Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogathon 18: New Avengers: Disassembled

[Discussed in this post: New Avengers #21-26.]

We've finally left trade paperback territory here at the blogathon. That's the reason why Civil War: Captain America came before these issues. I have it in trade, I have these in singles. It made more sense to just do the giant stack of trades in order before jumping to singles.

I began reading New Avengers with #23 and I didn't really like it. At all. I still don't. It's the Spider-Woman issue of this arc and it's not very good. Actually, a lot of the issues in this arc aren't very good. #23 suffers from me wondering about SHIELD again, Spider-Woman being annoying, Iron Man being a dick, and Hydra using the ability to nearly crash the SHIELD Helicarrier for the sole purpose of... rescuing Spider-Woman. You'd think they'd at least make sure it crashed or do more damage or something. Ariel Coipel provides some art that falls between House of M and New Avengers annual #1 in quality.

The following issue, a Sentry-centric one isn't really bad or good. It's just kind of there as the Sentry thinks about what to do, encounters the Inhumans, and then leaves with Iron Man.

The next, which focuses on Iron Man and one of his employees attacking him for misusing his tech designs to take down superheroes. What bothers me there isn't that the guy fails or anything, it's that Stark is never shown actually listening and considering what the guy says. An absolute failure on the part of the writers at this time was Stark rarely (if ever) being shown as a guy who actually hears new information and thinks about it before discounting it. When the guy talks about how Stark betrayed them, he simply responds, "I paid for it, it's mine." Fantastic dialogue there. Way to show a supposedly bright guy as a flippant moron.

The quality issues, though, are rather good. Issue 21 centres on Captain America and seems to take place in the early days of the Civil War storyline as he spends some time simply trying to draw as that relaxes him. Of course, Cape Killers show up and he's soon on the run again, but it's still pretty good. It's got Howard Chaykin art.

Issue 26 is a different issue, more of a sequel to Avengers Disassembled and House of M as it explores what the newly alive Clint Barton does once alive. Turns out, he hunts down Wanda and, when he finds her, she has no memory of anything and he sleeps with her. Alex Maleev does the art and it's a strangely haunting issue that has a guy act in a way you wouldn't expect -- nor would he. But, what it comes down to is, he goes there wanting to kill her and then finds that he can't... she doesn't know she did anything wrong -- hell, in that state, she didn't do anything wrong, and those feelings of frustrating and anger just come out in a different way. I kind of wish subsequent artists kept the buzz cut look for Clint.

By far the best issue in this arc and one of the best New Avengers issues period is #22, the Luke Cage/Jessica Jones issue (those issues are always damn good). The issue begins with Iron Man and Ms. Marvel visiting the two, both refusing to sign up. Jessica argues that while she has powers, she doesn't use them and doesn't want the government to tell her she has to when they want her to. Luke argues that they're doing something wrong: arresting people for being different, pulling people out of their homes in the middle of the night... and Iron Man has no response, he just dismisses it all. I think that's the only weakness of the issue: Bendis doesn't have it in him to articulate the opposite side to his own beliefs. That's where Civil War fell apart the whole way... none of the writers could argue the pro-registration side, so readers felt no reason to relate to that side of the issue.

Jessica and the baby go to Canada. What I love is how Luke just sits in his apartment, doing nothing, when they come to arrest him -- something he does purposefully. He escapes and joins up with Cap's crew, of course. Leinil Francis Yu does his first work on the title and it won't be his last. I really am a fan of his art.

In 30 minutes, Civil War: Punisher War Journal.

[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.]