For an issue that really doesn’t do much in the sense of providing adventure, thrills, mystery, or fisticuffs, this was a really enjoyable issue of “New Avengers.” After half a year of fighting a mystical threat, Luke Cage’s Avengers are given a chance to catch their breath, survey their surroundings, and start trying to figure things out.
Bendis has been chided for being a “talking head” writer, but when those heads cover a twenty-six panel spread that provides a chuckle or three as well as some good ol’ fashioned nostalgic visitations from the forgotten or underused heroes of yesteryear and today, including appearances by D-Man, U.S. Archer, Squirrel Girl, Groot, She-Hulk, and the usual cast of characters from this title, an issue of talking heads, expertly drawn by Stuart Immonen can be pretty darn enjoyable. Those talking head sequences deal with bits of superheroic minutiae: finding a nanny for Luke’s and Jessica’s baby; taking care of the damage that Avengers Mansion sustained during a recent tussle; Wolverine eating a turkey leg; and Ben Grimm comparing an Avengers paycheck to his Fantastic Four stipend. These are bits that wouldn’t normally keep a comic fan awake at night, but as all fanboys and fangirls know it is moments like those listed above that truly cement a comic book as memorable in the minds of fans across generations.
I’m not saying this issue is an instant classic, but I am saying this issue is good, clean comic book fun. It’s the type of comic that is free from tether, a book that can be handed off to a casual fan or taken back out of the longbox three years from now and it will still provide an enjoyable read.
The team that Bendis has assembled behind Luke Cage is a fun mix of characters and personalities, but it doesn’t really feel very Avengeriffic. Nighthawk sums it up best when he says, “Clearly you guys are the Defenders, but you’re calling yourself the Avengers??” Avengers, Defenders, whatever the team brand, there’s no denying this is a collection of fan favorites. So long as they have the chance to shine like this every once in a while between missions this title will continue to be enjoyable. Of course it helps tremendously to have a talent like Immonen on the art chores. Ably inked by Von Grawbadger, Immonen’s ability to deliver humanistic expressions, mind-blowing detail, and a stunning range of physiques and features really sold this book to me. This team is not my daddy’s Avengers, it’s not even my Avengers, but it doesn’t make this issue any less enjoyable.