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Lives Caught in the Crossfire

April 6, 2010

     With the conflict with the Hood’s gang over, New Avengers #63 sees the titular team in the middle of the big battle of Siege, atop the walls of Asgard.  Everyone’s in a big melee, but Luke Cage, seeing a young Asgardian child, is reminded of the previous night.  While looking at their daughter, Danielle Cage, he and Jessica Jones talked about how disapproving Jessica’s mother is of their situation.  Cage claimed that everything was about to change, with Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, back, but Jessica was still nervous about everything.  She did not want Luke to have to fight, but she knew that he must.  He also teased her a bit about getting back in costume recently.  Back in present time, the Hood’s gang pops up, and the melee gets crazier.  Mockingbird flashes back to the night before, when she had a nightmare that both she and Clint died.  She went out in costume to relieve stress and beat up Lady Octopus.  Clint, in full Ronin garb, went out to help her and see what was up, which was when she told him about her dream.  Thinking about what he said back then about a new start, Mockingbird’s energy is renewed, and she starts fighting even harder.  But just then, the Sentry crashes through Asgard.  When the dust settles, Clint sees her hand under the rubble…

     Finally we’re actually in the midst of Siege.  Brian Michael Bendis could have used this, for example, to flesh out the New Avengers’ actual involvement in Siege.  Or he could have used it to give the Asgardians some more page time.  Or he could have even just used it to allow some of the other Siege players some time to interact with the New Avengers.  However, his focus on the two couples of the team is still very powerful.  Cage and Jessica’s story is about to reach a milestone, as she’ll be back in costume as Jewel in the Heroic Age, and this is prepping them for it.  Likewise, Bobbi and Clint’s story is good character work, and it gives Bobbi some of the face time that Bendis hasn’t had time to give her in the rest of the series.  We know that she’s going to survive this story, as she and Clint are getting their own title afterwards, so the cliffhanger and the suspense are rather artificial.  I also don’t think Clint could take out Crossfire, likely his greatest nemesis, with just one kick.  That’s a minor complaint, but I like my minor complaints.  Mike McKone is normally a very strong artist, but this issue just seems to showcase a lot of his weaknesses.  He’s not so good with Cage’s face, which looks like Shaquille O’Neal’s in one panel and closer to Ving Rhames’ in another.  Clint also has more wrinkles than he normally does, which makes him seem a lot older.  Lastly, the composition of the fight scene at the beginning is so random that it’s very hard to follow its progression.  I’m sure it was intended to seem really dynamic and lifelike, but instead, it’s just confusing.  Dave McCaig’s colors are also a bit off, as Cage seems rather grayish-brown in the middle of the book, and the blues in Mockingbird and Spider-Man’s costumes look black.  All in all, this is a very good issue with some much-needed character work.  I just feel that McKone and McCaig are not at the top of their respective games in these pages.

Plot: 8.8      Art: 7.9      Dialogue: 9.2      Overall: 8.8

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