New Avengers #32 Review

The Revolution’s dislike for Bendis’ New Avengers is no secret. I think Bendis is a tremendous writer and he did an excellent job on Daredevil and is currently doing a phenomenal job on Ultimate Spider-Man. However, his New Avengers has been nothing short of dreadful.

Having said that, it appears that New Avengers #32 is going to investigate the revelation of Electra being a Skrull and that other characters in the 616 Universe may actually be Skrulls. What are these Skrulls plotting? What else other than world domination? Maybe Bendis can get me to change my opinion on the New Avengers. Let’s hit this review for New Avengers #32 and find out.

Creative Team
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinel Yu

Art Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with the Secret Avengers flying home on one of Iron Fist’s corporate jets. Nobody is talking. Spider-Man breaks the ice and asks why isn’t anyone talking about the fact that Electra was really a Skrull all along. Wolverine answers because nobody trusts anyone. That any one of them could be a Skrull. Wolverine points out the various reasons why Hawkeye, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Echo, Spider-Woman, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man and Wolverine himself all could be Skrulls.

Luke then smiles and says that he told everyone that he thought there was someone out there pulling there strings. Spider-Woman then says that they should turn the Skrull over to Tony Stark. That if Stark is the biggest cop in the world. And that Stark will know what to do with the Skrull. And if Stark is a Skrull then the Secret Avengers will know that based on what Stark does with the information. If Stark tries to kill them then they know Stark is a Skrull.

The Secret Avengers all agree that Stark has been acting like a Skrull and is certainly probably a Skrull. (I will probably enter a fugue state if Tony is revealed to be a Skrull. Fair warning.) Spider-Woman says that if Luke’s thinking is right on this issue, then the Skrulls may be behind the Civil War, House of M, The Raft and everything else. (Oh god, how much would that just absolutely blow.)

Iron Fist then tells everyone that they can’t land in New York because of the weather. That they will have to land in Chicago. Suddenly, both engines on the jet shut off. The plane begins to crash. Wolverine tosses Spider-Woman out of the plane and tells her to save herself.

The rest of the Secret Avengers attempt to bolster the structure of the plane via Spider-Man’s webs, Luke holding the sides together and Dr. Strange’s spells. (Wait, this guy has practically done everything under the sun the past couple of issues and all of the sudden he is totally useless to save a crashing plane?)

Iron Fist finds a gold course in which to attempt a crash landing. Iron Fist pulls off a crash landing, but the plane gets badly damaged in the process. Everyone is knocked out except the human cockroach known as Wolverine.

Spider-Woman walks over to the wreckage of the plane and stands there. Wolverine gets up and tells Spider-Woman not to do it. Spider-Woman takes advantage of Wolverine’s severely weakened state and blasts him over and over until he passes out.

Spider-Woman then grabs Electra Skrull’s body and then walks off. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: This is not surprise, but I found New Avengers #32 to be another pedestrian read. However, unlike some of the previous issues, there are a couple of positives to New Avengers #32. I thought Bendis did a nice job with Spider-Man’s character in this issue. Bendis absolutely knows how to writer Spider-Man’s character and gave him some nice dialogue. Spider-Man’s dialogue had me chuckling all the way t through this issue.

Bendis also delivered a great hook ending. That makes it two issues in a row that Bendis has actually managed to grab the reader’s interest and get the reader excited about the next issue. As much as I find New Avengers to be a terribly dull read, my interest was definitely piqued by this ending.

Spider-Woman has had so many different allegiances. She is with SHIELD, she is with Hydra, she is with Nick Fury and she is with the Avengers. She seems like the natural choice to be a Skrull traitor. However, I don’t think that is the case. It would be too obvious for Spider-Woman to be a Skrull traitor. And I don’t think that Spider-Woman is a Skrull, either. The biggest reason for that is because I know that Spider-Woman is one of Bendis’ pet characters so that means she is safe.

I’m honestly at a loss for what Spider-Woman is up to. Maybe she is taking the Electra Skrull body to Tony. Maybe she is taking it to Nick Fury. Who knows? There are so many possibilities. Bendis really did an excellent job giving us an ending that he can take in numerous different directions.

The Bad: New Avengers #32 was painfully slow. The pacing on New Avengers has been just awful. This is by far one of the slowest moving story arcs you will ever find. Other than the final two pages, absolutely nothing happens in New Avengers #32. I’m pretty sure that every soap opera on network TV moves at a faster pace than this title. From issue #27 to the present issue, that is 6 issues, we have had the Avengers fight the Hand, and discover that Electra is a Skrull. The past six issues could have easily been done in about three issues.

