The Initiative: New Avengers #29 Review

Ever since the “Road to Civil War” storylines began, the New Avengers began a rather precipitous decline in quality. The Revolution hasn’t been impressed with an issue of New Avengers in a long time. Of course, the Revolution has never thought that Bendis was the right man for the Avengers from the very start of his run on this title.

The last issue of New Avengers was dull and boring. I don’t expect New Avengers #29 to be any better than what we have gotten over the past year. Maybe Bendis will prove me wrong. Let’s go ahead and review New Avengers #29.

Creative Team
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinel Yu

Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with the New Avengers in Tokyo still brawling with Electra and her Hand ninjas. Spider-Man comments that maybe they should go back to New York and fight Brother Voodoo.

We flashback to yesterday at The Raft with the millionth showdown between the New Avengers and the Mighty Avengers. Iron Man tells the New Avengers that the war is over and to surrender. Luke “Respect” Cage comes up with the very original line of “The war is over when we say it’s over.”

Iron Man tells the New Avengers that their powers have been negated by a localized neural net. That the fight is over. They must surrender. Ah, not so fast my friend, since the New Avengers now have Dr. Deus Ex Machina who whips up a spell that makes each Mighty Avenger come face to face with their deepest fear.

Wonder Man is attacked by his dead brother the Grim Reaper. The Sentry is attacked by the Void. Ms. Marvel is attacked by the Brood. Ares is attacked by Zeus. Janet Pym is attacked by a drunken Hank Pym in his Yellow Jacket costume. (HA!) Black Widow is attacked by I guess what is the spirit of Communist Russia. And Iron Man is attacked by a dead Captain America.

We cut to SHIELD agents asking the Mighty Avengers if they are all right. The Dr. Strange orchestrated a quick escape for the New Avengers.

We shift to the New Avengers teleporting back into Dr. Strange’s mansion. Suddenly, the Mighty Avengers and SHIELD troops arrive outside of Dr. Strange’s mansion. (Wow! What did the Mighty Avengers teleport there as well? That was really almost way too fast.)

Iron Man asks what the legality is of entering Dr. Strange’s mansion. Maria Hill says that they have paperwork that Starbucks did purchase the property. Black Widow then says that she thought she heard a gunshot and kicks down the mansion’s door. But, don’t worry fans of New Avengers, because Dr. Deus Ex Machina conveniently casts a spell that hides the New Avengers. They are completely undetectable by any of Iron Man’s scanning equipment.

Iron Man says that the New Avengers aren’t here. That the mansion is abandoned. The Mighty Avengers and the SHIELD soldiers leave and the New Avengers breathe a sigh of relief.

We cut to the next day with the Mighty Avengers interrupting a Rand Corp. meeting. Iron Man confronts Danny Rand and says that he wants to talk to him about last night. Danny responds that he was here at Rand Corp. last night. That it might have been a copycat like how there were multiple Daredevils running around a while back.

Ms. Marvel says that Danny is breaking the law. Jeryn Hogarth, Danny’s attorney, asks what law Danny has broken. Hogarth says that Danny is registered with the United States as a deadly weapon. Hogarth says he has an appeal pending in Federal Court to define exactly what is a power. Therefore, until then Danny doesn’t have to sign the Registration Act. Hogarth asks what evidence Iron Man has against Danny.

Iron Man replays a holographic recording of the events of last night. Hogarth comments if Iron Man is prepared to have all those files and that technology subpoenaed in a legal battle. Ms. Marvel begs Danny to tell the New Avengers to stop. The Mighty Avengers then leave.

Dakota North then arrives to meet with Danny. Dakota give Danny a box that is from Daredevil. That Daredevil is too far away to deal with this situation and he wanted Danny’s help. Inside the box is Ronin’s costume and a letter to Daredevil. The letter is from Maya Lopez.

The letter says that if Daredevil is reading this then she is probably dead. That she doesn’t want Daredevil to let Ronin disappear. Don’t let them turn her into something she despises. And if they have killed her then avenger her death.

We cut to Dr. Strange’s mansion where Iron Fist is showing the letter to the rest of the New Avengers. Wolverine gives his stereotypical “It’s gonna be a dirty mission and if you ain’t up with that then don’t come” speech.

Suddenly, Dr. Strange notices someone entering the mansion. We see Brother Voodoo inside the mansion performing some rituals to see if he can detect the presence of the New Avengers. We see the Mighty Avengers and SHIELD soldiers outside of the mansion. Iron Man says that Brother Voodoo is the only person he could find who would even come near Dr. Strange’s mansion.

Spider-Man says that the New Avengers need to leave immediately. We then cut back to present day with the New Avengers squared off against Electra and the Hand ninjas with Spider-Man commenting that they should go back and fight Brother Voodoo.

