New Avengers #26 Review

The Revolution was under the impression that Avengers #26 was another Civil War tie-in issue. However, Avengers #26 doesn’t have one of those standard issue dreaded Civil War tie-in covers that beats you over the head with the fact that it is a tie-in issue. This gives me hope. Maybe we will get an Avengers story that has nothing to do with Civil War. Plus, we get stud artist Alex Maleev in this issue which is always a good thing. Bendis and Maleev created magic during their incredible run on Daredevil. Let’s see if they can do it in Avengers #26. Let’s hit the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene several months ago. We see Hawkeye waking up having been brought back to life again. He is at the Avenger’s mansion which is still damaged from the attack by the Scarlet Witch when Hawkeye was killed. Hawkeye sifts through the rubble and finds a newspaper clipping reporting his death. He then takes off his costume and hangs it up in the old Avengers meeting room next to the article reporting his death.

We shift to Hawkeye visiting Dr. Strange. Dr. Strange is shocked to see Hawkeye alive. Dr. Strange fills Hawkeye in about the events of M day and that Wanda has been missing ever since. That Dr. Strange cannot track her down. That Wanda is either not using her powers anymore or she may have killed herself.

Hawkeye doesn’t think that Wanda would kill herself. Dr. Strange asks Hawkeye if he can call the Avengers and tell them that he is alive and well. Hawkeye says no. That he is not ready yet. That he has to figure out exactly what has happened. That he feels the need to speak to Wanda. To find out why she is all of this. Dr. Strange says that whatever Hawkeye finds will not help him feel better about what’s happened. That it may make things worse.

Hawkeye said he will go to Genosha first where she was last seen. And if she isn’t there then he will go to Wundagore Mountain. We then cut to Hawkeye arriving at Wundagore Mountain. He sees a kid robbing a woman. Hawkeye takes out the mugger and the woman that he saved turns out to be none other than Wanda Maximoff! Hawkeye passes out from the shock.

Hawkeye wakes up and finds himself at Wanda’s house. Wanda tells Hawkeye that the town doctor is out of town so she brought him to her place. Wanda tells Hawkeye to be quiet because her Aunt Agatha is asleep. Wanda asks Hawkeye if he is American. Wanda then asks him why he is here at Wundagore Mountain. Hawkeye responds that he is looking for a friend. Wanda then introduces herself to Hawkeye as Wanda Maximoff. Hawkeye introduces himself as Clint Barton.

Wanda thanks Hawkeye for his help with the mugger. That since she is a woman without a man that she is a frequent target. Wanda tells Hawkeye that she has been in this small town her entire life. That he family is gone except for her Aunt Agatha. Wanda says that she doesn’t read the news that much. Hawkeye asks her if she knows anything about what happened to the Avengers. Wanda says no. Wanda says that the Avengers came to the Mountains once but not by her town.

Hawkeye tells Wanda that one of the Avengers’ own members attacked them. Wanda asked if the Avengers that were attacked were all right. Hawkeye responds no. Wanda then offers Hawkeye to help him find his friend. Hawkeye says that his friend is not here.

Hawkeye begins to have a total breakdown. He says how he lost someone important. That he lost so much and her cam to this town for closure. That a friend told him that he wouldn’t find the closure that he wanted. That his friend was right.

Wanda tells Hawkeye that whenever she has a feeling like Hawkeye has now that is doing him little good and he doesn’t want it anymore then if he is done with it to just let it go.

Hawkeye looks stunned. Wanda then tells Hawkeye that his trip wasn’t a total loss. That he got to be her hero. And with that Wanda and Hawkeye proceed to have S-E-X, baby! Cue the Barry White because it is time to get it on!

We cut to Hawkeye waking up from their booty session. Hawkeye walks down the hall to a room with closed doors where Aunt Agatha is supposedly “sleeping.” Hawkeye starts to open the doors and thinks about Dr. Strange telling him that Hawkeye will probably only find something that will make things worse. Hawkeye decides not to open the doors and dresses and leaves Wanda’s house. End of issue.

The Good: Wait a minute. What just happened? Did I just read a New Avengers issue and totally love it? I’m shocked. I’m stunned. New Avengers #26 was a fantastic issue. The old Daredevil team of Bendis and Maleev worked this incredible magic one more time with New Avengers #26.

Bendis really turned in a beautifully written story. This issue had a wonderful flow to it. It came in waves and just lapped over the reader pulling up deeper and deeper into the story. There was an eerie tranquil beauty about this issue. The story was subdued and yet very powerful. The writing was almost poetic.