Bendis gives us plenty of talking. And sometimes that can still make for a compelling read. Look at David’s X-Factor which is dominated by dialogue heavy scenes. However, the big difference is that David’s dialogue is actually well done with unique external voices and great chemistry. Plus, David has a point to all the dialogue and uses the dialogue to advance certain plotlines.

Bendis doesn’t do that. Instead, Bendis just gives us tons of dialogue as if he simply likes the sound of his own voice. Bendis’ dialogue seems pointless as it fails to engage the reader or advance any plotlines. Instead, all it does is make the reader sleepy.

Another problem with Bendis’ dialogue heavy format is that Spider-Man is pretty much the only character that Bendis knows how to write and is the only Avenger that has anything resembling a unique personality and a distinctive external voice. Bendis’ dialogue for the other Avengers is rather generic.

The Avengers, outside of Spider-Man, lack of any distinct and unique personalities. Bendis has completely failed to engage in any character work or development on this title. This is one of the shallowest collection of characters to assemble an Avengers roster. Also, the lack of character work leads to a serious lack of any chemistry between the various Avengers. This is just a terribly disjointed mix-mash collection of characters and it reads that way.

I loathe the concept of the Skrulls being behind everything. That truly sucks. Why not just have Tony wake up from a huge bender and have it all nothing more than a dream? Or maybe revealing that everything since the House of M has been nothing more than a part of the Tommy Westphall Universe? Both of those ideas make just as much sense and are just as appealing.

I’ll withhold my final judgment on this Skrull storyline until we learn more about and find out just how pervasive the retconning is going to be connected with this storyline. Generally, I dislike massive retconning that stomps all over previous storylines. Marvel may be able to pull something interesting off with this Skrull storyline, but I’m not so optimistic at this point.

I definitely don’t think that Tony Stark is actually a Skrull. Not even Marvel would be that stupid to do something as painfully obvious as that. Of course, Marvel has perverted Tony’s character beyond all recognition so I wouldn’t put it past them to make him a Skrull.

I continue to find Yu’s artwork downright ugly. Yu does have talent; however he is simply drawing the wrong title. Yu should be drawing a comic book like Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt. Mighty Avengers is a far better looking comic book than New Avengers.

Overall: New Avengers #32 was another boring read. If it weren’t for the final two pages of this issue, this terminally slow issue would have been absolutely brutal. However, Bendis has managed to give us good endings in the past two issues, so maybe there is hope that Bendis is turning the corner and may eventually make New Avengers at least an average to slightly above average read.

3 Comments

  1. Joe Quesada already said in interviews that Captain America and Iron Man were/are not Skrulls.

    The most notable thing about this issue is some really bad continuity on Bendis’ part, which isn’t necessarily notable, except that it involves two of Bendis’ own titles. Everyone has been assuming that this arc takes place after the formation of the Mighty Avengers’ and that book’s first arc, since the full team appears in flashbacks; however, in this issue, the New Avengers’ plane is downed by an EMP burst generated during the Mighty Avengers’ battle with Ultron, which places the formation of the New Avengers first, since the Mighty Avengers only formed “fourteen minutes” before the Ultron fight; however, the doesn’t square at all with their previous appearances in this title, and in other books set immediately after Civil War.

  2. Rokk, as always you manage to be dead on in your review of NA #32. In my own review of the comic at silverbulletcomicbooks.com which will be posted tomorrow or Tuesday, I made the exact same point you did about Dr. Strange. I agree with you that Bendis’ decompressed style of storytelling is brutal and I can’t stand his dialogue. I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with this title. I love the characters but I often hate Bendis’ style

  3. “I loathe the concept of the Skrulls being behind everything. That truly sucks. Why not just have Tony wake up from a huge bender and have it all nothing more than a dream? Or maybe revealing that everything since the House of M has been nothing more than a part of the Tommy Westphall Universe? Both of those ideas make just as much sense and are just as appealing.”

    Rather than Such, I see a cop-out as wonderful tool for story telling I think that we as the Comic book community need to make a social contract with the writers on this. Think about it. A writer comes up with a crappy story arch and midway through he realizes the crapitude of his creation. As it is, he just has to go on, and write some horrible ending that does nothing but screw with a character’s mythos for years to come. Imagine if you will that a writer, realizing his work was junk, find a way out with honor. He writes some ending that nullifies the entire arch, and we the readers let him with no ill repercussions. In return, we get to have our character’s long-term history go unsmirched and instead just have one lousy story to hate. It’s a win-win.

    And be honest, look at Loeb over on Wolverine. Can you honestly say anything good will come out of it. Why not have it end with Wolverine waking up and saying something along the lines of “Wow my mutant healing factor is no match for spice tacos before bedtime.” Whatever the ending is, I can almost grantee you that it won’t be better than that.

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