avengers issues.  I didn’t expect Captain America/Bucky to step up and reform the team, with the New Avengers characters like Spider-Man, Wolverine and Iron Fist.  I didn’t expect that the Luke Cage/Jessica Jones baby being missing would create such a great story.  And I sure as hell didn’t expect that ending.

There are really 2 stories occurring in this issue, the reformation of the Avengers under Captain America and the Cage/Jones baby search.  Both could probably stand on their own, but Bendis is able to weave them together in such a way that I can’t imagine them separated.   Confused, bruised and hurt from the events of the end of Secret Invasion, the team ends up in Captain America’s old apartment in Brooklyn, where Captain America/Bucky (when can I drop calling him Bucky?) presents that he is offering the apartment as their headquarters, that the world needs the Avengers and he’s putting the team back together.  It may not be Steve Rogers, but I have to admit the image of Captain America giving a speech like that is powerful.  It choked me up a bit with inspiration and had me getting excited all over again.  But before I could really relax and enjoy the moment, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones burst in bringing the team up to speed about how the Skrull Jarvis took their baby and they have to find it. 

During the search for the baby,. there is a two page spread, narrated by Wolverine that was just amazing. They’re unsure of how to find the baby and her Skrull captor in the New York City.  Wolverine simply explains they “Shake some trees” and then explains how they can conduct the search.  It reminded me of when 4 years ago, we’d complain about how Bendis didn’t know how to write Wolverine and yet today, he’s nailed the character so well.  It was definitely a cinematic moment as the narration spanned the 6 panels, and we saw each team member doing their part. 

But it was the ending that got me.  Without hope, no where left to turn, Luke Cage turns to the one person he would never turn to unless he had to.  Sitting across from Norman Osborn at his desk, Luke explains that he will do anything if Osborn will help him find his child.  The scene reminded me of the moment during It’s A Wonderful Life where George Bailey, desperate after the loss of several thousand dollars from his business, turns to his enemy, the dreaded Mr. Potter asking for help. Maybe I’m overwhelmed by the holiday spirit, but I thought the scene itself was uncanny in it’s similarity.  And so the issue ends with Luke Cage agreeing to sign up with Osborn and his Thunderbolts, and Osborn says “Let’s go find your kid.” 

I hope that now Secret Invasion is behind us, New Avengers can rise again to this stature that it once had as THE book to be reading at Marvel.  If this issue is any indication, New Avengers is a must read again, with a scrappy team that reminds you what true heroes in the Marvel Universe are like.  Not a bad way to end the year.

DISCLAIMER: I am currently at my families house in NY, on Long Island, and the store I shop in here on LI didn’t get all their books, so therefore I didn’t get all of mine.  So if Astounding Wolf-Man #11 or Daredevil #114 or Guerillas #3 or Runaways 3 #5 was the most amazing comic ever and should have been the pick, I’m sorry I didn’t pick them, but please don’t tell me I should have, because I won’t be reading those until next week when I get back to San Francisco.  Happy Holidays!

Ron Richards
“And a Happy New Year to you…in jail!”
ron@ifanboy.com


Comments

  1. What synergy — I just finished this comic and am heading off to see "It’s a Wonderful Life."

    Honestly, I have not liked "New Avengers" much for a *long* time — that first trade is really the last time it blew me away — but with this issue, the love is absolutely back.  I am really looking forward to where this goes next.  Great pick.  Also, when has Billy Tan’s art ever been this good?  I’ve enjoyed his work on X-Men, but this is just leaps and bounds better.  

    ‘Daredevil’ was a good comic but I really think Bendis blew everybody out of the water with this one.  I don’t think you’ll regret the pick. 

  2. 😛 to Bendis…that’s all I need to say.

    Great review though, and Merry X-Mas to you all.

  3. This was without a doubt the best book I read this week. In that it was the only one I’ve had time to read so far.

    Let me say this, though, Mr. Richards: every time you’ve brought up the Marvel Holiday Special, you’ve taken a second to add a "sadly" or an "unfortunately" before "it was digital." As I was leaving my family on Christmas Eve to schlep halfway across the neighborhood to find a parking meter and fight the crowds and stand in the last-minute shopper line at the comics store, I would have given my left chestnut to an open fire if I could have gotten some ****ing digital comics today. I see your store didn’t have half your books today. Sadly, unfortunately. (I kid. Sort of.)

  4. whew, I’m glad I’m not alone in liking this book (so far), I was afraid I would get lambasted or something…heh.  Nova #20 was a close second.

