New Avengers is a journey down a dark and windy path that leads to nowhere particular. Bendis appears to have achieved the perfect state of stasis where he can string together numerous issues that achieve nothing. We get served up plenty of random dialogue laced with “witty” stream of conscious banter mashed together with repetitive brawl scenes involving quite possibly the lamest Avengers villain in The Hood. Other than that, New Avengers has been a blast to read and I’m sure we will get a real gem with New Avengers Annual #2.
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Pencils: Carlo Pagulayan
Inks: Jeff Huet
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Maria Hill in command of the Helicarrier. She is informed that the Raft had a break-in. That someone broke in and let out a list of the following villains. That evidently the cloak the intruder wore is mystical in nature and prevents SHIELD from picking up his presence.
We cut back to Red Hood and his flunkies back at Tigra’s place. Red Hood wants to know where the Avengers are hiding. Tigra immediately gives up Dr. Strange’s house as the Avengers’ secret hiding place. Red Hood says that he will kill Tigra if she is lying. Jigsaw then proceeds to keep his pimp hand strong as he smacks around Tigra. Tigra cowers like a little girl.
We shift to Dr. Strange’s home with the New Avengers coming back from a battle. Dr. Strange tells Wong and everyone else to not touch him and to leave him alone. Dr. Strange then closes himself up in his room to listen to The Cure and act very Goth and depressed. The New Avengers don’t know what to do about Dr. Strange other than maybe go buy him some tight black clothing from Hot Topic to cheer him up.
We see The Hood and his villainous crew outside of Dr. Strange’s house. The Hood’s eyes turn all fiery and demonic and he is able to see through Dr. Strange’s protective spell that he has cast around his house to hide the Avengers. Madam Masque comments that when all of this is done that the Hood needs to come forward with exactly who he is and what they are all dealing with.
Inside Dr. Strange’s house, Spider-Man’s spider-sense goes crazy and he immediately grabs Luke’s baby and yells to everyone that they are here. Spider-Man then heads outside of the house to get the baby out of harm’s way. Evidently, Luke and Jessica are dumber than dirt since they think that Spider-Man is trying to kidnap their baby.
Suddenly, The Hood and his boyz bust into Dr. Strange’s crib and the shit gets hot real fast. Jessica flies outside of the house and asks Spider-Man to give her the baby. Spider-Man says that there was no time to talk and that the baby’s safety came first. Spider-Man tells Jessica to get out of here immediately. Spider-Man then heads back into the house where the massive brawl is in full swing.
Tigra then busts onto the scene and finally starts acting like herself and joins the fight against The Hood and his homies. Unfortunately, The Hood and his crew kick ass on the New Avengers and our heroes all fall in defeat. But, fear not fair reader for Dr. Deus ex machina is here. A Zom powered Dr. Strange busts out of his room on fire and destroys everything and everyone. The villains are down for the count. Wong then helps heal out heroes from Strange’s attack. Our heroes stand victorious over the vanquished villains.
Dr. Strange states that he tried to call on dark powers that he thought he could control, but he cannot. That Dr. Strange’s hands are useless once again. That after all these years Dr. Strange has not learned anything. Dr. Strange says he has failed his position as Sorcerer Supreme. That Dr. Strange must go re-learn all he has lost and go put back magics he should have never used. Dr. Strange says that he can no longer help the Secret Avengers and that they must leave now.
Ms. Marvel along with SHIELD soldiers then appear on the scene. Carol asks where Jessica and the baby are. Luke responds that they don’t know. Ms. Marvel tells Luke to go find them. Ms. Marvel refuses to arrest the Secret Avengers. Carol asks the Luke how the Secret Avengers are going to get by tomorrow. Luke responds that he doesn’t know.
We see a bloodied Hood in an alley. He looks up to the moon and asks how did he lose the fight. That he had them beaten. The Hood then says “You’re right…Now I know how to beat them.” We cut to Stark Tower where Jessica Jones enters the building and announces to the security system guarding the building that she would like to register. She begs that they let her in so she can protect her baby. End of issue.