Luke “I never met a vagina I didn’t like to kick” Cage asks Electra to stop. That they are on the same side. That there is no way that Electra and the Hand can defeat the New Avengers. And this isn’t the best way to start Electra’s reign as the Queen of the Japanese underworld. Cage says that Electra needs them. That the New Avengers are now criminals. Cage says that Electra needs to talk to the New Avengers as criminal to criminal.

Comments
The Good: Well, New Avengers #29 was another terribly dull read. And that is no surprise to me. Having said that, there were a couple of entertaining spots to this issue.

I thought it was hilarious that Janet’s fear was a drunken and belligerent Henry Pym. The other characters get confronted by their arch nemesis like the Void for the Sentry or the Brood for Ms. Marvel. Or then get confronted by someone from beyond the grave like with Wonder Man and Iron Man. Or then get confronted by an authority figure like with Ares and Black Widow.

What does Janet get tormented by? A belligerent and drunk ex-husband. I don’t know why I found that so funny. Poor Hank, he just can’t live down his days of being a drunken wife beater. Hal Jordan become a monstrous villain who caused millions of deaths, but he has recovered from that and returned to heroic status faster than Hank Pym who has had to live down his dubious legacy for decades.

I also liked Hogarth’s little attorney rant. It was pretty cool to see this old man stand up to the all powerful Iron Man and successfully chase him from the meeting room. The power of a quality attorney is a weapon that is not to be underestimated. Plus, this scene further emphasizes to the reader that Danny Rand is a rich and powerful businessman.

You have to give credit to any writer who can work a character like Brother Voodoo into the storyline! That was an unexpected appearance. I liked it. And Spider-Man constantly referring to going back and fighting Brother Voodoo instead of dealing with the Hand was humorous.

The Bad: New Avengers #29 was slow and boring. Absolutely nothing happens. It consists solely of a boring flashback scene showing us why the New Avengers left New York. I already knew why. Because Maya Lopez sent a letter to Matt that was then given to the New Avengers since he couldn’t deal with the situation at the moment. That was enough of an explanation for me. I didn’t need an entire issue wasted to give me the flashback scenes that we got in this issue.

New Avengers seems to have little to no point or direction. I have no idea what Bendis has planned for this title other than some totally random romp through Japan. Bendis has done a much better job giving the Mighty Avengers a clear direction and purpose. New Avengers just reads like a dangling plotline that Marvel mistakenly failed to get resolved with the final issue of Civil War.

Now, the argument can be made that the New Avengers was left unresolved so it could form the foundation for Captain America’s return and the rise of the opposition forces once again who lead to the reformation of the Registration Act. But, I don’t see it as that. To me, it is just a left over plotline from Civil War that has been beaten to death and desperately needs closure.

I could also care less about this plotline concerning the Japanese underworld. At this point, Bendis has totally failed to hook me into this story arc. I don’t know where Bendis is going with this plotline. It seems to read like nothing more than filler at this point.

New Avengers #29 just felt like a sloppy issue. It seems like Bendis cranked out this issue with little effort or attention to detail. It shows through in how little happened in this issue and how poor the flow of the story was in this issue. Another example of the sloppiness would be how the hell the Mighty Avengers and SHIELD managed to get to the mansion so quick?

Dr. Strange takes out the Mighty Avengers and then transports the New Avengers back to his mansion. The New Avengers engage in a quick one page discussion when the Mighty Avengers and SHIELD suddenly show up at their mansion. How in the hell did the Mighty Avengers recover from Strange’s spell, get their bearings back, gather the SHIELD troops and get from The Raft to Strange’s mansion at almost the same amount of time that it took Dr. Strange to teleport the New Avengers to the mansion?

Bendis’s dialogue was surprisingly average. Usually, I like Bendis’s dialogue. Yeah, I think his dialogue for Luke Cage is usually terribly stereotypical and sucks, but outside of that Bendis usually crafts some strong dialogue. Not so in this issue.

Wolverine’s little speech before they left for Japan was tired and unoriginal and a bit cheesy. It was hard to take it seriously. Luke’s comment that the war is over when they say it is over was also a horribly over used bit of dialogue. I feel like we have seen that line recycled a million times over. All in all, the dialogue lacked the originality or flow that Bendis usually delivers.

Bendis has also failed to get me interested at all in the roster for the New Avengers. Part of that is because I just don’t see some of the characters as belonging on a team like the Avengers. For me, Iron Fist is a street based character like Daredevil and he just doesn’t work on a team like the Avengers.

Spider-Man also doesn’t work for me on the Avengers. I know that he has bee wedged into this team due to the circumstances of him revealing his secret identity. However, the magic of Spider-Man’s character doesn’t work on a team. Spider-Man is the ultimate loner. The super hero that never gets the respect of heroes that are a part of teams like the Avengers.

