The Revolution usually dreads the newest issue of New Avengers. I’m still waiting for Bendis to display the ability to handle a team title. And I just can’t get into Yu’s style of artwork. Therefore, it is not surprising that I have found New Avengers to be practically unreadable during this current story arc involving Maya Lopes and the Hand. Is it possible that Bendis can surprise me with an excellent read in New Avengers #31? Let’s find.
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinel Yu
Art Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Wong and Jones at Dr. Strange’s mansion. Suddenly the image of Dr. Strange stabbed appears in the room. Wong comments that it is the Orb of Agamotto showing them what Dr. Strange wants them to see.
We cut back to the Secret Avengers brawling with the Hand. Logan yells that they have to kill the ninjas in order to survive this fight. During the brawl, Spider-Man realizes that he is going to have to compete with Hawkeye, I mean Ronin, in the “mid-battle witty zinger” department.
Luke Cage then looks for Electra in order to fight her. (Of course, why fight ninjas when you could be kicking vagina?) Electra then literally lights Luke Cage on fire. (Which is a nice “Burning Bed” moment. After all, all woman beaters deserve that kind of treatment.)
Dr. Strange then communicates with Wong and instructs him to perform a specific spell to free Dr. Strange’s astral form. Dr. Strange’s astral form leaves Strange’s body and flies around making all the Hand ninjas sleep. Strange’s astral form then flies through Maya Lopez’s body and tells her that she will now be free.
Maya then attacks Electra from behind and does a rip off of the classic scene where Bullseye killed Electra. (Lame. And believe me, Maya Lopez is no Bullseye.) Luke looks sad that his opportunity to kick Electra’s vagina has passed. With their leader down, the Hand ninjas immediately retreat.
We then see Electra’s body turn into a Skrull! The Secret Avengers stand around the dead Skrull’s body. The Secret Avengers are stunned.
We then cut back to Dr. Strange’s mansion. Wong tells Jessica that the Secret Avengers are alive. Jessica is relieved. Jessica continues to feed her baby a bottle of milk. Suddenly, Jessica’s baby’s eyes open up really wide. End of issue.
The Good: New Avengers #31 was just a brutal read in just about every aspect possible. I have no idea how I’m going to follow The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue. Let’s see, what did I enjoy about this issue? Hmmm. Well, I’m glad that no vaginas were harmed in the making of this issue. We did get tons of action in this issue. That kept it from being unbearably boring.
Bendis did give us a twist at the end of this issue with the revelation that Electra was actually a Skrull in disguise. I have no idea what Bendis has planned with this plot twist, but at least I didn’t see it coming. It is always nice to end an issue with a surprise.
The Bad: New Avengers #31 was simply another in a long string of poorly written issues. Bendis’ dialogue was incredibly stiff and uninspired. Absolutely none of the characters have a unique voice. Bendis has made no effort at all to engage in any type of character development. Instead, the various Avengers either have a generic voice or a stereotypical voice. Wolverine engages in the standard issue gruff and tough talk style dialogue. Spider-Man has been reduced to a completely one-dimensional and shallow joke machine. I’m pretty sure that Luke is only capable of engaging in banal street talk.
The rest of the Avengers have vanilla personalities and generic dialogue to match. There is absolutely no chemistry at all between the various members of the Avengers. I can’t remember the last Avengers roster that had less chemistry than this roster that Bendis has currently assembled.
It totally stuns me that Bendis is turning in such a pathetic performance on New Avengers. It seems like he isn’t even trying. Or he simply doesn’t get the team concept and cannot handle the weight of a large roster of characters. Bendis turned in some of the best writing you will ever read during his run on Daredevil. And Bendis’ work on Ultimate Spider-Man is going to become one of the most legendary runs you will ever find on one title. Yet, Bendis continually throws out crap filled reads on New Avengers.
This story arc involving Maya and the Hand is terminally slow. We have been “treated” to five issues of pointless fighting with the Hand and attempting to free Maya from the mind control of the Hand. Five issues devoted to this mind numbingly boring and plodding story arc. Bendis could have easily done this story arc in two, maybe three issues max. Instead, Bendis continues his meandering and directionless style of plotting on New Avengers that has plagued his entire run on this title.
I could honestly care less about the Hand or Maya Lopez. Absolutely nothing about this story arc even began to remotely appeal to me. The past five issues have been nothing but mindless filler. Hopefully, Bendis will finally be able to give New Avengers some type of purpose and direction with the next major story arc.
We also get to see Bendis employ Dr. Deus Ex Machina in order to extricate the New Avengers out of a seemingly impossible situation. Again, we get further evidence of why I strongly dislike Dr. Strange as a member of the New Avengers roster. Dr. Strange is too much of a tempting and convenient literary tool to solve any and all situations that Bendis may throw at the New Avengers. All the other members really are pretty irrelevant as long as Dr. Strange is on the team to do pretty much all the heavy lifting.
I can’t even say that the revelation that Electra was just a Skrull in disguise did much for me. Partly, because I can’t see how this is going to lead in a direction that is going to impress me that much. It could be that Bendis is trying to tie in the events with the Skrulls over in The Illuminati with the current storyline in the New Avengers. What I really fear is that Marvel is going to tie the Skrulls into being behind some vast global conspiracy that lead to events like the Registration Act.
I found Yu’s artwork to be just down right ugly. Yu would be a fantastic choice for an artist on a horror themed comic book. But, on a title like the New Avengers his art looks horrid. Yu’s characters seem to be suffering from some hideously grotesque and advanced form of conjunctivitis. Seriously, check out those insanely red, thick and inflames membranes around their eyes! Gross. And only Yu is capable of making incredibly hot characters like Electra look downright repulsive and frightening.
Overall: New Avengers #31 is another in a long string of real stinkers. Bendis continues to completely unimpress me with his lackluster effort on this title. I really expect more from a writer the caliber of Bendis. I find this title to be poorly written and containing truly awful artwork. I would only recommend New Avengers if you are a massive Avengers fan or a big fan of Yu’s artwork. Otherwise, there are plenty other titles on the market of a much higher quality that are more worthy of your money.