As always, Bendis serves up some well crafted dialogue that is very natural and has a good flow. And good dialogue always generates good chemistry between the various characters. Bendis has always been capable of creating incredible dialogue. I think that his trademark excellent dialogue has been missing from New Avengers for a while. It was good to see it once again.

And Bendis also used the literary weapon of silence very effectively in this issue. This issue was not crammed with dialogue. Bendis sometimes is guilty of slamming a bit too much dialogue into an issue. However, Bendis shows that sometimes less is more. There are many panels with no dialogue. The proper use of silence only intensifies Hawkeye’s feelings of being lost and confused.

New Avengers #26 just shows that when Bendis isn’t trying to preach to the reader he is capable of delivering a wonderful story. This issue also re-enforces the fact that Bendis is clearly more comfortable writing an issue surrounding a solo character rather than a team of characters. However, this is one spotlight issue that I don’t mind getting. Hawkeye has been missing for quite awhile and it was time to fill the readers in on what Hawkeye has been up to since he was brought back to life.

Hawkeye has always been one of my favorite Avengers so it was great to see him back and among the land of the living. Bendis crafts an excellent Hawkeye. After being killed not only once, but twice, by a woman that he loves it is completely understandable that Hawkeye would be a broken man who feels completely lost.

I thought the scene with Dr. Strange was perfect. Bendis is able to show how Hawkeye feels driven to see Wanda despite the fact that nothing good can come from it. However, the scenes with Hawkeye and Wanda were absolute magic. The chemistry between these two characters was spot on. The confusion and feelings the overwhelming lack of closure that is crushing Hawkeye was powerful and flooded the reader. The scene where Hawkeye just cracks when he realizes that Wanda has no memories of her former life was excellent.

Hawkeye’s initial reaction to seeing Wanda was great. He faints. That is probably the most realistic reaction on Hawkeye’s part. And the following scene between Wanda and Hawkeye was full of tension and an awkward and uncomfortable silence. And this is exactly what you would expect when a person is face to face with their killer. Especially when the killer has no memory of the past events.

I loved the ending. It was perfect for this story. We know that Aunt Agatha is dead. That Wanda is imagining that Agatha is still alive. Hawkeye has a feeling that something not right is going on with Aunt Agatha. Dr. Strange’s words ring prophetically true in Hawkeye’s mind that this trip would probably just lead to him feeling worse rather than better. With that, Hawkeye decides to not open the door. Hawkeye knows that at this point, there are some things better left unknown. That Hawkeye has to take all these feeling about Wanda and what happened and just purge them from his soul and let them slide away.

Then ending was cold and lonely and yet very touching and beautiful all at the same time. After what Hawkeye has gone through, he is most definitely a changed man. Bendis has taken this opportunity to use the events of the House of M to take the resident wise cracking cavalier Hawkeye and give him a sorrow and an edge that he has never had before. Like I said, I have always liked Hawkeye, but this issue made me like his character even more. Hawkeye becomes a much more intriguing character due to the events of House of M. It should be interesting to see what Bendis has in store for Hawkeye.

Alex Maleev’s art was perfect for this issue. I wouldn’t have chosen another artist to handle this story. Maleev’s style is an excellent match for this lonely soul searching story.

The Bad: I don’t know if I would have sex with the woman who killed me not only once, but twice. I know that Wanda is hot and that Hawkeye has always loved her, but c’mon, she killed him. Twice! I’m just not buying this.

Bendis is incredibly talented and flat out knows how to write a solo title. However, it is painfully obvious that he struggles mightily under the load of a large cast of characters that you usually get on a team title. Bendis knows this weakness and that is why the past six issues including New Avengers #26 have all been spotlight issues. #25 was a spotlight on Iron Man, #24 was a spotlight on the Sentry, #23 was a spotlight on Spider-Woman, #22 was a spotlight on Luke Cage, and #21 was a spotlight on Captain America.

Yup, that is half a year without putting out an issue centered around more than one character. That is practically unheard of for a team title. This is the main reason why I just don’t think Bendis’ talents are suited for being the writer on the Avengers.

Overall: Man, this issue made me realize how much I miss Bendis and Maleev’s Daredevil. New Avengers #26 was an extremely pleasant surprise. It was great to actually get a quality read on this title for the first time in a very long time. Unfortunately, the Civil War tie-ins get cranked back up with the next issue. At least, I got treated to an absolute gem of a story in this issue.