    @jimski you bring a good point.  I subtetly come off anti-digital comics, don’t I? but there’s something special about holding the Holiday Special in my hands, maybe I’m sentimental, I don’t know.  But I do know that I’ve gone back and read tis year’s holiday special at least 4 times already…so maybe I like it more than I let on

  5. Nice review Ron.  This was also my POTW on a light pull week.  Not an epic issue, but served as a denouement for Secret Invasion and an Avengers intro to Dark Reign.  I’m amazed I don’t have Spiderman and Wolverine fatigue by now, but Bendis just writes them so well.  Plus, there was that nice "Godfather" moment at the end (why do I think that Skrull Jarvis is already on Osborn’s payroll?).  My only critique is the number of peeps on the team.  Cover only shows five; but I count nine in the book, minus Iron Fist (which seems excessive).  Too many heroes can bog things down (kinda like what happened on the show "Heroes"; until their recent pairing down).  Looking forward to see where this series goes.

  6. I just thought it was a shame that no one on the New Avengers squad had a mutant ability that would help them track the baby from Avengers Tower to where it was.  That would have come in handy.  I thought it was a good issue, but if Wolverine couldn’t follow the scent for some reason I would have at least liked to have that mentioned.  Nice to see an Avengers book that is more than a crutch for an event, though.  I really hope this keeps up.

  7. P.S. – Although I also enjoy reading the POTW reviews on the lesser known/read/pulled titles; it’s kinda nice to see a more "mainstream" book (e.g., New Avengers) in the spotlight.

  8. AWESOME!!!!

  9. great pick! i also picked this. i absolutely LOVE the new avenger line-up right now. if only iron fist was in it full time then it would be one of the best team ups ever.

  10. This book was awesome. Truly rarefied!

  11. The backbone of the Marvel Universe has returned.

  12. I read Hulk #9 and said, "My God, this book is horrible!" Then I read new Avengers #48 and said "My God, this book is fantastic!" This was easily my Pick of the week. Outstanding issue all around.

  13. Great pick Ron.  I also love that Wolverine can confidently buy beer while wearing spandex.

  14. @JohnVFerrigno – You just wanted to throw mud at Hulk. Oy.

    @Ron – I’m jumping on New Avengers with this issue, so it’s good to hear nice things about it to keep me from going into it with a negative preconception. That aside, how is Runaways going for ya?

  15. And Ultimatum is taking a page from 52.

  16. I knew this’d be awesome when I saw the cover in SI’s Dark Reign preview special. My Christmas wish is that Brubaker incorporates this into his Cap’ (DROPPED BUCKY SUR NOW) story sooner than later. It’d be nice to see him write some more Avengers, maybe even the Hulk someday? Which saddens me really, thinking of how far removed the Hulk is from what’s currently taking place in the 616, so much so, I can’t even fathom an appearance from him in a Brubaker or Bendis book?

  17. Very good book. It’s always good to see Jessica Jones kicking ass. Having just reread the Alias hardcover, it was even more sweet. BMB has a real handle on this group or characters aand I’m looking forward to what’s coming up in this book.

    Only one false note in the entire issue, and it’s one of those nit picky ones: Norman’s final line, which you quoted, doesn’t sound Norman-esque. Now, "Let’s go get your daughter," or "Let’s go get your little girl" would. Other than that, darn near perfect.

  18. This issue was enjoyable, as was Immortal Iron Fist– and Thor was outstanding as always.  However, as a Batman fan, I giggled like a schoolgirl at the ending of Batman this week– the last 2 pages were worth the price of admission– and that was my POW. 

    But, good to see New Avengers having an enjoyable issue outside of the big crossover– well, until those last 2 pages, anyway.

  19. good chioce

     happy holidays iFanbase from sunny canberra

  20. i love Its A Wonderful Life so good and this was a GREAT issue.

  21. The cover looks like someone told them to assume an angry pose and to not look at the camera…

  22. I haven’t read my whole stack yet this week, but this was defintiely the most anticipated read for just th reasons you said Ron. This book brings me back to when I first started reading the New Avengers and was loving every page. Billy Tan’s work here was really excellent. Great action and, where it needed it, wonderfully rendered emotional scenes.

    The scene with the Jessica and the Skrull woman and that gunshot was heartwrenching. I so wanted to slap that SHIELD agent!

    Good pick for the holidays!

  23. I thought it was really good also. My store didn’t get Guerillas #3 either so it may have been my POTW.

  24. It’s disturbing how validated I feel when my POW is also the iFanboy POW.

    This was not only the best New Avengers in a while, it was the best comic I’ve read in a while. Do we need any more proof that the Bendis-haters have lost their minds? 🙂

    Sue’s reaction to baby Cage’s kidnapping was just so picture perfect.

