Overview

The New Avengers #17

Review

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The New Avengers #17

Credits

  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Mike Deodato and Will Conrad
  • Colors: Rain Beredo
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Oct 12, 2011

Norman Osborn's return to power takes small steps in this entertaining follow-up to his jailbreak, but feels too much like a prequel.

Norman Osborn is out in the wild. With Osborn at the head of a new evil organization determined to rule the world, the Avengers failed at keeping him under lock and key. When a giant robot is attacking Stark Resilient, it's up to the New Avengers to fly into battle and save the day, but they may end up causing more trouble than good. What could have been a decent single-issue story ends up turning into a prequel following up from a prequel.

One of the notable disconnects is from the cover to the actual book. Given the image, you would think that there might be a heavy Future Foundation-related plot, or that Daredevil would actually appear in it, giving his addition to the team some much-needed focus and interaction with his new teammates. Instead, Daredevil's not even mentioned, and Spider-Man's the only Future Foundation member present, with The Thing likewise not around.

Thankfully, the book mostly understands how a single issue of a book should read: it's a single issue of a book. This isn't part two of five, this isn't a segment of a battle. This is a fully-formed story that can be read in and of itself, and yet builds towards a greater narrative. Norman Osborn's mission isn't clear, and it shouldn't be. It's not set minutes after the last time this plotline was touched, and while it does leave a cliffhanger, one or two pages could have been excised or modified and it would have ended on a note where superheroes can't always completely win. If it weren't for this ending, this could have easily been an example of how to tell a story in a larger universe while meeting the needs of both the single issue reader and the one who waits for the trade.

There's not much to argue here beyond that annoying fact. Bendis knows what he's doing with the Avengers (enough that they just announced a third ongoing book to be written by him, Avengers Assemble). The combination of Deodato and Conrad work well for these more grounded heroes, even if some of them can fly and others can swing from the skylines. Thematically, Deodato works best in the shadows, whether it be the real ones cast by gods flying in the sky, or the metaphorical ones that Norman Osborn works out of, and only really gets to shine in those scenes in this issue.

The New Avengers is in danger of being routine; it's traditionally good, but rarely breaks the mold of great. Like many books, it tends to suffer from being at the heart of too many events to be a book that stands by itself. At $3.99, we should expect something more.

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