When a crossover hits a title, it can be difficult for the creators to maintain any momentum they’ve built up, even as they try to juggle existing stories with the new one that’s just come down the pike. That’s quite evident in “New Avengers” #8, where Al Ewing and Marcus To bring the book into the “Standoff” crossover. Unfortunately, the issue makes the series feel as though it’s roaring over a speedbump.
There’s a very strong disconnect between Ewing’s story in “New Avengers” #7 and what we see in “New Avengers” #8. The cliffhanger with White Tiger’s powers being stolen is never addressed (and, aside from a caption calling her a “normal human martial artist,” is not even mentioned), and the larger storyline of the villainous Maker is similarly sidelined. This is exactly why crossovers and tie-ins get a bad name. As the overall series is disrupted by the outside plot, it’s more than a little frustrating for anyone who’s enjoyed the previous issues.
Ewing does his best to try and make “Standoff” fit into his “New Avengers” storyline, though. We get a revelation about which other member of the team is an undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (since we learned earlier that there’s another one besides the not-undercover Hawkeye), and the consequences of the New Avengers operating on American soil finally triggers a big change at the end of the issue. It’s a consolation prize, but at least this isn’t completely divorced from the series as a whole.
To’s art fits with the overall look of the series when he steps in this month. His artwork fits in with the slightly angular style previous issues had, and little moments — like Songbird using her powers to give Power Man and White Tiger wings — look fun. There are definitely a few too many panels with no backgrounds, though, especially in the latter half of the issue. While that made sense at the start of the issue when the team voted on whether or not to take the mission, later pages look much more barren.
Unfortunately, “New Avengers” #8 is the weakest issue of the series to date; that’s a pity, because new readers might come on board for “Standoff” — but it’s the presence of “Standoff” that makes so much of this issue feel less engaging. Hopefully, once the crossover concludes next month, “New Avengers” can dust off its own storylines without much more disruption, but this definitely feels like a hiccup in a series that is normally much more consistent.