Civil War: New Avengers #21 Review

Marvel is pimping New Avengers #21 as “Avengers Disassembled Book 1.” Oh wow, never seen that before. Marvel also puts on their website that “You think Marvel would never screw with their top selling book? Wrong!! The Avengers are about to go to war over their beliefs and the shake up will shock you.” Um, no, I totally think that Marvel would screw with the Avengers. Why they did it less than two years ago. And this new story arc is going to have a shake up that will “shock” me? More than making Scarlet Witch and insane murderer who then kills Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Vision and the Jack of Hearts? Um, nope. I don’t think anything could shock me more than that. Thanks, Marvel! And thank you, Bendis! Seriously, how many times does Bendis feel he needs to “disassemble” the Avengers? Once every year or two? Anyway, let’s go to the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: This issue starts with Captain America trying to clear his mind and focus on just drawing. To forget about everything that is going on with the events of Civil War. To forget all about his past. To forget about all the political drama and state of affairs in America that have paved the way for the passage of the Super Hero Registration Act. To forget that he is now a war criminal.

While deep in thought, Captain America is suddenly surrounded by a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents designed to hunt down rogue super heroes. And it is official! We have a braaaaawwwl! Captain America opens up a huge can of whoop ass on the S.H.I.E.L.D. hero hunting soldiers. The last standing soldier takes off his helmet and reveals himself. It is Dum Dum Dugan! Dum Dum tells Captain America to take him out or he will arrest Cap. Captain America knocks Dum Dum out and then mimics his voice and radios S.H.I.E.L.D. telling them that Captain America is dead and for them to stay put until they finish sweeping the area. Then Captain America make his escape through the sewer system.

We then shift to Captain America waking up in a secret hideout with the Falcon next to him. Captain America questions the Falcon to make sure it really is him. The Falcon tells Cap that he didn’t sign the Registration form. The Falcon says that he will stand by Captain America’s side and fight against Iron Man’s pro-registration side. Captain America then tells Falcon that they need to go put a team together.

We cut to Captain America and Falcon on a roof top across from the Sentry’s Tower and they see Spider-Man web slinging his was over to the Tower. The Falcon is surprised that Spider-Man would side with Iron Man and the pro-registration side. Suddenly we hear gunshots and Captain America and Falcon go to stop the crime.

We shift to Dr. Henry Pym’s office. Pym is watching the new report of Captain America and the Falcon stopping a crime and then running away from the police. Suddenly, Captain America and the Falcon enter through Pym’s window. Captain America asks Hank to join his side. Pym says that he signed the Registration form and then he sides with Tony Stark. Pym then tries to convince Captain America to stop opposing them and to join them.

Captain America is unhappy by Pym’s decision and when he tries to leave, Pym grows into Giant Man size and tries to stop Captain America and Falcon. Captain America threatens Pym to get out of their way or he will be in for a world of hurt. Hank says that he told them that he would not fight Cap and that Pym said he would just hold Captain America and Falcon here until they could get here. Suddenly, S.H.I.E.L.D. hero hunting soldiers appear outside the window. Captain America nails Pym in the nose with his shield and he and Falcon make their escape.

Maria Hill and more agents burst through the door of Pym’s lab. Hill gives her soldiers permission to follow and engage Captain America. We then see Captain America and the Falcon hiding under a water tower while the S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers go flying by. Falcon asks Captain America who is next. Our answer is the teaser for next issue: Luke Cage.

The Good: New Avengers #21 was ok, but that is about it. There wasn’t much that really impressed me with this issue. I did absolutely love the fight scene in the beginning between Captain America and all the S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. It is always fun to watch Captain America kick ass. And Maria Hill sending Dum Dum on this mission was a great way to show how dirty Hill is fighting against Captain America. Not only does she want Cap caught, but she wants him to suffer in the process.

