New Avengers #36


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New Avengers #36


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Leinil Yu
  • Inks: Leinil Yu
  • Colors: Dave McCaig
  • Story Title: The Trust: Part 5
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 14, 2007

Brian Michael Bendis consistently writes some of the most entertaining stories set in the Marvel U. However, his early predilection towards smaller, self-contained stories (think his runs on Ultimate Spider-Man and Daredevil) have shifted towards more engrossing, and therefore complicated, cross company events. Personally, I’m counting the days to Secret Invasion, but when stories are woven together this closely it’s easy for a handful of late books to throw a wrench into a shockingly high number of plans.

Case in point: Frank Cho’s lateness on the Bendis penned Mighty Avengers negatively affected New Avengers: Illuminati last week, and this week manages to cripple itself in the pages of New Avengers proper. The first half of NA #36 centers on Luke Cage retelling the battle of the symbiotes told in Mighty Avengers. Presumably, this is done to foster a sense of connectivity between the two titles, and keep readers who aren’t pulling Mighty up to date. However, there’s one massive problem. The symbiote arc hasn’t even started in Mighty Avengers. In fact, notoriously late artist Frank Cho still hasn’t completed the initial arc.

So Luke goes on to not only spoil the end of the second arc, but also hints at the events of the third arc. Obviously, Bendis couldn’t halt production on all his books to wait for Cho, but if you have been actively reading Mighty Avengers, you might want to skip the first half of this issue.

Things pick up in the second half when Wolverine decides to calls Spider-Woman on delivering Skrull-Elektra to Tony Stark, another event that will supposedly happen in Mighty Avengers sometime in the distant future. This story thrust is much more engaging and ends with the New Avengers finally about to confront the Hood’s newly gathered forces.

Parker Robbins’ recent appearances in the book have been the best sequences post-Elektra’s death, and I’m certainly looking forward to a knock down drag out brawl next month. However, the final splash page reveals what appears to be yet another case of Dr. Strange’s trickery. Much like how the Sorcerer Supreme’s undocumented powers were used time and again to save the team during the previous arc, it looks as though a simple spell may be the deciding factor in the upcoming skirmish. Hopefully Bendis has something a little more complicated up his sleeve and this is just a red herring.

As we near Secret Invasion, special attention has to be paid to Leinil Yu who will soon be leaving New Avengers for the 2008 super event. His gritty pencils work fairly well here but the colors scheme is way off. The prominent reds around each character’s eyes, the pastel colored symbiote battle, the rainbow tinted spells, how Wolverine and Spider-Woman don’t seem to inhabit the same plane of existence on the cover, I could go on and on about how badly colorist Dave McCaig meshes with Yu. Hopefully this will be rectified in Secret Invasion, as Yu is a decent artist otherwise with the exception of the three semi-naked girls he draws here. Attractive women aren’t his strong suit.

New Avengers has not only been on of my favorite titles since its launch a few years back, but it’s served as a cornerstone for the Marvel Universe. If you want to know what’s going on with the major characters, this is the book to check out. However, sometimes that works against it, and NA ends up spoiling other titles’ stories that get in its way. That’s pretty much the case here. And since this issue doesn’t do much other than summarize the next couple months of Mighty Avengers and set up the final battle with the Hood, you might be better ignoring this issue for now and waiting for Frank Cho to hand off Mighty Avengers artist duties to the quick as lightning Mark Bagley.

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