Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogathon 10: New Avengers: Secrets & Lies

[Discussed in this post: New Avengers #11-15 and a story from Giant-Sized Spider-Woman #1.]

There are three stories in this trade/set of issues and I'll tackle them one at a time.

The first is "Ronin" where the identity of Ronin is finally revealed. Except, if you've just been reading the issue, you'd have no idea that there was anyone named Ronin around anywhere. See, this is why you don't announce the line-up first and then introduce them. The whole controversy where Ronin turns out to be Echo instead of Daredevil, which people assume is a swerve because Bendis didn't like everyone online figuring out the secret, is totally stupid and Marvel/Bendis's fault. They created a needless mystery that wouldn't be 'solved'/actually intoduced in the comics until issue 11 at the earliest and then the title suffered massive delays and... oh well who cares.

Ronin is Echo, sent by Captain America to Japan to take down the Clan Yashida and the Hand, which are vulnerable. This is at Daredevil's suggestion, because he doesn't want the gig. Daredevil would have made sense, but, in-story, Echo works just as good. The actual story where the Avengers go to Tokyo and get sucked in is fine enough. They fight ninjas and we get another hint that Spider-Woman may be a traitor as she has a discussion with Viper/almost kills Captain America to let Viper escape.

It's a nice little story. Finch returns to do the art. I have no real complaints, but no real praise either.

The Spider-Woman plot is an interesting one: she is a triple agent working for SHIELD while working for Hydra and the Avengers, all under the direction of Nick Fury. Again, not a lot here once you get the actual revelations. Her story is sad and full of pathos and ends with a revelation that *GASP!* she's actually betraying them all, even Nick Fury.

Spider-Woman's stuff introduces the idea of trust into the book, something Bendis will return to a lot, especially in the lead-up to Secret Invasion.

Rick Mays illustrates the story from Giant-Sized Spider-Woman #1 that adds nothing, because it's recapped in New Avengers #14 with art by Frank Cho, who is better. Cho is probably the best artist to work on the title by this point. Very good stuff. I love Cho's art.

Issue 15 spotlights Ms. Marvel and takes place post-House of M, which happened somewhere in all of this. I don't know where. It also has the New Avengers revealing themselves officially to the public. It's at this point that we realise that we're on issue 15 and only, like, three days have gone by. Actually, you'll notice that pre-Civil War, this team of Avengers only exists for... oh, two weeks. The insanely compressed time is very odd.

Ms. Marvel narrates this issue via blog posts that begin and end every page and offer no real idea of how anyone would blog. I get whay Bendis is going for, but it doesn't work. He does some good character work with her, though. She saw her full potential during House of M and wants to reach it before rejoining the Avengers.

There's also a bit where Stark makes a deal with J. Jonah Jameson ahead of time for favourable coverage in exchange for exclusive access to the group. Jameson even shakes Spider-Man's hand... and then slams the group in the press. Fuck J. Jonah Jameson. Fuck him right in the ear.

The page the new team introduces itself (minus Wolverine who opts out) is great as guys like Luke Cage and Spider-Man finally get some big time recognition for their acts of heroism.

Frank Cho, again, does a stellar job.

In the content/promise of content area, this trade/set of issues does a decent job. A kind of lacklustre "Ronin" story sets up two character-based issues that tell good stories. All that's set up is Spider-Woman's possible betrayal in the future and that there's a new Avengers team.

In 30 minutes: House of M.

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