That is about it as far as what I thought was really enjoyable with this issue. I think that Bendis does a decent job writing Captain America. Millar and Brubaker definitely do a much better job writing Captain America, but Bendis turns in a respectable Captain America. He definitely got the ass-kicking part of Captain America down pretty well with this issue. And the line where Cap tells Pym about the difference between wartime battle and the kind super heroes do and for Pym to stand down or he will find out the difference was pretty cool. Bendis managed to get across Cap’s willingness to crack skulls of even his friends if they should get in his way.

It is no surprise that the first person to join up with Captain America is the Falcon. Whenever Cap is in real trouble it seems that Sam is always there to help him. I was a bit surprised that after Spider-Man, Captain America’s next choice was Hank Pym. I think Pym has been one of the most mismanaged characters in the history of the Avengers. It was nice to see that despite his troubles past, that Captain America clearly thinks very highly of Pym. And Pym’s bitter reacting to Maria Hill telling him that he did a good job was nice to see. Pym is definitely not thrilled about having to fight his friends. This scene did a good job showing the terrible and painful divide that the Registration Act is causing between the Avengers.

The Bad: New Avengers #21 basically just fills in the gap between Civil War #1 and Civil War #2. That is a bit of a disappointment. I really didn’t need to see how Captain America assembled his little band of warriors. I thought the members of Captain America’s team in Civil War #2 was pretty obvious and had no surprise members. I’m not too sure if we really need to spend several issues on him gather the obvious heroes that will side with his view of the Registration Act.

Overall, New Avengers #21 was just underwhelming. It wasn’t all that exciting and nothing new happened. It had a ton of re-hashing of the debate about the Registration Act that we have read ad-naseum in Amazing Spider-Man, the Illuminati, Civil War and Civil War: Frontline. It feels like I’m trapped in a mobius strip and I keep reading the same stuff over and over.

I also am unimpressed with the fact that, for the most part, Marvel has failed miserably to be fair and balanced in their presentation of both the pro and anti sides. After reading Jenkins on Civil War: Frontline and Bendis on this title, it is painfully obvious that Marvel wants us to view the pro side as the good guys and the anti side as the bad guys. Honestly, Millar is the only writer that has come close to even trying to show both sides in some type of fair and equal light. And that is impressive since usually I have found that Miller has a problem letting him ultra-liberal views color his storylines. Bendis definitely wants us to be on the side of the anti-registration side. There is little to no doubt about that.

I’m also not really sure I like how Bendis writes the Falcon. Maybe I’m wrong, but The Falcon’s dialogue read more like Luke Cage’s dialogue. Maybe Bendis thinks that every black character has to speak in this style of dialogue. I don’t know. I just think that it would be nice if Bendis could write Cage and Sam differently. Because, right now, they are reading as if they are the same character. Or maybe that is just me. Maybe it is because I have the Ultimate version of Sam Wilson fresh in my mind from Ultimate Extinction.

While I liked part of Bendis’ Captain America, I wasn’t really thrilled with how bleeding heart Bendis wrote him. Plus, he seemed a bit weak in mind and spirit. I like a more stoic and strong Captain America who attacks ever challenge like a true soldier. This version of Captain America is more of that bleeding heart sensitive version of Captain America that I have never liked.

I’m also not sold that Captain America would go against his government after such a terrible tragedy. This is the ultimate “good soldier” from the 1940’s. I think it would be more likely that Captain America would support his government and then try and find a way to change things from the inside.

Personally, I just didn’t dig the art in this issue. I’m just not a fan of Howard Chaykin’s style. It is as simple as that. If you like Chaykin’s artwork then enjoy.

Overall: I found New Avengers #21 to be flat and rather uninspiring. Nothing new happened in this issue. It wasn’t particularly interesting. I didn’t find the dialogue to be enthralling. Bendis continues to un-impress me on the Avengers. Hopefully, the next issue will be more exciting. I still can’t recommend the New Avengers to anyone.