Brian Michael Bendis tweeted that this issue of “New Avengers” was a “big hop on point.” Like a savvy poker player, Marvel saw that claim from Bendis and threw Daredevil and Thing on the cover. Naturally, anyone who has not been following the book, but saw the combination of these two items, would be thinking the same thing that I thought, “I’ll hop on and give this a try.”
I suspect that I’m not the only person who tries this out only to be horribly disappointed.
Not only is Daredevil nowhere to be found in this issue, but the Thing isn’t onboard either. I know, I know, the big “Daredevil Joins the Avengers” issue was last issue, but still, if you’re declaring this book a jump-on point and advertising it with two fan-favorite characters, for four bucks, you darn well better deliver.
What did the issue deliver you ask? Largely a forgettable story about the Avengers fighting a giant robot named Ultimo and some drones getting a DNA sample off Wolverine. Oh, and Norman Osborn is here too.
Bendis does give most of the characters that are actually in the issue a line or two of dialogue, and a few of them get to show of their skills and/or powers: Jessica Jones has a potty mouth, Luke Cage is a chauvinist, Wolverine slices things up, Spider-Man struggles to find one-liners, and Ms. Marvel can be outflown by a jar that takes after H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot. If I were a true first-timer coming to this book, I’d be largely disappointed. The fact that I’m a jaded reader trying to give this book yet another shot for the umpteenth time did absolutely nothing to make me want to push any more cash in this direction.
That situation is largely compounded by the drawings that Mike Deodato and Will Conrad stuff into the pages. Filled with spotty dark patches, dynamically distorted anatomy, and scribbly details, the action of the Avengers against Ultimo gets quite murky in more than one spot. Beyond that, Spider-Man’s costume evidently lifts and separates a whole lot more than the human anatomy regularly does, Wolverine alternates between stocky and lanky, and Doctor Strange has a magic trench coat that varies in length as dramatic flair requires it to. Sure, these are all standards of comic book art, but they are not standards of comic book art I appreciate. I’ve seen much better work from Deodato, and I’ve read much better work from Bendis.
This issue of “New Avengers” is enough to convince me that all the Avengers I might need in the near future can be found elsewhere. That’s a crying shame, too, as the Avengers franchise has so much potential. After all, there is a movie coming out and a relatively successful cartoon. I’m glad those vehicles already appeal to me more than what I endured here.