New Avengers #23


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New Avengers #23


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Olivier Coipel
  • Inks: Mark Morales
  • Colors: Jose Villarubia
  • Story Title: New Avengers: Disassembled - Part 3
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 23, 2006

Jessica Drew is a complicated woman with a complicated past, and all this business with the Superhuman Registration Act isn’t making things any easier.

This is the third issue of New Avengers in a row that has a) tied into Civil War, and b) focused on an individual team member’s choosing of sides. The only problem I had with the first of these three (#21) was that Captain America has his own title, and it therefore seemed like nothing more than a vehicle for Bendis to work with Howard Chaykin. I had no problems, however, with the last issue, which focused on Luke Cage (it is easily the strongest issue of New Avengers to date), and thanks to the recent Spider-Woman: Origin mini-series that cleared up Jessica’s past I have very few problems with this one.

Just before Civil War broke, Jessica was a triple agent for SHIELD and HYDRA. That is, both agencies knew she was working with the other, against the other. Her loyalties were always in question, but Nick Fury took no issue with that—he knew she was more than a little messed up but that she knew right from wrong and would always be a "good guy" at heart. The problem as of Civil War is that she doesn’t get a free pass with SHIELD any longer. Nick Fury is in hiding thanks to his Secret War snafu, (who says continuity is dead?) and top brass wants her to declare position against Fury or else. What’s a girl to do?

Bendis again brings his A-game to this book. Seeing how the characters get from point A to point B in choosing sides is an intriguing one, and it’s an aspect that is pretty much ignored in the Civil War main title, presumably for economy’s sake. Spider-Woman’s choice, like her peers’, means weighing friend against friend all for the sake of a legal philosophy. But for her, it also means turning her back on whom she was and who she might become. This is the area that excels. Though I think he might have missed an opportunity to take Jessica in a bold new direction, Bendis showed just how fragile her psyche is as a result of her highly stressful life.

Olivier Coipel fills in on art, and provides solid work as usual. The House of M artist has a "sketchy" style that usually looks beautiful with the aid of the right inker--meaning one that isn’t overbearing and dark and/or provides heavy lines. Morales’s inks are a bit too light in some places, giving the art an unfinished look in those instances, but on the whole this is a strong effort rife with explosive action and even some tender imagery.

I have not seen the solicitation for New Avengers #24 yet, but I hope it is also a Civil War tie-in that focuses on a single character. This time, however, I hope Bendis can bring to light why anyone would be pro-Registration—a sorely lacking viewpoint in this whole "mega-event."

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