The Revolution has enjoyed Bendis’ work on Dark Avengers. The same cannot be said for what Bendis has given us on New Avengers. This title has been a consistently poor read. I can only hope that Bendis finally gets this title back on track and moving with some type of purpose in mind. New Avengers #50 is a big issue and has been hyped as the showdown between the New Avengers and the Dark Avengers. Let’s see if Bendis can deliver. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Avengers #50.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Billy Tan, Matt Banning, Justin Ponsor, Brian Hitch, Rain Beredo, David Aja, Dave Stewart, David Lopez, Alvaro Lopez, Alex Maleev, Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Morry Hollowell, Leinel Yu, Mark Morales, Dave McCraig, Steve Epting and Greg Horn
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the New Avengers staring at the paused picture of the New Avengers on their television. Hawkeye is pissed off and is ranting that they need to go kick the Dark Avengers’ asses. The others are just stunned. Clint spits that they are probably Skrulls. This prompts Iron Fist to quip for Clint to stop using the word Skrull. Iron Fist says that he is sick of that word. Luke chimes in that he is sick of that word, too. (So am I.)
Iron Fist comments that Sentry and Ares are sellouts. Ms. Marvel disagrees about Sentry and says that Sentry is simply a sick man. Luke chimes in and says that Ares is the god of war. Clint calls Ares a “Thor wanna-be.” Luke tells Clint to say that to Ares’ face. Clint says that he would. Luke does not believe that statement.
The New Avengers proceed to figure out that Marvel Boy is Captain Marvel. That Moonstone is Ms. Marvel. That Venom is Spider-Man and Bullseye is Hawkeye. The New Avengers are pissed that the Thunderbolts are posing as Avengers. However, nobody recognizes who is posing as Wolverine. Logan replies that it is his son, Daken. The New Avengers are all stunned silent that Wolverine has a son. Spider-Man is stunned that Wolverine has even had sex. (This scene is ridiculously decompressed.)
The New Avengers talk about how since Tony paid for everything with SHIELD money that Norman is now in control of Avengers Tower. Captain America asks Spider-Man if there is no question that Norman Osborn is the Green Goblin. Spider-Man swears that Norman is the Green Goblin and that Norman is a murderer and a psychopath. Captain America adds that now Norman has surrounded himself with criminals from the Thunderbolts. And now Norman has weaseled himself into a position of power. Captain America states that they have to believe that Norman is intent on abusing his newfound power. (Duh. Look at the big brain on Cap.)
Captain America states that they could go fight the Dark Avengers. However, Captain America asks what would they do then? Cap says that they cannot arrest the Dark Avengers. Clint pipes in that they could expose the Dark Avengers for what they are. Spider-Man, the master of the obvious, points out that they are out-classed by the power of the Dark Avengers. (Bendis is talking me to death.)
Ms. Marvel states that they might be able to beat the Dark Avengers. Ms. Marvel says that she has Tony’s power inhibitor that he used on the New Avengers a while back when he lured them to Avengers Tower by using Steve Rogers’ dead body as bait. Ms. Marvel says that they could lure the Dark Avengers somewhere and then use the power inhibitor on them. Luke says “And beat the black off them.” (Whaaat? Why in the hell would Luke say that? First, it is stupid and ignorant. Second, none of the Dark Avengers are black. That was dumb dialogue. Once again Bendis makes Luke look like an idiot.)
Jessica Jones then points out that they are running out of places to live and that they cannot lure the Dark Avengers to Cap’s hideout. Ms. Marvel says that they can lure the Dark Avengers to some other place. Spider-Woman then says that she thinks that she might come into play at this point.
We cut to Avengers Tower with the scene from Dark Avengers #2 where Norman tells the team that the Skrulls are done and that they are not going to go after Tony Stark for their first mission. Moonstone then suggests that they introduce themselves to each other. Daken asks why they would do that. Moonstone says that it was her way of saying that she does not know what the hell Daken is. (God, I have sat through ten pages of talking static heads and now I have to re-read a scene of dialogue from an earlier issue. Bendis is putting me to sleep.)
Suddenly, Spider-Woman arrives on the scene. (Thank god. Please fight. Do not talk.) Venom attacks Spider-Woman and asks Norman if he can eat her. (That is so fresh and original getting old.) Spider-Woman says that she came here to talk to Norman. Hawkeye asks if he can kill “it” before Venom eats “it.” Norman says that Spider-Woman is not an “it.” That she is not the Skrull queen.
Norman asks what Spider-Woman wants. Spider-Woman says that she first went to the New Avengers but they did not want her. That they all hate her because she looks like the Skrull queen. Norman answers that he has no desire to look at Spider-Woman’s face, either. Norman says that he has no spot on the Dark Avengers for her.
