New Avengers #5


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New Avengers #5


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: David Finch
  • Inks: Danni Miki
  • Colors: Frank D?Armata
  • Story Title: Breakout! Part 5
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.25
  • Release Date: Apr 27, 2005

Unlike the majority of Marvel readers, I’ve been holding my tongue and reserving my opinion about New Avengers. Of course, I’m a tremendous fan of Brian Michael Bendis. He writes some of the sharpest dialogue in the business and his flair for story is matched only by his technical storytelling skills. Blah, blah, blah. Kiss up, kiss up.

But what about what he did to the Avengers, right? Disassembled was a big deal! It ticked a lot of people off! They wrote angry letters, which are always fun to read when Marvel editorial wisely decides that people like me will be amused if those letters are printed. And now, what? Spider-Man’s an Avenger? Freaking Wolverine’s been on the cover a few times?!! Is Bendis that big of a prostitute? He’s really going to tear the Avengers apart and then fill their ranks with the characters he writes in all of his other Marvel books? Freaking A, Spider-Man and Wolverine traded bodies over in the Ultimate universe.

Meh. Big deal.

This is the fifth issue of New Avengers. Bendis has had his say. He put his team together and set it all up and now, at last, the Avengers are going on their first mission. And you know what? It’s Avengers again. And it’s good. So I’m going to talk about it now.

Previously, someone hired Spidey’s old nemesis Electro to facilitate an unprecedented breakout of super-villains from a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. Captain America and Iron Man have put together a new Avengers team with Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman. Suspecting that Karl Lykos, a.k.a. X-Men nemesis and part-pterodactyl Sauron may be behind the breakout, the Avengers have journeyed to the Savage Land. Dinosaurs and a certain mutant with adamantium claws look to be in their future.

This issue is a good mix of action, mystery, and some more of the snarky witty banter that is the hallmark of Bendis’ writing. If you’re a fan of the genre, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy yourself while you’re reading a book like this. David Finch’s artwork is incredible. You can count the hairs on Logan’s stubble. When the fracas starts, it’s like having a front row seat for a summer movie. Frank D’Armata’s colors are brilliant and expressive, managing to keep a tight palette despite dealing with a team of superheroes who seem to only have had access to primary colors when picking out their outfits. The visual style is strong and consistent, and the showy computer tricks never delve into the realm of the excessive.

So the roster has changed again. So what? Do you really think this is the final roster the Avengers will ever have? For pete’s sake, the guys at DC can’t even keep Jason Todd dead. Now that the players are all on the board, New Avengers is finally getting its sea legs and proving to be every bit as engaging as its Ultimate counterpart has been.

Now before any of you point any fingers, I’m well aware of the fact that I’m harsh on books that take five issues to warm up, especially when they’re being released as single issues. The difference between some of the tepid #1s I’ve lit into and books like New Avengers is this:

Brian Michael Bendis has crafted a narrative that is tight and polished. Every issue has a hook, be it a plot twist or a cliffhanger or even just a really controversial creative decision. It’s easy to read, but despite its ease, his story has complexity. Do that good a job, and it’s worth giving a book a few issues to make good on its campaign promises. While I’m re-reading some of those #1s just to make sure I know what was going on in those 22 pages, I’ve found myself re-reading New Avengers just because it was so much darned fun to read. This is what superhero comics should be all about.

So, is Wolverine really necessary? Maybe not. But it’s got my interest, and I’ll give it a few more issues to see how it all plays out. Meanwhile, nothing’s permanent in comics. Might as well enjoy this Avengers while it lasts.

-Jesse Vigil

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