The Good: I am thrilled that Bendis has finally written Dr. Strange off of the New Avengers. I never liked the inclusion of a character like Strange onto the Avengers. Dr. Strange is almost an impossible character to write within the context of a super team. Dr. Strange is way too powerful of a character and there are only two ways to handle his character within a team dynamic. And neither is appealing. Either the writer is constantly enticed to use Dr. Strange as a deus ex machina or the writer outlandishly de-powers Dr. Strange to the point that his character isn’t believable anymore. Either way, Dr. Strange just isn’t a quality addition to a super team like the Avengers.
Jessica going to Stark Tower to register in order to protect her baby was probably the first smart thing she has done since Civil War. Seriously, what an atrocious mother she has been up to this point.
The Bad: New Avengers Annual #2 was exactly the dull and predictable read that I was expecting. Bendis continues to recycle the same story and dialogue over and over so we never dare actually get anything that resembles plot progression on this title.
Let’s see, do we see the Red Hood and his cronies beating up Tigra and threatening her once again? Check. Do we get to see The Hood and his C-list crew brawling with the Secret Avengers once again? Check. Do we get more of the mind numbingly moronic in-fighting between the Secret Avengers once again? Check. Do we have yet another showdown between a member of the Mighty Avengers and the New Avengers that leads to Ms. Marvel not arresting the Secret Avengers? Check.
Awesome. Yet another issue of nothing new. With the exception of the final two pages where Dr. Strange finally leaves the team and Jessica finally grows a brain and seeks sanctuary at Stark Tower, this issue was largely a total waste of time and paper. And I beg that we end this idiotic and pointless showdowns between the Avengers and the Secret Avengers. They have gotten so stale and uninteresting.
The Hood continues to be quite possibly the lamest Avengers villain ever. Now, the Hood appears over on the latest issue of Daredevil and it works perfectly. The Hood is a fantastic villain for a title like Daredevil. But for a title like the Avengers who deal with cosmic threats on a grand scale? No thanks. The sooner we can get this ridiculous Hood story arc over with the better. Hey, maybe the Hood is talking to Skrulls at the end of this issue. We could only be so lucky.
Bendis continues to amaze me with his total lack of any character work on this title. Bendis also delivers some rather pedestrian dialogue. None of the Secret Avengers have much of a unique personality. They all are pretty much one-dimensional card board cutouts that evoke little reaction from the reader. And I know that Bendis is in love with Luke Cage’s character, but he sure seems to do his best to make Luke come across about as dumb as a 2×4.
I have to ask this question. Does Bendis hate Tigra or what? In New Avengers #35 Bendis has the Hood beat Tigra like he was her pimp. I have no problem with Tigra getting her ass kicked, but I do have a problem with the manner in which it was done. Bendis has Tigra acts like a total wuss as she gets her ass kicked. And in this issue, Bendis has Tigra readily give up the Secret Avenger’s location like a total coward.
Last time I checked, Tigra has been a longtime Avenger and always came across to me as being a female version of Wolverine. After all, she is a tiger lady. Tigers aren’t exactly wimps. But, Bendis makes Tigra his personal whipping girl and has her come across as a total chump. I never imagined that Tigra would cry and whine while being beaten. I always thought she would be the type of character to take the beating with gritted teeth while promising to eat the spleens of the bad guys at the first chance she got. I think that Bendis may have a refrigerator in store for Tigra’s future.
The ending of this issue didn’t do much for me. Bendis has failed to get me to get emotionally invested in this title. I have no idea what Bendis has in store for the Secret Avengers now that Dr. Strange is kicking them out of his house. And honestly, at this point I could care less. This title has been so boring and pointless for so long that it is hard to maintain much interest in whatever direction Bendis is taking this team.
While the artwork on New Avengers Annual #2 was a slight step up from the usual horror show that Yu gives us every month, I have to admit that the art just didn’t do that much for me at all.
Overall: New Avengers Annual #2 was another boring and repetitive read. This title is stuck in one incredibly deep rut. I don’t know when if ever Bendis is going to make New Avengers a quality read. Bendis simply isn’t suited for a team title like the Avengers. Instead, Marvel should keep Bendis on titles like Ultimate Spider-Man that plays to his strengths.
I cannot recommend New Avengers to anyone outside of big Avengers fans or huge Bendis fans. Other than those two groups, I still can’t see New Avengers being a particularly appealing read that is worth your hard earned money.