Venom says that Spider-Woman is a Skrull. (This issue is just awful so far.) Spider-Woman screams that she is not a Skrull and blasts Venom. Sentry grabs Spider-Woman’s arms and tells her to stop. Spider-Woman blasts Sentry in the face. It has no effect on him at all. Sentry says “No. Seriously. Cut it out.”
Norman tells everyone to stop fighting. Norman says that Spider-Woman has nothing to offer him. (This scene is about three pages longer than it needs to be.) Spider-Woman says that she knows the location of Luke Cage and the New Avengers. Spider-Woman asks if that information is worth a roster spot on the Dark Avengers.
Norman points out that Luke already tried to con him. Spider-Woman says that she knows. Spider-Woman says that she was an agent of SHIELD and Hydra. Spider-Woman says “Just give me something to do, man.” We then get three more static panels of the same shot until Norman finally smiles.
We cut to the New Avengers at the old Hellfire Club house o’ sin in New York City. Wolverine says that he thought about this location if the New Avengers ever needed a place to hide out. Luke can’t believe that Wolverine would have suggested this location as a place to live. Wolverine quips that it would have been better than nothing. Luke answers “Not really.” (Dios mio. This issue is an ode to decompression at its most extreme form. Are we going to talk about the amount of navel lint that Luke accumulates due to the “wife beaters” that he wears?)
We have to sit through Ms. Marvel giving an unnecessary explanation about how the power inhibitor works. Evidently it is like a biological EMP. Mockingbird asks how they will know when to use it. (I would suggest using it when the bad guys show up.) Spider-Woman appears on the scene and tells them to fire it up now. That the Dark Avengers are right behind her. Wolverine sniffs the air and says something is wrong. (Yes, you are correct, my short furry friend. Something is wrong. We have been 18 pages and gotten more mind numbing and rambling dialogue than one person can possibly handle.)
Suddenly, the power inhibitor explodes. (Damn Starktech!) Iron Fist says that they should retreat immediately. Spider-Man says his spider sense is tingling. Wolverine says that his is as well. The door blows up and little red riding Hood and his merry band of D-list super villains enter the scene. (Aww, were you expecting to see the New Avengers knock heads with the Dark Avengers? Sorry. NO SOUP FOR YOU!)
We cut to outside of the Hellfire Club and see the Dark Avengers on a nearby rooftop watching the Hood and his thugs attack the New Avengers. Norman says that it was a trap after all. Norman says that the New Avengers will get the message. Norman says that the Dark Avengers will not join the fight. Norman continues that he does not want his first act as top cop to be him beating up Captain America. (Norman is hands down the smartest character in this issue.) Norman tells everyone to get into the Quinjet. Ares looks totally despondent that they are not joining the battle.
We then slide back into the Hellfire Club where the New Avengers are brawling with the Hood’s merry band of losers. Mockingbird asks who the villains are that are attacking them. Clint explains that it is the Hood and his band of villain. (Jesus Christ. Is Bendis going to explain even the most basic things to the reader like the reader is two years old? Is it too much to ask for Bendis to just shut up and just give us some kick-ass action with no talking to make up for all the decompressed dialogue we have gotten for the past 22 pages?)
Ah, no such luck as we get tons of inner narration from Iron Fist about how crazy his life is and that he only joined the New Avengers to help out his old buddy Luke Cage. Danny drones on about he needs to spend more time as Danny Rand and blah, blah, blah.
We then see Luke Cage fighting one of the Wrecking Crew. And we get plenty of inner dialogue from Luke about, well honestly, not about anything important at all. The long and short of it is that Luke still does not trust Spider-Woman. Luke thinks that Spider-Woman is still a Skrull. (Guuuuh.) Luke thinks she set them up and that he is going to have a talk to her after this fight is over. (For God’s sake do not kick her in the vagina, Luke. Control your natural urge to do so.)
We then cut to Clint and Mockingbird fighting side-by-side. We get double inner narration from the duo. Clint thinks about how the Hood would have known that the New Avengers were in the Hellfire Club. Clint wonders what the relationship is between the Norman and the Hood. Mockingbird just thinks “Not exactly sure who anyone is, but I can hit them. I’m with Clint. We’re kicking ass. This is good.” (Now that was a damn good narration.)
We see Spider-Woman fighting some of the thugs. Spider-Woman’s inner narration is all about how this is all her fault, that everyone hates her and whine, whine, whine. Next up is Spider-Man’s inner narration. (Because, evidently, you just can’t have a kick-ass brawl without talking the reader to death in the process.) Spider-Man thinks how he always turned down offers to join the Avengers. And the one time that he decides to join the Avengers they are fugitives on the run and blah, blah, blah.
