New Avengers Annual 3

The chicks suit up to save Clint Barton in an estrogen-laden annual.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mike Mayhew
Inks: Mike Mayhew
Colors: Andy Troy

Wins:  

  • For me, there are two reasons to pick up this issue, the first is Mike Mayhew’s art. It’s everything I’d like to see when it comes to character portrayal, fluidity, and aesthetics. It’s very crisp, easy to follow, and looks gorgeous and life-like.
  • The second reason is for the reveal on the final page. Steve Rogers appears in the stars and bars and asks his cronies if they’re ready for battle.
  • Barton finally apologizes to Spider-Man for losing his cool in The List one-shot.
  • Mentallo is revealed as an Osborn conspirator who tortures Clint by forcing him to relive his deaths in Avengers: Disassembled and House of M.
  • Sentry doesn’t die! He’s 2 for 2 in annuals this year. Has Bendis turned over a new leaf?
  • Osborn and Co. are foiled again in their attempts to capture the elusive New Avengers when they arrive moments after they’ve abandoned their hideout. Who doesn’t love to see Osborn go ape over yet another failure as the man in charge.
  • This does set the stage for Siege much better than Siege: The Cabal does. Buy this and Dark Avengers Annual 1 instead.

Fails:  

  • On the cover in the solicits, Jewel (Jessica Jones)’s face is different than it is on the actual cover. Why the change, Marvel? The first cover was much prettier. Maybe that was why they opted to change it.
  • In some of Mayhew’s frames he drew Spider-Woman with the webbing under her arms and in other frames he drew her sans webbing. Some consistency would have been nice.
  • The fact that Avengers: Dark Reign – The List came out when it did really screwed up the story flow in New Avengers. This annual resolves what happened in The List one-shot which came out September 9. Poor planning on Marvel’s part. Especially since Clint Barton was in the three issues in between The List and the annual and was not in custody.
  • The New Avengers are homeless once again after Sentry destroyed Bucky’s abode.
  • As in Dark Avengers Annual 1, Venom (posing as Spider-Man) is in full slaughter mode. Not very believable if he’s trying to be the real Spider-Man.
  • You could argue that the consumer paid $5 for the one page reveal at the end. I don’t exactly feel that way because I enjoyed this issue, but the argument could be made.

Verdict: B

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Hydra is out to recruit Jessica Drew in Madripoor. But what motivation does she have to join them? And how could Hydra benefit from having Spider-Woman as a loyalist?

Spider-Woman 2

spiderwoman2

I thought she was an agent of S.W.O.R.D. What's up with the Hydra logo on the cover?

Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev

Wins:

  • After issue one being laden with background and recap of the happenings of the so-called “Spider-Woman” who turned out to be the Skrull Queen Veranke, this issue gets down to business, for the most part.
  • Once again, as per usual, Alex Maleev’s art is wonderful to look at. It radiates emotion and is vibrant in all the right places to give you the feel of the setting in a gripping fashion.
  • Maleev’s art is very life-like in many of the frames. The noir-esque feel to his art lends itself to the settings and character seemlessly.
  • Bendis’ writing in this book is a bit different from that of New, Mighty, and Dark Avengers. I’m sure the parallel has been made elsewhere, but it’s similar to his work on Daredevil and Alias. Solo books are where Bendis has the freedom to write in his most fluid style and build the introspective and micro-aspects of his characters.
  • I really like the layout of this issue, it’s simplicity allows the art to speak (or scream, if you please) for itself. Particularly, the page in the parking garage where the panels form a “T” to expose Jessica’s face. I thought it was a nice touch and worked nicely with the pacing as well.
  • The ending to this issue is just the kind of ending that we should come to expect from this type of book. I’m looking forward to issue three.

Fails:

  • Jessica’s self-loathing is a bit nauseating, however, I feel that Bendis is doing it so the reader roots for her to claw her way out of the emotional hole she’s stuck in.
  • Some of the backgrounds in this issue were not as detailed as the ones in the previous issue. Not all of them, but some felt one-dimensional and left something to be desired.
  • One of the pages of the parking garage chase scene seemed to be a bit off. The panel showing Drew leaping the circular gap seemed much smaller than the same gap in the next panel.

Verdict: B