Overview

New Avengers #21

Review

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New Avengers #21

Credits

  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Howard Chaykin
  • Inks: Howard Chaykin
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Story Title: New Avengers: Disassembled Part 1
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 28, 2006

Captain America is on the run; Falcon is the only one he can trust. Does this seem familiar? A little. Does that matter? No.

New Avengers is one of Joe Quesada’s many experiments I never followed, not out of any animosity toward continuity confusion, big shake-ups, or anything like that; rather, monetary matters made me make some cuts. Right now I wish this book wasn’t one that received the axe. Though it clearly shipped late, since some of the events in Civil War #2, which came out a couple weeks ago, haven’t taken place as of New Avengers #21, the book is a solid, enjoyable read. At the beginning, Cap tries to relax after his refusal to go along with the Registration Act but naturally he is interrupted by S.H.I.E.L.D. and an old friend. After the encounter, he teams-up with Falcon on a series of rather fruitless endeavors.

Brian Michael Bendis gets a lot of flack for his dialogue heavy comics, the quips and one-liners his characters use, and his slow pacing. I, for one, find those critiques unfair, at least the former and the latter. His style is what got him to where he is today, and those who deride it would probably do the same thing if he changed his ways. His formula works; it gets us interested in the characters on a deeper level and when he does get to the action, nine-times-out-of ten it is so mind-blowing, it speaks for itself.

I will however, admit that at times his characters can feel a little too much like extensions of his own persona. But this issue of New Avengers is not like that at all. Captain America and Falcon are two distinct individuals with two different reasons for believing the same thing. Falcon refuses to "sellout," while Cap sees the Registration Act as a more personal evil, at times thinking:

They should have left you [Cap] as a memory—as a symbol of peace and freedom. Instead of what they’re turning you into: a war criminal. A refugee.

Even after the second issue of Civil War and all the drama Spider-Man has faced recently, I didn’t know what side I would choose. Now, thanks to Bendis and his use of Captain America, I do.

It helps that an iconographic creator like Howard Chaykin is doing the art chores for this issue. His distinct style, and the implications his history in the field have for the character (everybody does remember American Flagg, right?) show the meaning, the impact, this storyline is supposed to have. Beyond that, Chaykin’s art is in a class alone. While it might not measure up to some of the sleeker artists of today, his thick, heavy, almost choppy line work has an underground flavor reflecting Cap’s situation. He has been backed into a corner and the action starting here will be blockbuster. Chaykin knows this and also knows his heavy shadows, light backgrounds, and espionage novel scenes will send Captain America on a journey no one will soon forget.

The Civil War has begun and Captain America has popped up on the wrong side of the law. The implications are disastrous, but the immediate future will surely be exciting for any Cap fan!

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