Marvel Comics has used The Initiative to split the Avengers in half and give us two Avengers titles. After all, if the X-Men can have two titles then why can’ the Avengers, huh? New Avengers will focus on our rag tag heroes who are still fighting the fight against the Registration Act.
I don’t really have high hopes for New Avengers #28. I haven’t enjoyed an issue of the New Avengers is quite some time. Maybe Bendis will surprise me and deliver a great read with New Avengers #28. Let’s hit the review and find out.
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinel Yu
Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the Avengers in the streets of Tokyo on the run from the Hand. Iron Fist says that they have to get Maya somewhere safe in order to counter-act the old school ninja brainwashing by the Hand. Spider-Woman says she knows where they can go.
We cut to the Yashida Clan Fortress in Osaka. Silver Samurai is busy watching Freaky Friday starring Lindsey Lohan when the Avengers come crashing into his house. Silver Samurai is pissed off that Logan would come into his home after what Logan did to him. (Logan cut off one of Silver Samurai’s hands a while back.) Logan replied that Silver Samurai tried to kill him and he lost. If Silver Samurai tries again, then Logan will cut off his other hand.
Silver Samurai demands to know why they are in his house. Wolverine says that Maya is Ronin and she needs help. Silver Samurai says that they are not even Avengers anymore. That he has seen on TV what is going on in America. Silver Samurai asks how then even managed to get out of America.
We then flashback to yesterday. Luke Cage (Run out and get your Luke Cage action figure complete with “Vagina Leg Kicking” action feature, kids!) is in a small grocery store in Harlem trying to buy some milk for his baby. Suddenly, a robber tries to rob the cashier. (A white robber in Harlem? Interesting.) Luke takes out the robber. But, before Luke can purchase his milk, a cop appears and pulls his gun and says Luke is under arrest. Cage says he is just here to buy milk for his kid and that the cop should be busy stopping actual criminals and not super heroes who stop robberies. Suddenly, SHIELD capekillers are on the scene. Luke takes out a couple of capekillers and steals one of their airbikes and takes off.
Vagina kickin’ Cage then arrives at Dr. Strange’s home that looks abandoned and boarded up with a sign outside it that a Starbucks will be opening at this location soon. Cage then magically enters the home. Cage says he forgot the password, but Dr. Strange lets him in anyway. Dr. Strange and Wong tell Luke that he has to stop going out and shopping. That Wong can do all their shopping for them. That Dr. Strange has created the illusion that his house is abandoned and is slated for being a new Starbucks in order to create cover for the rogue Avengers.
Luke goes to the kitchen where Jess, his baby, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Iron Fist are hanging out and are engaging in some witty repartee. Wolverine jokes about Jess having her own manservant like Dr. Strange has with Wong. Evidently, Wolverine is suggesting that Luke is her manservant. Luke doesn’t like the joke and tells Wolverine to show some respect. (Ugh, don’t you hate it when people throw the word “respect” around? That is so overplayed. And usually the dumber the person the more often they use that term.) Wolverine doesn’t back down and says it was a joke.
Suddenly, Spider-Woman appears on the scene. Spider-Woman tells them that Ms. Marvel told her that Captain America is alive and receiving medical attention at the Raft. That Ms. Marvel isn’t lying. That Spider-Woman is a trained agent of SHIELD and Hydra and knows how to spot a lie. Wolverine says it is a trap. However, he knows a way that they can find out if it is a trap.
We cut to Dr. Strange’s astral form floating into the Raft. He sees Steve Rogers strapped to a medical table and hooked up to medical machines. Dr. Strange comes back to his house and tells the Avengers that it is not a trap. The Avengers decide to go get Captain America. Spider-Man says if they can get Cap back then they can call themselves the Avengers again. Luke “I love kickin’ vagina, bitch. Respect!” Cage retorts that they are the Avengers.
We cut to the Avengers busting into the Raft and fighting through all the guards. They get to the room where Steve Rogers is located. Wolverine gets up close and sniffs the body and says that this is not Steve Rogers.
