Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogathon 12: New Avengers: The Collective

[Discussed in this post: New Avengers #16-20.]

We're fast approaching the end of the pre-Civil War New Avengers run and all of a week has passed. It was during my reading of this arc that I realised that. Decompressed storytelling in action, folks. A GODDAMN WEEK HAS PASSED!

This story is what it is... a long fight with a naked guy that's fallout from House of M. Steve McNiven draws the first issue, half of which is splash pages. Seriously, the first eight pages are splashes for no good reason except that THESE EVENTS ARE BIG TIME SERIOUS, GUYS! PAY ATTENTION!

Basically, the collective energy of every mutant that Wanda wished away is drawn to a guy named Michael who is a postman in Alaska. It destroys his home town and possesses him, causing him to gain all of those powers and go running across Canada (where he slaughters Alpha Flight in seconds) and the US and fight in space until eventually he settles in Genosha where it's revealed that it's actually Xorn in control somehow. Oh yeah, Magneto is writing a book in Genosha and he apparently dies at the end of this story.

It's really a big, long fight scene. There are a couple of interesting parts. The Avengers going to Detroit and 'policing' a bad neighbourhood to try and clean things up? Fantastic. Bendis does more great Luke Cage stuff here. Luke would be the sort of Avengers that would demand the group do more -- and I really like that no one argues with the idea. No one says it's a waste of their time or beneath them, they just do it because it's a great idea.

The tensions between SHIELD and the group are amped up here, which I'm not sure works with the way that Iron Man and Spider-Man will work with SHIELD during Civil War. Spider-Man, in particular, gets arrested, unmasked, and his mind invaded by a telepath. I think he would have some issues with SHIELD after this.

The Sentry joins the action and we get to see him hit a lot of stuff. That Peter Parker is the only one who can figure out what the Collective is after they see all of the energy matches is weird. Isn't SHIELD aware of the depowered mutants?

This is a rather weak story, honestly, not helped by its drawn-out nature. Now, Michael receiving the energy because that's his new power and then going crazy from all of the power would have worked, but the Xorn connection takes it too far.

McNiven's art is what it is and I won't badmouth it since he's obvious talented, just not to my taste. Mike Deodato's work here is some of his weaker stuff. He isn't doing his best work, it looks rushed, and not complete. That helps this arc sink a bit lower in quality since it's frustrating to see such shoddy work from an otherwise talented artist.

In the content/promise of content department, I'll call this one a wash since there's not much content, but not much 'come back next time' crap either.

Now, the brutal slaughter of Alpha Flight? That is cheap. This guy kills them in two seconds and yet doesn't kill a single Avenger? That's not good writing and the worthless sacrifice of characters for no reason other than an "Oh wow cool awesome!" moment.

New Avengers wraps up its pre-Civil War status in 30 minutes with The Pulse: Fear, which contains New Avengers Annual #1, for anyone who was about to say I'm lying.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]