New Avengers #37


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New Avengers #37


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Leinil Yu
  • Inks: Leinil Yu
  • Colors: Dave McCaig
  • Story Title: The Trust: Part 6
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Dec 12, 2007

When I opened my copy of New Avengers this month I almost thought that a first grader’s art project had somehow exploded inside of it. Seriously. The shading is just that bad. Everything is a primary color or just way too bright for human eyes. Look at the contrast between the Hulk’s Teletubbie purple pants and his greener than Al Gore skin (More on why the Hulk even appears in a minute). It’s actually painful to look at.

Over the last few issues, my faith in Leinil Yu as a competent artist had increased somewhat. I think this was mostly due to the fact that the last couple issues of NA, with the exception of that ridiculous symbiote business last month, focused on two or three characters interacting at a single time. And in these scenes, Yu is fine. Even during the previous encounters between the Hood and his growing army, the artwork worked because most of the characters were in stationary positions and Leinil Yu seems to have a solid grasp on that regardless of the horrendous coloring problems.

However, this issue begins the long awaited battle between the New Avengers and the Hood’s gang. For the second arc in a row, Dr. Strange uses his undefined powers to save the day and summons projections of a whole mess of heroes including the Hulk, Captain America, the Mighty Avengers, and even a crippled Charles Xavier for some unknown reason. The ensuing fight scenes are so cluttered that it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s happening most of the time. And it doesn’t help that whenever a character is slightly in the background they resemble an indecipherable mess. And that happens quite often here when there’s literally dozens of characters on the battlefield. There’s one drawing of Cap in particular that almost looks like he’s disintegrated into a mass of pus.

More than anything, this shakes my confidence in the upcoming Secret Invasion. Hopefully colorist David McCaig doesn’t follow Leinil Yu to the summer event big leagues, thus taking care of the Crayola template. But what I’m doubtful about is Yu’s ability to handle massive battle scenes of which there will probably be many. I know Yu’s been chosen because he cranks out artwork in rapid speed, but hopefully with the added lead in time to Secret Invasion he can slow down and take his time with each individual panel, insuring readers aren’t assaulted by the jumbled mess we’re treated to here.

As always, Brian Michael Bendis’ writing is a joy. The in fight banter is pitch perfect, and the snappy dynamic between Spidey and Clint Barton is touched on again here. There’s even a particularly humorous encounter between two agents bemoaning the SHIELD cafeteria selections. Unfortunately, the art just really drags everything else down.

New Avengers has always been one of the better titles in the core Marvel Universe. It’s not necessarily the best ongoing, but it’s easily in the top five. Luckily, this is Leinil Yu’s final issue, and things should improve drastically next month when artist Carlo Pagulayan jumps onboard for the Annual. However, if Yu doesn’t improve, it seems unlikely that the art in Secret Invasion will even be comparable to that in Civil War or World War Hulk.

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