OK — I’ve encountered the Avengers, the Young Avengers, the Dark Avengers, and now, the New Avengers. All this goes to show, as far as I’m concerned, that the new generation of comics writers are real patient with strict continuity. But it’s Brian Michael Bendis doing this script, a definite plus, with David Finch’s pencils — another real plus.
It’s six months since the Red Witch had a breakdown and lost control of her powers, killing Ant Man, Hawkeye, and the Vision. And Tony Stark is running out of money. The Avengers are over. So now Matthew Murdock (Daredevil) and Luke Cage (Luke Cage) are taking a guided tour of The Raft, the maximum-maximum security wing of the Ryker’s Island maximum security prison. Their guide is Jessica Drew (Spiderwoman). Something goes wrong, and suddenly 86 supervillains are out of their cages — er, cells. Before order is restored, the fight has sucked in Peter Parker (Spiderman), Steve Rogers (Captain America), Robert Reynolds (The Sentry — incarcerated at his own request), and Tony Stark (Iron Man) on the side of Truth, Justice, Etc. At Rogers’ urging, Stark cooperates in the formation of a new team, because it turns out that the problem wasn’t an equipment failure, it was a prison break — but 42 supervillains are now free, and the team has to find the mastermind to find out who the target was.
I’m pretty much always willing to pick up something written by Brian Michael Bendis — he’s on my list of “best comics writers” right up there with Gail Simone,, Joss Whedon, Zeb Wells and Alan Heinberg. The script is superior — the story arc is solid, the surprises are surprises, the dialogue sparkles, and characters are real. It’s not just escapism, either: I’m not going to tell you who’s responsible for what, but I will say that governments pull some dirty tricks, and when you have a supra-national entity like S.H.I.E.L.D., the tricks can get even dirtier.
David Finch’s pencils are superb. His style calls to mind that of Jim Cheung (Young Avengers), another of my favorites, and he manages a great deal of realism without overcrowding the frame. I might add that layouts are pretty adventurous — Finch is moving fairly definitely into a cinematic feel here, and it adds a lot to the excitement. Danny Miki was the main inker for this collection, and I’m beginning to understand how inks can make or break the drawing. Miki did good.
(Marvel, 2006) Collects New Avengers #1-6