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New Avengers, Vol. 6: Revolution (v. 6) Paperback – November 21, 2007
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Bendis wrote 232 Avengers comics -- a record. His 2004 to 2009 run was inspired. I'm a massive fan of Civil War and the Skrull Invasion. Bendis is a master at characterization and dialogue. Unfortunately, the last couple of years have been weak -- Fear Itself and the Avengers vs. X-Men storylines were forced, bulky and too heavy on action.
This trade reads well and is a good book. I do recommend it. It's just not up to par with his other Avengers work.
(1) Simon Williams attacks the Avengers in the Annuals that kick off the trade (something that Benids foreshadowed 2 years ago). He blames them for a variety of problems (Civil War, Scarlet Witch, Ultron) and says the Avengers should not exist. A few issues later, he returns and is semi-easily accepted back into the fold. Not cool (I'm still having a hard time accepting the Cap-Iron Man peace).
(2) The Wasp is alive. She was killed during the Skrull Invasion, and then brought back 5 years later in this trade. It seemed like Bendis was bold when he took over the book and killed off Hawkeye, Antman (Scott Lang, not Pym), the Wasp, and a few other characters, but none of the iconic (or semi-iconic) characters remained dead. Ah, the problems with having to sell a comic forever (see Jason Todd).
Bendis is great. I love his writing. He's my favorite author that works for the big 2, and it's not really close. That said, he made a good choice in leaving the Avengers when he did. It's time to move on.
We also get the New Avengers coming into conflict with the Hand, which would eventually lead directly into the Secret Invasion story. Overall some good stuff here, though the art wasn't my favorite. One thing I enjoyed about this team of established heroes coming together is when some characters are familiar with some things in the Marvel Universe and others are not, such as Spider-Man and Iron Man knowing Brother Voodoo when Wolverine and Ms. Marvel had no idea who he was. Bendis has always been good at that sort of thing.
NEW AVENGERS Vol. 12: POWERLOSS collects issues #55-60 and, after the "Search for the Sorcerer Supreme" eff-up of a story arc, this new stretch of issues has to be, just has to be, an improvement. And it is, mostly. But, dammit, here's Parker Robbins still running around, powerless now, what with the Dread Dormammu having just been exorcised from the Hood's body (issue #54). Blast that Loki for stepping in. The premise of the "Power Loss" arc centers on one of the Hood's flunkies unearthing a power-dampening device, and you right away see where this is going. In Times Square, a trap is sprung, the device activated, and the outlaw Avengers are stripped of their super powers.
It's maybe even a bit humiliating that the outlaw Avengers weren't even the primary targets. The Hood having scampered off with Loki and Madame Masque, his absence causes a power vacuum in his network of loser super-goons, until one of them arrives at the notion of making a deal with Norman Osborn, using the power-dampening weapon as a bargaining chip. So the targets were actually the Dark Avengers, necessary as guinea pigs for a demo of the device. Moments after the New Avengers are struck down, Osborn and his Dark Avengers do show up.
I've always liked Mockingbird, even much more than her DC counterpart Black Canary. She's the only one not to be affected by the power dampener and she quickly springs into action in defense of her fallen teammates, and I'm simply digging her moxie. She knows she's ridiculously outgunned, but she goes for it, anyway. Also, somewhen around this issue, NEW AVENGERS continuity must have caught up with her and Clint Barton's REUNION mini-series, because she's rocking her new (but not improved) costume. By the way, what am I missing that I can't figure out why Clint WAS taken out by the power dampener. Isn't he all native skills, no super powers?
The most seriously afflicted is Luke Cage whose loss of power induces an immediate cardiac arrest, and the rest of these issues focus on his teammates and other friends rallying around him. Luke Cage, front and center, always translates to good stories. At death's door and still being badasss, Luke's come a long way from mediocrity to A-Lister. I've said this before, but he and his wife Jessica shares one of the most real relationships in comics, and their interactions are always a highlight for me. But it's not just about him. Somewhere in here, the Hood gets back in the picture (a pox on Loki!) but, thankfully, he's not featured as heavily. Norman Osborn is, and every time I see him I'm just raring for him to get what's coming to him. Those looking for a silver lining in the cloudy Dark Reign era should be gratified to learn that the Goblin does get royally punked not once but twice, first by the Hood's flunkies and, much later, in a sweeeeeet flim flam pulled off by the New Avengers.
Stuart Immonen as the new artist, no complaints. I'm a fan of his and I wish he'd stayed on the new ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN. Still, I like his stuff here. Bendis is always good for funny banter and good character moments. I just wish he'd get a move on already. One ongoing quibble I've had with this series is that, because of the non-stop mega-events it's had to endure, NEW AVENGERS has for a long time now been running in place. Currently, it's stuck in DARK REIGN shenanigans, and things are at a standstill as Norman Osborn runs the Marvel Universe to the ground. Hopefully, there's SIEGE and then we're done with him and it's on to Brightest Da-- I mean, Heroic Age, and on to whatever new iterations of the Avengers. But I'm getting pretty fed up with these Avengers' "outlaw" status.
Other complaints I got (and maybe a SPOILER ALERT stamp for the next two sentences): I do believe continuity gets smacked around in issue #59 as Iron Fist somehow ends up in two places at one time during the Avengers' two-pronged strike. How can he be both at Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. and on the helicarrier? Another thing that bugged me: Hawkeye's been thru some rough times but, if I remember right, back during the West Coast Avengers run, wasn't he the one who condemned Bobbi for killing someone (someone who'd assaulted her)? And yet here's Clint, vowing to personally kill Norman Osborn. I dunno, this seems too much of a 180. I guess a man can change... Also, not that it's a big thing, but a few of the covers are misleading. One features Spidey and Spider Woman standing back to back suggesting that a wicked drubbing is about to be handed out by them. The other has a triumphant Hood looming over a group of beaten down Avengers.
Now the stuff I liked: The cool skirmishes (Mockingbird in action, weakened Spidey still going at Iron Patriot, Ms. Marvel slugging Iron Patriot, Captain America taking on Ares, the whole "Let's get Luke back!" caper, etc.). And Spidey's conversation with Jessica Jones and his more heated debate with Clint. I enjoyed the makeshift Defenders reunion, as well as the other obscure characters who make a cameo. I like that Wolverine is AWOL for this adventure (he's away on X-Men business). It's not that I dislike him, but it makes total sense to me that Logan would miss a mission or two as he's on so many friggin' teams. Last, I thought it was funny that Bullseye gets a bit miffed when Iron Patriot neglects to say "Avengers Assemble!"
And then there's Luke Cage getting the last word in:
- After two of Power Man's friends shrink themselves to investigate a miniature device implanted within Luke's body, Spider-Man comments to Luke: "Weird. You have two men inside you."
- Luke Cage's quick response: "Don't say that again."