Comics rant: New Avengers #48

After finishing Secret Invasion, I vowed I wouldn’t read anymore mainstream Marvel books, up to and especially New Avengers. Sure enough, Wednesday rolled around and I picked up the newest issue of New Avengers, promising an “all-new roster change” the likes of which we have not seen since New Avengers #1.

Let me tell you something about the New Avengers roster.

Wait, hold on.

Let me tell you something about The Avengers roster: It changed all the time, exchanged coasts, but always maintained some major power players of the Marvel Universe. It usually means Thor’s on the team, Iron Man has to be there, and Captain America has been a staple and symbol of the Avengers since he was thawed out in the 60’s. Founding members like the Wasp, and mainstays (that’s a fancy word for “Characters who can’t sell a book on their own”) like Hawkeye, Giant Man (or Ant Man, Goliath, or Yellow Jacket), Scarlet Witch, and Wonder Man (yes, there’s a Wonder Man) have kicked around the team for awhile, creating an expectation readers have for what the team’s supposed to be like.

(Note: There was also a Young Avengers, which a lot of people seem to like. It involves time travel and shit, and they even have a person who gets really big named Stature.)

Then Scarlet Witch went bonkers and killed half the team. Scratch that. She killed most of the “mainstays.”

Then they made the “New” Avengers. This was a team assembled by Brian Michael Bendis, a prolific writer who routinely gets to “shake things up” at the House of Ideas (a moniker Marvel humbly coined for themselves). If you read anything by Bendis, you can pretty much imagine the team assembled. The original team was comprised of Captain America and Iron Man, plus added newbs Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider Woman (yes, there’s a Spider Woman; three, actually), The Sentry (Marvel’s Schitzo Superman), and Luke Cage (Hero for Hire, and recently-popular African American superhero). Then a ninja showed up named Ronin, who was actually a deaf ninja woman, ironically named Echo.

Then some shit happened called The Civil War. Cap died. Iron Man’s a tool.

New team: Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider Woman, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and Echo. She ditched the costume when Hawkeye came back to life (Crazy Witch killed him and brought him back later) and wanted a new identity, becoming Ronin. Still with me so far? All it means is– it’s the same roster as before, but they swapped Cap and Iron Man for Doctor Strange and Iron Fist, plus a new Ronin.

But they didn’t stop there! Iron Man is still alive, and also has the keys to the world! Time for his own Avengers team, which might as well have been called “The Way Better Avengers” (actually called The Mighty Avengers). That team resembled the boring bullshit roster people liked so much they decided to kill half its original team a couple of years prior. This one had:

Iron Man, Ms Marvel, Ares, Wonder Man (remember him?), The Sentry, and former KGB Agent Black Widow. Together they had a bunch of boring stories that didn’t matter, and they fought Doctor Doom once (who delivered lines that would make Frank Miller blush).

Then a shape-shifting alien race called The Skrulls took over the planet, but apparently made everything run exactly the same way it had been running before they took over, with the one exception of having a big, pointless battle after their cover was blown. We found out some of the superheroes were Skrulls in disguise, their counterparts stowed away in a secret location. The roster… shifted. I would hesitate to say it changed. Spider Woman became a Mighty Avenger, and Doctor Strange quit everything, apparently.

(Keep in mind, Bendis is still writing ALL these stories.)

Then the Secret Invasion was over, and we found out Spider Woman was Queen of the Skrulls, and Giant Man (or Super Bee or whatever his name is) was a Skrull, too. Wasp died. Iron Man was fired. They made him give the Green Goblin the keys on the way out. Now there’s THREE Avengers teams!

Mighty Avengers got a facelift (and a new writer, in the form of happy-go-lucky fan-turned-creator Dan Slott): Giant Man became The Wasp (he was married to her, so he took on her superhero name when she died… which is not weird or creepy at all), Scarlet Witch (who “got better”), Jocasta (a female robot), Stature (Young Avenger-turned Mighty), and Vision (a male robot… from the future!). It’s also rumored that Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hercules, and his little friend Amadeus Cho (long story– little kid, super smart) are also going to appear in some capacity. Whatever.

Then there’s the Dark Avengers! Oooh! Green Goblin makes his own super team of bad guys who are pretending to be good guys. Green Goblin himself (we assume) dresses up like Iron Man with American flag colors, donning the name “Iron Patriot” (on purpose, by the way). Hawkeye is there (murderous psychopath Bullseye in disguise), along with Ms Marvel (who is also not really Ms Marvel), The Sentry (still crazy as ever), Ares (all the Gods you can handle, except for Thor), Daken (Wolverine’s long lost son…), Noh-Var (don’t ask), and Spider-Man (now curiously in his black costume and on two teams, indicating yet another imposter). This one’s written by Bendis, so you can be sure to expect them to sleep with each other, stab each other in the back, and argue a lot.

But that’s not who we really care about, is it? We’re here to find out who the New Avengers are! After all, it’s the one issue with “Avengers” in the title that actually came out! So who is this bold new roster they boasted?

Ahem.

Luke Cage, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ronin, Spider Woman, Ms Marvel, and Mockingbird (thought dead, captured and released by Skrulls).

So… they added three new members, one of whom is a new Captain America, and the other was on the other Avengers team.

Not quite a shake-up, exactly. In fact, it’s pretty safe. The Mighty Avengers experienced more of a major shake-up than these guys. So the big point of the issue, the revelation of the new, New Avengers, is that they added two people and didn’t invite the deaf girl back. Nice.

But what of the issue, itself? What happened? The answer is only two words: not much. The big final battle from the Secret Invasion is over, and all the superheroes are chatting about whether they’re going to hang out after this. They covertly make their plans and ditch the clean-up, to then re-introduce themselves to… themselves. Then Luke Cage and his wife Jessica Jones show up, crying that their baby is gone. Skrulls took her, so it’s off to use their super-duper super powers as the Awesome New Avengers on their first mission! And what do they do?

Why, they go to the Fantastic Four and ask them for help! Because this is a team of action! They know that if they’re completely incapable of performing a search-and-rescue operation, they don’t have time for rooftop poses (well, maybe one)! They have to find REAL superheroes who have REAL resources!

And they turn up bubkis. In the end, Luke Cage cries a lot and asks Green Goblin for help. Ta daa!

A lot of asking other people for help going on in this issue. Not sure what that means, but I do know that I sort of regret picking this issue up. And I’m sure anyone who doesn’t read comics who reads this review will now never read comics again.

I don’t know if I’ve helped, or done a disservice.

But that’s the credo of the New Avengers! By the end of every issue, no one wins, everyone loses, and there’s always a question as to whether they accomplished anything. Or the last page is a full-page reveal of something extraordinary!

Two flags. (2/5)

~ by Crivelliman on January 14, 2009.

One Response to “Comics rant: New Avengers #48”

  1. Air guitar solo HERE

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