Suddenly, Iron Man and the rest of the Mighty Avengers appear. Iron Man apologizes and says it was a dirty trick. But, the rogue Avengers have created this situation and that they have brought it down to this level. Iron Man says they are under arrest. Ms. Marvel looks upset.
We shift back to present day at the Yashida Clan fortress. Maya begins convulsing as her body tries to fight off the effects of the drugs. Silver Samurai asks what happened to Maya. Spider-Woman tells him that the Hand did this to her. Silver Samurai is stunned that they would have brought her to his house. That the Hand will follow them here.
Silver Samurai then attacks the Avengers. They quickly take him down. Luke says that they didn’t come for a fight and that they didn’t know that Silver Samurai and Logan had a grudge going.
Spider-Man’s spider-sense goes off. We see Electra and a horde of Hand ninjas descending on the Silver Samurai’s home. End of issue.
The Good: Yawn. That was pretty much my reaction to New Avengers #28. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t some enjoyable aspects to this issue. I thought Dr. Strange creating the illusion that his house was abandoned and slated to be turned into a Starbucks was pretty funny. Honestly, how many Starbucks does one are need? In my city, we must have one Starbucks ever square mile. Hey, I like a Starbucks coffee as much as the next guy, but it is getting insane how many there are.
We got your usual witty banter that Bendis is known for. Personally, I like it. It has a good flow, keeps the story moving and offers a bit of levity on a title that is otherwise rather somber and dark. Of course, I can completely understand how Bendis’ witty banter that he injects into ever single issue he writes can get old for some readers and end up getting on their nerves.
Bendis delivered a nice blend of action and dialogue. The fight scene with Luke “Get me some Vagina to kick” Cage and the Capekillers was well placed in the middle of this issue in order to keep this issue from being too slow and talky.
Bendis ends this issue with a nice hook ending. We have our heroes at a house they are not welcome at and are about to be attacked by pissed off Electra with a sore vagina and a horde of Hand ninjas. That is dramatic enough to get readers to eagerly await the next issue.
The Bad: New Avengers #28 was a rather boring issue. Bendis has completely failed to get my interest in anything that he is doing on this title. It doesn’t even seem like New Avengers has much of a purpose or direction. All Bendis is giving us is some random plotline involving Maya and the Hand as well as another plotline involving the new mysterious Ronin. And, of course, there is the plotline that just won’t die involving the New Avengers fighting SHIELD and the Mighty Avengers.
None of these plotlines capture my interest. I could care less about Maya. I hope she dies. Also, I could care less who this new Ronin is. Well, if it turns out to be Burt Bacharach then I’d be impressed. But, other than that, I don’t care about the identity of some D-list hero like Ronin.
Maybe Bendis can get me interested in the mystery surrounding the identity of this new Ronin. My guess is that Hawkeye is the new Ronin. After all, Hawkeye hasn’t been seen in a while since he nailed Scarlet Witch.
I could also care less about the entire Hand plotline. I think the Hand are tired and overused. It seems like they pop up everywhere. I’m just a bit tired of the Hand and the intrigue of what they are up to and Electra’s plans for the Hand just don’t intrigue me in the least bit.
The entire Japanese underworld-Hand-Ronin plotline comes across as a rather pedestrian read. This entire story arc seems like pure filler. Bendis doesn’t seem to know what to do with his underground team of Avengers.
And we get treated to yet another showdown between the Anti-Registration heroes and the Pro-Registration heroes for the one millionth time. The entire “fight the Registration Act” plotline is getting worn-out and old. I have completely lost any and all interest in this plotline. I thought this was supposed to have ended with the end of Civil War. Unfortunately not. There is nothing new with this exhausted plotline.
How many times do I have to read the same boring dialogue about the evils of the act, and that cops should be stopping criminals and not super heroes, blah, blah, blah. There is nothing new left for this plotline. Instead, Bendis is just re-hashing the same old themes over and over. Just end it already.
