New Avengers continues to dumbfound The Revolution. I am surprised that Marvel’s flagship title has sunk so far. And considering this is Marvel’s premier super team, their answer to the JLA, it is stunning that the quality of the stories has been so poor. And it has been that way ever since the beginning of Civil War. I simply can’t have any false hope that Bendis is going to turn this title around with New Avengers #36. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
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 Luke Cage telling Jessica all about the Secret Avengers’ fight with the Venom symbiotes. All of the Secret Avengers got infected by the Venom aliens except Luke Cage and Wolverine. However, Wolverine was useless since he continually went back and forth from normal to Venom as his healing factor would heal himself up and then get possessed again by the alien symbiote.
Luke fought on his own and was getting overwhelmed when suddenly the Avengers appeared on the scene and gave him support. During the story, Jessica interrupts Luke to ask him if Carol Danvers asked about Jessica and if Tony Stark tried to arrest Luke. Tony said Carol was too busy to talk and Tony was too busy fighting to try arrest anyone.
Iron Man then suddenly whipped up some device that got rid of all the Venom symbiotes. The battle was over and the heroes won. We then see Luke and Jessica in bed at Dr. Strange’s house. Jessica says that she wants to move out of Dr. Strange’s house.
Jessica then asks if the Avengers fought with the Secret Avengers once the Venom aliens were defeated. Luke answer that what is so cool about the Secret Avengers is that they immediately went around helping citizens who were hurt during the fight. That Tony and the other Avengers just stared in amazement. (At heroes saving people? Yeah, hard to imagine that.) Then the Avengers let the Secret Avengers go.
Luke comments that Spider-Woman was there with the Avengers and that Tony must know all about the Skrulls. Luke then says that Tony has to be a Skrull. (Naturally.) Jessica then begins to freak out how anyone could be a Skrull. That Dr. Strange could be a Skrull and could have faked the spell that he performed to show all the true inner natures of the Secret Avengers to prove that none of them were Skrulls. (Oh boy. Are we going to get another round of the “You’re a Skrull! No, you’re a Skrull” game?)
Jessica wonders what Spider-Woman told Tony. Luke answers that they will find out soon since Wolverine is paying Spider-Woman a visit. We cut to Avengers Tower. Carol tells the Avengers that in one hour they invade Latveria. That SHIELD discovered that Dr. Doom dropped the venom bomb on New York. Carol gives everyone an hour to get ready to head out.
Spider-Woman decides to go take a shower. While she is naked and standing in the shower, Wolverine suddenly appears behind her and puts his claws up to her neck. (Oh, c’mon. Seriously? Logan had to wait for Jessica to be naked and wet in order to have this conversation? I guess Spider-Woman can be thankful it wasn’t Luke Cage. He would have started off his questions with a kick to her vagina.)
Wolverine asks to know what Spider-Woman told Tony. Spider-Woman answers that she told him that they have been invaded by the Skrull Empire. Spider-Woman says that she did not give up the Secret Avengers to Tony. That Tony thinks there are Skrulls on his team of Avengers.
Wolverine then asks if Spider-Woman knows anything about Parker Robinson aka the Hood. Spider-Woman says no. Black Widow, in her bra and panties, opens the bathroom door to ask Jessica if she has any deodorant. Wolverine then decides it is time to leave and jumps out the window. Spider-Man is right there to swing by and catch Wolverine.
We cut to the Secret Avengers assembled in New Jersey outside of the bank that the Hood had Deathlok rob an issue ago. Wolverine says that he was following Skrulls and the trail led him to the Hood which led him to Deathlok which led him here to the bank. The Secret Avengers decide they need to go spend some time beating up bad guys.
Wolverine tracks the Hood’s trail back to their secret hideout. There we see the villains counting all their money. It is the same scene from last issue. Hawkeye says that they are too outnumbered to attack the Hood and his people. Luke answers that they can do this if they play it smart. Dr. Strange smiles and says they could call for back-up.
We cut to the Hood and the other villains watching the news report about the Venom attack on New York. Suddenly, Luke Cage busts through the wall. Behind Luke we see the rest of the Secret Avengers, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Doc Samson, Daredevil, Hercules, Nighthawk, the Punisher and the Silver Surfer. Oh yeah, and Howard the Duck. End of issue.
The Good: Man, Bendis’ New Avengers always taxes my ability to satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. And New Avengers #36 is no exception. Let’s see, I will admit that seeing Howard the Duck alongside all the other heroes in the final page of this issue made me chuckle. You gotta love it whenever Howard makes a cameo appearance in any Marvel title.
