New Avengers #17 Review

The “New” Avengers is turning out to be a solid title but has definitely fallen short of the lofty expectations that Marvel built up when they re-started this title from #1. I’m not really too sure if this title is getting better or if it is merely treading water. Anyway, grab a malted beverage and read the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Inker: Joe Pimentel

Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 5.

Synopsis: The issue starts in some ghetto area of Detroit. The Avengers appear on this desolate scene to the surprise of the locals and the media. They start helping the residents and beating up the criminals lurking in the neighborhood. The media comes to the scene and asks Captain America why they are in their Detroit ghetto. Captain America directs all the questions to Luke Cage.

Cage says that when he joined the Avengers he wanted them to do more than fight aliens or supervillains. He wanted them to tackle street crime during their “downtime.” It is based on something called “impact police work” where city cops flood an area of a really bad neighborhood and after a week or two then move them to another neighborhood and do the same thing. The aftereffect is that the crime in the neighborhood stays down since the criminals don’t know when the cops would come back. So, the Avengers now do “impact super-hero work.”

The Avengers then get a distress call from SHIELD. The unknown fiery alien from the last issue has just wiped out all of Alpha Flight. The Avengers plus Ms. Marvel or Warbird or whatever the hell she is being called this week, arrive at the scene. Captain America tries to get the Sentry to join them, but he is having one of his “bad days” and won’t respond to Captain America. (Schizos are so unreliable.)

Iron Man goes to engage the fiery alien and tries to talk to him. The fiery guy says his name is Michael and before the alien can say anything else, Carol Danvers pounds the guy. There is a sudden explosion and the issue ends with Carol Danvers looking like she did when she was Binary.

The Good: Bendis turned in a solid issue, but not spectacular. This has pretty much been his track records with the New Avengers. Again, Bendis does come up with good dialogue since that is his strength. I absolutely loved the “Super-Hero Impact Work” storyline. I think it makes the Avengers more in touch with reality. A super-hero team should exist to do more than just fight super-villains that only exist to fight the super-heroes. But, this can’t be just a throwaway plotline. Bendis has to make this a re-occurring theme in the title in order for this to not seem like a total waste of a plotline.

I like that Bendis is using the fact that Peter Parker is actually a science genius. It seems that aspect of Peter’s character was lost a while ago. I’m glad Bendis is once again playing up this aspect of Peter. It makes Peter more developed and interesting rather than just being the silly jokester. What was cool about Peter Parker was that he was a total brainiac like Reed Richards and Tony Stark, but still viewed himself as an “average joe” and, unlike the other brainiacs; Peter has a sense of humor.

Lastly, Mike Deodato’s art absolutely rocks! The Revolution is a huge fan of Deodato’s stuff. His male characters look tough and his women characters look hot. He puts plenty of detail into his art. His characters all have plenty of emotions and expressions. Pimentel’s inks go well with Deodato’s art and give it wonderful depth and texture.

The Bad: The plot seems to be lumbering on like a lazy whale. Honestly, almost nothing happened in this issue. I don’t mind some setup or a gradual build-up to a big issue. I don’t mind plotlines that move at a measured pace. However, this plot is barely moving at all. I like a writer to take his time, but Bendis really needs to pick up the pace just a little bit. This almost felt like a wasted issue. You had seven pages spent hanging in the ‘hood. Two pages recapping the last issue. Six pages dedicating to just flying to the alien’s location and preparing to engage him. Then, just seven pages of contact with the alien.

While I loved the “Super-Hero Impact Work,” I cringed that it had to be Luke Cage’s idea and that he was the one that had to explain it to the reporter. Once again, if it is “urban” then only a black character can be involved. Only a black character would care about helping out the ghettos of our country. It is just so stereotypical. If it is science-related then trot out the white guys like Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Reed Richards, etc. But, if it is “urban” in any way, shape or form, then bring out the black super-hero. C’mon Bendis, you are more creative than that.

Finally, all the members of Alpha Flight better not be dead. I’m over Bendis and his obsession with big body counts. If Bendis doesn’t like a character then they must die! Ooookay.