We next hit Wolverine and his inner narration. Basically it is just Wolverine thinking “Kill them all!” And next on the inner narration grand tour is Captain America! Welcome Cap, what is on your mind during this “wild” and “exciting” fight? Well, it seems that Cap is thinking about how at one point in his life he would have been on the villains’ side of this fight. However, Cap is now a different man. That he represents something bigger than himself. That this is the team that Steve wanted. That Bucky has to make this happen.
Bucky says screw Norman and Tony. That the New Avengers are the Avengers. Bucky then thinks that Steve fought in many fights like this. However, Bucky has his own style of fighting that is different from Steve’s. Bucky whips out a gun and start shooting at the villains.
Next is Ms. Marvel’s inner narration. (God, this is so formulaic and boring.) We get plenty of inner narration about how the Hood is a total loser and blah, blah, blah. Ms. Marvel blasts the Hood in the face. The Hood shrugs it off. Finally, the comic book gods smile on me and the incessant inner narration ends. Ms. Marvel tells Spider-Woman to blast her with everything she has. That Ms. Marvel will absorb the energy, power up and then let out a blast to take down all of the villains.
Spider-Woman does so. Ms. Marvel then lets out a massive energy blast that takes down the villains. The New Avengers then turn tail and run like a bunch of scalded dogs. We cut to Cap’s love shack where Clint is pitching a total hissy fit about Norman Osborn playing the New Avengers for total chumps. (Get used to it, Clint.) Wolverine is pissed that they turned tail and ran.
Captain America tells everyone to calm down. Clint states that the Hood and Norman are in cahoots. All of the New Avengers agree that the Hood and Norman must be working together. Spider-Woman apologizes for what went down at the Hellfire Club. Ms. Marvel answers that it was not Spider-Woman’s fault and that she helped to get them out of there. Clint then storms out of the room. Everybody sits around and asks where Clint is going.
We cut to a breaking news report on TV. We see the newscaster stating that they have an unexpected interview. We see Clint next to the newscaster. Clint drones on for two pages full of the same panel shot. (Well, we began the issue with a series of static panels with talking heads, so why not end the issue with a bit more of the same?)
Basically, in the two pages of dialogue Clint says that Norman is a bad guy and is employing criminals to be on his Avengers. That the New Avengers are fighting for the people and that they will continue to fight for the people. Clint tells the people of America to fight for their rights. (Nah, Americans are very docile. Give us an SUV, a Wal-Mart, some beer and crappy “reality” TV shows and we won’t complain about anything.) And that Clint promises that he and the New Avengers will be there fighting alongside of the people of America. End of issue.
The Good: New Avengers #50 was a total train wreck of a read. However, I can still satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue. Bendis does give the reader a large fight scene that runs for a whopping 13 pages. While it certainly had its defects in its delivery, it was still enough fighting to satisfy many action fans.
And while I took issue with much of the inner narration during the brawl as being unnecessary, I have to admit that I loved Mockingbird’s inner narration. This was the only inner narration that I actually found well crafted. Mockingbird’s narration gives the reader a nice insight into her character and her frame of mind as she deals with being back in the 616 Universe after her long absence.
I also did not mind Captain America’s inner narration. Now, I still thought that Bendis went overboard and gave us too much inner narration by Cap. But, at least the narration was useful in bringing readers who do not read Captain America’s title up to speed about Bucky’s character and his differences with Steve Rogers. This helped to give Bucky his own style and approach to the role of Captain America.
The Bad: New Avengers #50 was a hot mess. Bendis gagged up a poorly crafted issue. New Avengers #50 was terribly paced. The story creeps along at an almost maddeningly slow pace. This issue was a study of decompression in its most extreme form. The entire issue was ridiculously decompressed, but the first nineteen pages were just outrageously slow and dull.
New Avengers #50 suffered from poor plotting. There is a total lack of plotlines on this team title other than the one involving the New Avengers determined to expose the Dark Avengers. That is it. Compared to other team titles like Guardians of the Galaxy that boasts several major plotlines, short range plots and long range plots, as well as a myriad of sub-plots involving the different team members; New Avengers comes across as substantive as an anorexic super model.
There is an alarming lack of depth to New Avengers #30. This 37 page story is mostly fluff. Bendis takes what might be enough content for half of a normal sized issue and stretches it out as much as possible. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this issue has almost double the amount of pages as a normal issue. Don’t fall for the belief that you are getting more for your money. You are not. Yes, there are more pages, but the content in New Avengers #50 is less than what is found in most regular sized issues of other titles currently on the market.