I also liked seeing Angel in his red costume. He is currently wearing his traditional blue outfit over on the X-Men. I have always associated his red outfit with his stints with the Champions and the Defenders. I also liked seeing another Defender, Nighthawk, in the big crowd shot.
We did learn that Tony thinks that there are Skrulls on his team. At least we now know that Tony is preparing for the inevitable war with the Skrulls and is confident that numerous characters in the 616 Universe are actually Skrulls.
The Bad: I found New Avengers #36 to be an atrocious read. I honestly can’t imagine how Bendis could make this title an even slower read even if he purposely tried to do so. The pacing on New Avengers is just brutally slow. This is one of the most plodding story arcs I have read in a long time.
Seriously, it seems as if Bendis is actively trying to see just how slowly it is humanly possible to move along a story arc. Basically nothing at all happens in this issue. And to top it all off, we end New Avengers #36 at the exact same moment in time where we ended New Avengers #35! I feel like I’m trapped in a mobius strip with this story arc.
Bendis did a terrible job handling the Venom alien fight. I really thought that this Venom alien fight was going to be at least an issue long. Instead, all we got dedicated to this big fight was a total of five pages. The Venom alien fight scene felt sloppy, hurried and truncated.
Worst of all is that Bendis chose to deliver the Venom alien fight in a passive manner by having Luke re-cap it while talking to Jessica in bed. This approach was a terrible idea since it robs the fight scene of any action and impact on the reader. Instead of being a dynamic fight scene, it comes across as a muted and passive re-cap.
Also idiotic, was the scene after the Venom fight. The idea of Tony and Carol standing there with mouths open in shocked amazement while the Secret Avengers worked to help with the rescue in the aftermath was simply moronic. Once again, Bendis can’t resist playing Tony for a fool. Seriously, did Stark doink both Bendis and JMS’ moms at the same time? These two guys just need to get over it all ready when it comes to their bizarre obsessions with Tony Stark.
Tony and Carol have proven over and over to be true heroes and would never be standing around watching others do their job. Nor would anyone ever be surprised that the Secret Avengers would do their job as heroes and rescue people. Absolutely no one has ever questioned whether the Secret Avengers wanted to help people. The Secret Avengers simply did not want to be registered.
Really, having Wolverine “question” Spider-Woman with his claws out and while she is naked and in the shower was just way too much. Look, I dig a little cheesecake as much as the next guy. And some T&A factor is all right, but it needs to be worked into the story better than this scene was done. It just came across as idiotic that Wolverine would choose the moment that Jessica is all wet and soapy to go and “question” her.
And the use of the claws was over to top and unnecessary. This isn’t Magneto that Logan is questioning. And we all know that it was an empty threat anyway as Logan isn’t going to gut Spider-Woman.
Also, having Logan whip out his claws and sneak up from behind Jessica while she is in the shower doesn’t make Logan look cool. It makes him come across as a real pervert. Like a combination of a Peeping Tom and a rapist. I know that Bendis thought this would be a really entertaining and cool scene by using the same logic Bendis used when he had Luke Cage kick Electra in the vagina and had Wolverine get his dick shot off by the Hood. And once again, this shower scene is only “cool” or “funny” if you are a thirteen year old male.
I still find the Hood to be an incredibly lame villain for the Avengers to be wasting their time dealing with. The Hood is still a villain better suited for a title like Daredevil and not the Avengers. At this point, Bendis has completely failed to get me even remotely interested in this plotline.
I found the ending to be rather boring for two reasons. One, it is exactly where we ended New Avengers #35 which leaves the reader with the frustrated feeling that we wasted an entire issue with New Avengers #36. Second, we all know that it is Dr. Strange creating all the heroes backing up Luke.
I know a lot of people dig Yu’s artwork. Not me. I still find it to be incredibly ugly. Having said that, New Avengers #36 was probably the best looking issue that Yu has given us so far.
Overall: New Avengers #36 was another pathetic read. I know that some people dig this title. I’m at a loss for what could be found entertaining with what Bendis is doing on this title. This is one of the slowest moving titles on the market. I feel like Bendis is pulling a joke on the reader by seeing how little he can do on each issue and still get readers to come back for more.
I just can’t recommend New Avengers to anyone outside of die-hard Avengers fans or loyal Bendis fans. There are so many other titles currently on the market that are far more deserving of your hard earned money than the New Avengers.