New Avengers #3
By Colin Andersen
August 20, 2010 - 15:42
Publisher(s): Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller(s): Stuart Immonen
Inker(s): Wade Von Grawbadger
Colourist(s): Laura Martin
Letterer(s): Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artist(s): Stuart Immonen
For some reason, I feel like New Avengers has become the least noticed and appreciated Avengers series of the four that started post-Siege, which is kind of ironic given that, until recently, it was the main Avengers series. This a shame because it is just shy of Secret Avengers quality and one of my favorite books on the stands now. I will admit that I was getting very tired of New Avengers before the restart a few months ago. The stories all felt very recycled and the art just didn’t seem that great to me, which is strange considering the artist on it now, Stuart Immonen was also the artist at the end of the last New Avengers series, but it feels much stronger now. I’m pleased to say that Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen have been able to make me as excited about this series as I used to be.
The story picks up right where #2 left off: with the sky being ripped open by invading demons from another dimension and overrunning New York. The New Avengers head into the city to defend civilians while those better versed in magic (Doctor Strange, Doctor Voodoo, and Daimon Hellstrom) try and figure exactly what dimension is invading. This leads to one of my favorite new additions of the series: little title cards that give a name and description of every spell used by the magic wielders. This sounds little, but it goes a long way to making these characters feel less like walking deus ex machinas and more like people that operate within some kind of rules like all the other heroes do. This make them much more interesting to have around and their scenes are some of the most fascinating.
A good chunk of this issue is also devoted to Danny Rand, AKA Iron Fist, who was possessed and teleported away by the villains last issue. It is really great that Bendis gives him some more prominent exposure this issue and I really enjoyed these sections, especially with how Bendis incorporated Iron Fist’s too-often-ignored back story. It was nice to see “The Molten Heart of the Dragon Shou-Lao” actually brought up outside of Iron Fist’s own mini-series from not too long ago. This section of the book also allows for the last-page reveal of the main villain of this arc and it proves to be an interesting one indeed. I’m curious to see how this plays out in future issues.
Bendis is also able to significantly improve his oft-scorned use of banter between the heroes. For those of you that don’t know, this means that he tends to write all of his heroes like Spider-Man and have them throwing jokes around constantly during battle, even when it doesn’t seem in character. That is toned down quite a bit here and when it is used, it is mainly between the Thing and Spider-Man, both of whom are characters that would behave like that normally, so it isn’t too much of a problem, though it does still go just a little overboard in one scene. I also didn’t really like the handling of Victoria Hand much this issue. I am aware she’s being forced into a job she doesn’t want in this series, but she comes off way different than she did in Dark Avengers. In that book, she was mostly cool and collected, but here she always seems as though she is just there to swear and feels mostly shoe-horned in at this point. Hopefully, her role will be expanded up more in the coming issues because she could be a nice foil to all the hero characters.
I take back everything bad that I had to say about Stuart Immonen’s previous work on New Avengers. He has improved his work so much since then that I can’t believe it. Though I have always been a fan of his, his art for the last issues of the previous volume all felt rushed and everything had a strange gloss and looked, well, almost gooey. Here, however, he has managed to really clean his work back up and every character looks excellent. I especially love the way he draws the Thing, though his size does seem to change in some panels. The sky actually does look like it is ripping open and I’m overall very pleased with his work.
New Avengers has definitely improved since its relaunch after Siege. It is no longer the stagnant series it had become and even though it still has mostly the same cast, everything just feels more consistent and refined than before and this makes it a much better series. It still has some kinks to work out, but I think Bendis is really managing to hit his stride with New Avengers once again.
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