It is getting really tiring seeing the same scene of the Pro-registration side endlessly luring the Anti-registration heroes out into the open, having the same predictable fight that ends in a stalemate and then leads to the Anti-registration heroes making a grand escape. Wash, rinse and repeat over and over again. It is getting banal and dull.
I found Iron Man’s trick by having Ms. Marvel give Spider-Woman disinformation about Captain America being at the Raft to be rather predictable. You knew it was a trap. You knew it wasn’t really Captain America. Marvel has been going out of their way for the past week stating that Steve Rogers is really dead.
Bendis having the New Avengers show up at Silver Samurai’s home and the argument and drama then ensued was moronic. Bendis makes it work by Cage stating that they didn’t come for a fight and that they didn’t know that Wolverine and Silver Samurai had a feud going.
Huh? What, is Wolverine suddenly mute? Upon hearing Spider-Woman’s suggestion to go to Silver Samurai’s house, why didn’t Wolverine pipe up and says something? You know, like “Hey, Silver Samurai and I have tried to kill each other several times. And the last time we met I chopped off one of his hands. So, maybe that might not be the best place to hide out.” It just made no sense.
I also find the roster for the New Avengers to be less than desirable. I still don’t like Spider-Man on a team. Period. I don’t care if Spider-Man is a part of a Pro-Registration team, an Anti-Registration team or any other team. Spider-Man’s character just doesn’t work on a super team for me. Spider-Man is the ultimate loner. He is that loveable loser that doesn’t get the respect that other heroes get and does things his own way. I dig that. Seeing Spider-Man as a part of a super team just doesn’t work for me. It didn’t work for me when Spider-Man first joined the Avengers and Bendis has done nothing to get me to change my opinion.
I love Iron Fist, but again, I hate him being a part of a super team like the Avengers. Iron Fist is another urban hero who works best on his own. I’m a huge Wolverine fan, but I am sick and tired of seeing him on every single title that I purchase. He is an X-Man for god’s sake. Just let him stay with the X-Men. I don’t need him as an Avenger also. Wolverine’s presence on the New Avengers seems completely forced and doesn’t work for me.
I know that you have to suspend your perception of reality when reading comic books, but c’mon. I’m supposed to believe Wolverine is out having all of his own personal adventures on not one, but two solo titles. Plus, he is having cosmic universe spanning adventures over on Astonishing X-Men. All while fighting with the underground heroes in the New Avengers. It is too much and Wolverine is being spread way to thin even using comic book logic.
Dr. Strange on the Avengers doesn’t work for me either. Why is Dr. Strange even on this team? Didn’t we get a huge explanation why Dr. Strange was sitting out the events of Civil War? That mankind must pick its own path and control its own destiny. That Dr. Strange must not take a side and must let mankind chart its own future. So, why is he now taking a side?
Clearly I’ve missed the explanation that must have been given in some Civil War tie-in issue that I failed to purchase. Too bad, because I would love to see the nonsensical logic used to allow Dr. Strange to violate his own sound reasoning for not getting involved in the events of Civil War.
I’m definitely not a fan of Leinel Yu’s artwork. I find it to be terribly dull and boring. His facial expressions are just horrible. I think that Yu’s style of art would work much better with a more off-beat title like Daredevil or a Vertigo type title. It certainly isn’t the style of art I would pick for a title like the Avengers.
Overall: New Avengers #28 was a total miss with me. I found it to be a rather tedious and bland read. Bendis has failed to get me interested in a single plotline. And Yu’s artwork isn’t my style of art so it fails to boost a sagging storyline.
Having said that, I can totally understand why New Avengers would appeal to many readers. You have some pretty likeable characters on this team. Bendis is going to writer the New Avengers as much more sympathetic characters than the ones over on Mighty Avengers. If you dig Yu’s artwork then you are certain to like New Avengers. Basically, if you have enjoyed all of Bendis’s Civil War tie-in issues on the New Avengers over the past eight issues, then you will probably enjoy this issue too.