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?

Really?! Another deceiving cover? Curses!

New Avengers 59

Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade von Grawbadger
Colors: Dave McCaig
 
Wins:
  • There’s a lot of action in this issue, which is always welcomed by myself and many Avengers fans. Some story arcs just wander around aimlessly, but this isn’t that type of story arc.
  • Finally we’re beginning to see the New Avengers come up with a decent plan. I like the fact that teamwork is being stressed more than just going Leeroy Jenkins into battle.
  • Spider-Man takes a page out of The Kingpin’s playbook. Well played, Parker! Sorry you didn’t get to say “Avengers Assemble!”. Oh well…maybe next time. At least you don’t die in every issue like The Sentry.
  • The Avengers are aided by Doctor Voodoo, Daredevil, The Thing, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Misty Knight, Hellcat, and Valkyrie. Nice to see additional help shows up to a team that is often criticized for being on the low end of the power scale.
  • Stuart Immonen does a fine job conveying emotion and urgency, and an even better job when it comes to accompanying Bendis’ writing. His splash pages are nice, and even when there are busy panels, he does a good job with individual characters. This book is getting better, now that it’s picked up the pace a bit.
  • McCaig colored Moonstone/Ms. Marvel correctly in this issue.
Fails:
  • Bendis couldn’t have written worse dialogue for Mockingbird and Doctor Voodoo. Maybe that was the point (?).
  • Again, some of the dialogue was painful to read. The scenes with group dialogue felt like a Scooby Doo epiphany scene where they unmask the baddie. Zoinks!
  • I wonder how many times they’re going to use the astral plane trick to gain access to a heavily guarded area, as Doctor Voodoo and Strange do to enter the helicarrier in this issue. The Avengers did the same thing to Stark when he was holding Cap prisoner during Civil War.
  • This Avengers team really doesn’t have a leader. Luke Cage is too emotionally charged and lacks strategic knowledge. Clint Barton is too reactionary, shoot first ask questions later. Bucky Cap isn’t a leader, he’s an eternal sidekick. Ms. Marvel didn’t really step up and embrace the leadership role with the Mighty Avengers.
  • Iron Fist is involved in the attack on Camp Hammond and the attack on the H.A.M.M.E.R. helicarrier, which are happening simultaneously.
  • I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the Camp Hammond battle, but they jumped straight from the splash page to the next scene.
  • The Thing appears in a battle scene, but doesn’t even say “It’s clobberin’ time!”. Maybe it’s because he didn’t do any “clobberin'” Bah!
  • With the likes of Voodoo and Strange, you would think that they’d cast some sort of spell to determine the integrity of Luke’s body.
  • Yet another New Avengers issue where the cover has little if anything to do with the story told inside. Next month’s cover would have been more appropriate.

Verdict: B-

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

Here are my picks for this month’s most appealing covers.