Dr. Strange is also a bad choice for this team. Dr. Strange is just not a good character for a super team. He is simply too powerful and makes the writer lazy. Dr. Strange becomes too much of an enticing and convenient of a tool that the writer can employ over and over in order to get the New Avengers out of any possible situation they find themselves in.

And we see that twice in New Avengers #29 has Dr. Deus Ex Machina gets the New Avengers out of two hopelessly impossible situations to get out of.

The first one being when they were rendered powerless and surrounded by the Mighty Avengers and the SHIELD troops. The second when they were trapped in the mansion with the Mighty Avengers and SHIELD troops about to enter.

New Avengers #29 proves exactly how tempting of a convenient tool Dr. Deus Ex Machina can be to a writer as Bendis employs him three times in just one issue to conveniently get the New Avengers out of tight situations.

The other reason that Bendis has failed to get me interested in this roster is that Bendis has failed to deliver anything that would be confused with character development. Again, that is a surprise since that is one of Bendis’s strengths over on Ultimate Spider-Man. However, on the New Avengers, none of the characters have much of their own unique and fully developed personalities.

Instead, either the character gets a stereotypical and one-dimensional personality like Luke Cage or they get a basic vanilla and generic personality like Spider-Woman, Iron Fist, Maya Lopez and Dr. Strange. Bendis’s Wolverine is poor. I have never liked how Bendis handled his character. Bendis goes too far making Wolverine almost a parody of the violent tough guy character that he is.

I have admitted time and time again when writers get me to like characters that I have never previously had much interest in. Bendis did that with Ms. Marvel over in Mighty Avengers. Johns has done that with Ravager and Kid Devil over on Teen Titans.

So, I have an open mind to any character if a writer can write them interestingly enough. Well, I lie. I have an open mind to any character other than Supergirl, Batgirl, Batwoman and Renee Montoya. I will always openly root for those characters to meet particularly slow and painful deaths.

I am completely bored out of my mind with the tired confrontations between the New Avengers and the Might Avengers that we have seen countless times before. I was truly hoping that the end of Civil War would enable us to move on to something new and interesting. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Bendis seems to think that what the reader wants to see is the millionth showdown between the pro-registration Avengers and the anti-registration Avengers. Enough of the same old same old already. The fights between these characters always end unsatisfactorily and are always anti-climactic. It is a tired plotline that has been bludgeoned to death. Time to move on, Bendis. Give us something new.

I just don’t dig Leinel Yu’s style of art. I find it to be rather sketchy and sloppy looking. I think the way he draws faces in downright ugly looking. Yu’s artwork is drab and dull with muted colors that make this a boring looking comic book. Yu’s style of art just isn’t what I would pick for a title like New Avengers.

Overall: New Avengers #29 was another boring read. I hope that Bendis is able to get this title moving and create an interesting story. I have always thought that Bendis struggled when handling a team title versus a solo title. At this point, I wouldn’t mind seeing a switch at the writer position. I know that is simply not going to happen, but maybe that would be the shake up that this title needs to break it out of this rut it seems stuck in.

Having said that, if you have enjoyed the Civil War tie-in issues on the New Avengers then you will probably enjoy this issue. And if you are a big Bendis fan then you would certainly enjoy this title.

2 Comments

  1. The art work for this title is really starting to bug me.
    The style and sketchness is annoying, and alot of the time the backgrounds are either crap or non existent.
    Also do Spider-man’s hands ever leave the web shooting position!?!

    Not only is the art work crap, but this is a seriously poor story.
    (Probably made worse by the poor art work)
    And whats with all the characters having generic sterotypical one dimensional personalities.
    We’ve got hard ass Wolverine, and Luke Cage acting like a complete twat.
    I was really starting to like Luke Cage, (Mostly from Bendis’ Daredevil, Alais, The Pulse, and New Avengers) but hes starting to bug me at the moment. Also, he really should not be leading the team.
    But then who the hell could lead it. (We’re in a full blown rant now!)
    I was just thinking about the members of this team.
    Its just the whos who list of characters Bendis wants to write.
    I’m not sure he has a plot or long story arc as he does on his other titles. Just fighting and tough talking with all his favourite toys.
    It had a few good bits (none of those being the art work) but ultimately I didn’t enjoy it.
    A good story arc had better come out of this quickly, because at the moment its just not working for me.

    (I may be slightly dehydrated 🙂 )

  2. ….and did I mention I hate magic!!!!

    Dr. Deus Ex Machina is a perfect term.

    I could tolerate it with Wanda because it was reality warping powers (and she was a villan for those powers), and before that it was probability altering hexes (which was kinda a cool power if used creatively) but ultimately magic is annoying.

    I’m done now.

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