  25. The only complaint I have and its kinda a minor one, is what the hell happened to echo? why did everyone one eldse get invited back but not her?

  26. After Clint passed the info on to Spider-Man, he punctuated it with "Oh, and the deaf girl I was banging… make sure nobody invites her, please."

  27. lol its what it seemed like.

    Oh yay! my wife is back! now I can shack up with her instead of the ninja deaf girl

    man Barton is a man hor

  28. Does that mean maybe Luke Cage will be that Iron Man/Capt America figure in Dark Reign?
  29. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Skrull Spider-Woman sure looked like she killed Echo in the Savage Land.

  30. @mike – Why would Luke Cage need armor though?  

  31. To hide his shame-filled face. After all that year-long talk about his principles and not selling out, I’d want a mask to hide my shame, too.

  32. @Tork: There is very little shame in wanting to find your child.

  33. I’m not saying it isn’t justified, it totally is, but I know if I’m been talking up a streak about never selling out to Tony Stark and giving Jessica a hard time for running to Avengers Tower for the sake of the baby, I know I wouldn’t want to show my face in the midst of Osborn’s Gestapo if I have the choice, no matter how noble his decision was.

  34. @Tork – Everything changes when your baby is in harm’s way.  Jessica did what she thought she had to do to protect her child, and now Luke is in the exact same situation.  People will do anything to save their child.  And it’s 10x worse than the Tony STark situation now that the baby has been kidnapped.  Had the baby been kidnapped before and only Tony could have helped, Luke would have gone to him too, no questions asked.  All bets are off when your child’s life is involved.

  35. I’m not saying he isn’t acting like he should. If I had a kid and the kid was in danger, I’d probably blow up a city block if it ensured my child’s safe return. I’m just saying after Osborn finds the kid and comes to collect, Cage would probably not like to advertise what he’s done to keep his kid safe especially how he postured himself after Civil War.  I’m not trying to say he’s doing wrong particularly, just that he probably would want to hide his face when he’s running with the Dark Avengers after the child is returned.

  36. I totally forgot that clint and Echo were together.  Man, Secret Invasion did last a long time.

  37. Ok, If she’s dead then why does no one care?

  38. I also thought Echo died in the Savage Land, but I’m reasonably sure — though I wouldn’t swear to it — that we saw her alive and walking around after that scene.  She’s also being teased as being part of the new cast of a book that’s about to be relaunched (‘Black Panther’ maybe?) so I assume she’s not dead. She and the Sentry did just both seem to disappear, though, without being mentioned again.

  39. @ohcaroline: Sentry is reappearing in the new Punisher comic coming out next year. I believe the rumor is he is Osborn’s silent bodyguard from that horrible Dark Reign one-shot.

    Cause when I think of a bodyguard; oh yeah I think of a whiny, crying, and eventually runs away type of bodyguard with The Sentry. *rolls eyes*

  40. Sentry and Punisher is a nice combo since I’m not interested in reading either.  Hopefully there will be a creative team I dislike as well!

  41. I was certain the guy behind the door was the Purple Man, but the Sentry works, too.

  42. Wasn’t there some splash-page ad in previous week’s books that Echo is Black Panther in that title’s relaunch?

  43. Wikipedia knows little more than I do:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_(comics)#Secret_Invasion

    Later, she encounters Spider-Woman, who is actually the Skrull Queen and the force behind the Invasion. "Spider-Woman" incapacitates Echo by repeatedly blasting her with venom blasts and then slams her into a nearby tree trunk. Echo helps the other Avengers kill all the other Skrull impostors, then heads to New York and confronts an army of Super Skrulls along with various other heroes and villains. She is not seen with the New Avengers when they meet after the final battle.

  44. wow. how could they don’t have daredevil or runaway in every lcs?

  45. Comic book racism?

  46. @excalipoor.  Didn’t know people were having troubles getting that one in this week.  My shop had excess copies of both.

  47. Bendis’ secret invasion books have been awesome lately, with the exception of the "actual" mini series.  These followups are awesome.

  48. This one was pretty good.  I hope the team roster stays like this for a while.

    It did kinda bother me that Iron Fist said he was dropping the team, then right that second Luke Cage says his baby is missing, the team goes out to find the baby, without Iron Fist.  Iron Fist is going to tell his best buddy, "Sorry you kid is missing, but I gotta go"? 

  49. Iron Fist is seen with Spider-Woman taking out HYDRA agents during the "tree shaking" montage so, yeah, he was helping to find Danielle.

  50. Ah!  So he was. Danny Rand, I take back all the bad things I said about you.

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