New Avengers #12


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New Avengers #12


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: David Finch
  • Inks: Danny Miki
  • Colors: Frank D?Armata
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Oct 26, 2005

The new Avengers face down an army of ninjas, evil conspiracy theorists convene, and Spider-Woman has a little secret.

Picking up from the last issue, the Avengers deal with the swarm of Hand ninjas who have followed Ronin back to their base of operations in Japan. Meanwhile, Madame Hydra and the leader of the Hand try to convince the Silver Samurai to join them on a crusade against a corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D.

New Avengers is difficult to dislike, and this issue contains all the elements as to why that is. Brian Michael Bendis has a deft hand with action, managing to mix it with generous doses of quirky humor. The sequence with Luke Cage in the elevator is a prime example of this, and it had me chuckling for no reason that can be easily explained.

The villains are not neglected either, as their dialogue is not only natural but carries a scary kind of perfect logic. In an interesting twist, the reader is drawn to almost root for the villains, as they seem to be heading down the same path as the heroes. The villains and heroes show similar goals, but different means of getting there.

The big problem with the story, however, is the glacial pacing. Twelve issues in on this series and a few more clues are dropped about problems with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the secret that Spider-Woman is harboring. We are no farther along, though, in what these mysteries are, how they fit together, and what kind of threat they pose. Meanwhile, the story behind the new Avenger Ronin (who is supposed to be a focal point of this arc) gets kicked to the curb. It is all so very interesting and entertaining to read but the series feels like it lacks a direction and a real purpose. The Avengers have been putting out sparks here while there is supposed to be a forest fire somewhere. Too bad we can’t see the fire for the smoke screen. There is no sense of real menace or threat anywhere in this issue. While this approach would work well for another genre, it is an ill fit for a superhero team book.

David Finch does his usual good job with the pencils. His almost hyper-realistic style places him in such good company as Bryan Hitch and John Cassaday. I will say, however, that I find his action sequences can get a little cluttered and hard to follow. It seemed like work to try to follow the action as the Avengers battled the ninjas. In the course of the battle, the ninja’s lost their individuality and became kind of this big, dark, blob of humanity.

Danny Miki’s inks and Frank D’Armata’s colors add to the problem. The dark, inked shadows are everywhere and the colors are dark as well, giving everything a murky look that would be better suited to a noir style tale.

Things happen in this issue and yet it feels like nothing really happens. For the health of this series’ future, I think that this is going to have to change. Right now reading New Avengers has become a little like a Sunday drive. The trip is nice but you don’t know where you are going and you don’t know when you will get there.

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