The unending waves of pointless babbling dialogue and inner monologue nearly drowns the reader. So much of it was completely useless and unnecessary. The dialogue and inner narration drones on and one with no point or purpose for the majority of the issue. This is certainly some of the most incredibly decompressed dialogue that you will find in any comic book on the market. Some of the frivolous dialogue borders on being absurd. It is almost as if Bendis simply is in love with his own voice and wants to reader to love it as much as he does.
It is practically condescending in how inanely hand-holdy New Avengers #50 comes across. This issue is a perfect example of the writer telling the reader everything rather than showing the reader. Bendis proceeds to tell the reader everything down to the most simple facts and shows the reader nothing. This issue is a case of lead balloon dialogue where the reader need not engage their mind for even a moment as Bendis spoon feeds the reader as if they were two years old.
What made the endless rambling dialogue even more annoying was that it simply re-hashed dialogue and information that we have gotten over and over on this title and other titles since the beginning of Dark Reign. Bendis simply re-hashes everything that has happened since the end of Secret Invasion. I appreciate set-up work as much as the next read, but enough is enough. I am tired of reading the same discussions on every single Avengers title over and over.
Most of the dialogue is your typical Bendis speak which is Bendis’ default setting when he has no grasp of the external voices of the various characters that he is handling. The character work continues to be extremely thin. None of the various members of the New Avengers have much of a textured, fleshed out or nuance personality. Instead, the various members of the New Avengers either possess a generic and bland personality or they are simply walking stereotypes. Clint and Luke in particular come across more as caricatures rather than actual characters.
Another problem with New Avengers #50 was that Bendis gave the reader the old bait and switch with the fight scene. This issue was hyped as the showdown between the Dark Avengers and New Avengers. Nope. Instead, we get to see the New Avengers battle the Hood and his band of D-listers. Again. The fact that I find the Hood to be incredibly one-dimensional and a total C-list character hurt my interest in this fight scene. And the Hood’s team of loser villains still do nothing to spark my interest.
Unfortunately, the large fight scene was dragged down by the endless and boring inner narration from each of the characters. And the structure of the fight scene and the inner narration was so mechanical and formulaic as we methodically plodded through a page of narration from every single member of the team. And almost all of the inner narration was useless and unnecessary. There was no real need for any of the inner narration from Iron Fist, Luke, Clint, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Ms. Marvel.
Instead, the only thing the endless inner narration accomplished was to get in the way of the action. The inner narration bogged down the fight scene and served as more of a distraction to the reader than as an enhancement of the fight scene. Imagine seeing a sweet fight scene in a James Bond movie while having to listen to an endless barrage of inner monologue from James Bond about the most frivolous details of his life. It would drive the viewer crazy and seriously dampen the fun and excitement of the action scene in the movie. Well, that is exactly what Bendis achieves with his monolithic wall of inner narration during the fight scene.
Now, I do not mind a little bit of inner narration during a fight scene. But, I place an emphasis on a little bit. Less is always more when it comes to an action scene. Inner narration should be used sparingly, period; and only when it advances the story. The vast majority of the inner narration that Bends overwhelms the reader with serves little purpose and does not advance the story in any substantive manner.
Bendis ends New Avengers #50 with a total thud. This was a dull ending that did little to get me excited about coming back for the next issue. If I had never read the New Avengers before and this was the big issue designed to pull me into adding this title to my pull list then Bendis failed miserably. There was nothing in New Avengers #50 that would tempt a new reader to want to hop aboard this slow and bloated train. Still, it was thematically fitting that New Avengers #50 end just like it began with a series of static panels and talking heads.
In general I strongly dislike artwork by committee. It only works for me if the artists involved can blend their styles together in order to prevent the issue from having a schizophrenic look. Unfortunately, that does not happen in New Avengers #50. We get a whopping 18 artists in a single 37 page story. That has to be some kind of record. And the art styles clash as we shift artists from page to page during the long fight scene.
And even the parts of New Avengers that are handled by the main three artists are dull and uninteresting. The reader gets nothing but an endless onslaught of small panels with talking heads in them or we get the same static panel over and over with the only changes being the dialogue balloons. New Avengers #50 was just so visually unappealing on so many different levels.
Overall: New Avengers #50 was an extremely disappointing read. And it is made even more so by the fact that Bendis is capable of giving us a much better effort than what he turns in on this title every month. Ultimate Spider-Man is a consistently good read. Dark Avengers has been entertaining. However, New Avengers continues to be one of the most unimpressive reads that Marvel publishes.
If you have enjoyed what Bendis has given us on New Avengers over the past couple of years then definitely pick up New Avengers #50. You will certainly like this issue. However, for everyone else out there I would strongly recommend avoiding New Avengers #50. This title is definitely not worth the inflated cover price of $4.99.