New Avengers: Illuminati #1


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New Avengers: Illuminati #1


  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis & Brian Reed
  • Art: Jim Cheung
  • Inks: Mark Morales
  • Colors: Justin Ponsor
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Dec 20, 2006

The secret history of the cabal of heroes who have been pulling the strings of the Marvel Universe for years is revealed! All Marvelites scream with joy.

Iron Man, Professor X, Namor, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, and Dr. Strange (arguably the most powerful mortal in the Marvel Universe but that’s another story for another article) gather together at a pivotal moment in Earth’s history—the end of the Kree/Skrull War. Using their combined might they send a message to the Skrull king; oddly enough, this message is put most succinctly by Mr. Fantastic, who says, "I’m telling you, it [Earth] is not [yours] and never will be." But surprisingly, their plan does not go the way they thought it would and the secret team of heroes struggles through its first battle with some shocking and ominous results.

Brian Bendis and Brian Reed are brave men. They must be. They are single handedly re-writing Marvel history but managing to keep it within the confines of Earth 616. This is no What if? or Ultimate title. This (as much as anything in Marvel Comics can) "actually happened." We fans just never knew it.

Luckily for us, not only are they brave, but Bendis and Reed are gifted. Separately they write sharp, biting dialogue, but together, it is fierce. Reed also seems to be a nice counterbalance to his writing partner. Some of Bendis’ signature dry, black humor remains, but there is not an overabundance, and it is contrasted by Reed, whose characterization is superb. Reed also tends to pace his stories a little faster than Bendis, which is needed here, since in five issues we are going to see a huge chunk of the Marvel mythos touched upon, or touched up, depending on how you look at it.

Indeed, this is a noble effort. But with the art of Jim Cheung and Mark Morales, the two brave writers can succeed. Cheung’s style is majestic and larger than life—quite the fit for a superhero comic book about superheroes who obviously think themselves above the rest. Though some have complained Cheung’s facial descriptions are identical on every character, I’m forced to disagree. Tony Stark is crisp and firm, Professor X is stiff and aged, and even the lines and creases in Black Bolt’s costume are dignified. Beyond that, Cheung’s backgrounds are clear and full of detail, his Skrulls are scary to behold, and his fight scenes are fluid. With Morales, a seasoned veteran, inking, and Justin Ponsor doing the colors, there seems to be no stopping this "young gun."

I am a fan of an old story being told from a different perspective. I’m also a fan of Marvel, Bendis, Cheung, and the rest. For me, this book is fascinating and fun. For anyone who shares my beliefs, I predict the same.

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