New Avengers

"New Avengers" #49 on sale this week

Since the end of Civil War the New Avengers have demonstrated they're quite capable of maintaining their anti-Superhero Registration stance, avoiding the Law and still being able to bring down the bad guys.

But what happens when the bad guys become the Law?

In CBR's latest installment of THE OSBORN SUPREMACY, our look at Marvel Comics' ongoing Dark Reign saga, we speak with "New Avengers" writer Brian Michael Bendis about what's in store for his Billy Tan-drawn title now that Norman Osborn has a powerful government job to advance his criminal intentions.

The New Avengers' defiance of the Superhuman Registration Act -- as well as their generally do-gooding ways -- make them Osborn's adversaries, but he doesn't hate the team. At least, not completely. "The different team members represent different things to Norman," Bendis told CBR. "Obviously, Spider-Man represents something completely different to him than Captain America, but what they really represent to him is a challenge to his authority that must be dealt with especially in these early days of his reign."

Given his status as Osborn's most hated foe, Spider-Man is the hero likely to suffer the most in any of the former Green Goblin's schemes to smash the New Avengers. Indeed, upcoming issues will put the spotlight directly on the web-slinger and his role in the team. "That's going to be a lot of fun. We're going to get to that right away," Bendis confirmed. "We'll tie directly into a lot of stuff that's going on in the thrice monthly 'Amazing Spider-Man' title. Spider-Man's position in Norman Osborn's life will directly affect the relationship between the New Avengers and the Dark Avengers.

"People have been asking a lot of questions about Spider-Man and his place on the new Avengers team and a lot is going to be addressed in issues 50 and 51 of the series. Issue #51 is a big story about how Spider-Man fits into this team of Avengers post-Secret Invasion."

Osborn's new position of power also comes with the public perception that he's an American hero. This is beneficial to advancing his plans, but complicates things in terms of taking down the New Avengers, as the team's post-Secret Invasion line-up includes another patriotic figure, the new Captain America -- Bucky Barnes. "Bucky's identity is kind of still a secret, but in an upcoming issue of 'New Avengers,' someone says to Norman that no mater who's wearing the outfit, going after Captain America may not be the most patriotic move that you can make," Bendis explained.

Norman Osborn may not have to make any public moves to take down Captain America and the rest of the New Avengers. At the end of "Secret Invasion," a Skrull kidnapped Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' baby girl. After exhausting every lead he could think of to find his missing daughter, Cage turned to Osborn and offered to do whatever he wants if Norman assisted him in getting his daughter back.

"Norman and Luke have a thing going back to their encounter in 'The Pulse,'" Bendis explained. "So for someone like Norman, there's nothing better then having a guy like that right where you want him, at his lowest moment. What he has and what he does with it and how they go about things will all be seen in issue #49. For Norman, it's a great opportunity to maybe break the New Avengers without getting his hands dirty."

Much to her chagrin, Spider-Woman - a.k.a. Jessica Drew -- ended up becoming the public face of the Skrull invasion of Earth, having been abducted and impersonated by Queen Veranke, the leader of the Skrull forces. Now that the Skrulls have been beaten, Jessica has joined the ranks of the New Avengers, which may not yet affect how the public perceives the team but does create some tension in the ranks.

"Wolverine says right away she didn't do anything - 'We all got screwed over and she got screwed over the most. Cut her slack,'" Bendis said. "And they don't have much of a public image, they're still an underground team. That will change soon and be dealt with, though."

The New Avengers operate as an underground team because of their defiance of the U.S. Government's Superhuman Registration Act. As the government's chief superhuman law enforcement official, Osborn can and will use their lawbreaking status to attack the New Avengers in a number of very public ways. "They're an illegal gathering of heroes. Registration is still an issue," Bendis stated. "So the way Norman deals with it might be different from the way Tony Stark or Carol Danvers was willing to handle the team in the past."

Norman Osborn's villainy is part of an overarching arc in "New Avengers," but the team also has unfinished business with The Hood, who became considerably more powerful when he joined Osborn's secret criminal Cabal in the "Secret Invasion: Dark Reign" one-shot. "Now that he's got a relationship with Norman, The Hood has some formidable backing," Bendis said. "And now that Norman has his back, what if there's no way to punish The Hood without killing him?"

"New Avengers" #49 goes on sale this week from Marvel Comics.

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