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Something They Would Never See Coming

May 5, 2010

     New Avengers #64 is the last issue of this volume of New Avengers.  It’s been over six years, and this story is coming to an end.  Sort of.  Since Brian Michael Bendis will be relaunching the book as a part of the Heroic Age with a bunch of its classic members, including Ms. Marvel, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Jessica Jones as Jewel (FINALLY).  Anywho…  The issue starts off with a flashback to Norman Osborn meeting with the Hood shortly after the Hood’s repowering with the Norn Stones.  They chat, and the Hood reaffirms his loyalty to Osborn.  However, to get his crew to join in Siege, he’ll need something to sell to them.  Osborn says that he wants the Thunderbolts franchise to replace the Avengers one, and that the Hood can lead it, and his crew can be the generals.  That initially doesn’t fly with his group, as Mandrill wants out, but the Hood says that if he wants out, he also looses the power upgrade.  That strongarms the group into going with the plan.  Back in the present day, the Hood’s gang invades Asgard.  The Hood shoots Nick Fury when he tries to snipe Osborn, and when Madame Masque tries to shoot Captain America, Sentry destroys Asgard.  Both the Hood and Ronin (as seen in last issue) think that their girlfriends, a.k.a. Masque and Mockinbird, are dead, but they’re both fine.  As the heroes fight the Sentry, Loki takes away the Norn Stones and apparently uses them to empower them.  So Masque and the Hood flee, and Masque shoots the Griffin and the surviving Blood Brother.  The Hood thinks everything is over, but Masque tells him that he just has to come up with a brilliant plan to take out the Avengers when they come for him.

     So, I’m glad at least that Bendis seems to have made the Hood into a bona fide Avengers villain for the long term.  Admittedly, New Avengers: Finale seems like it will finish off this Hood ongoing subplot, but I don’t think that, with all the work he did on the character, Bendis will just end his viability as a villain for good.  This issue may not have been perfect, just like the rest of the New Avengers tie-ins to Siege.  They’ve definitely not been as good as their Dark Avengers counterparts.  This one really didn’t feel like the end of a series either.  But it was a good look into the Hood and what’s going to happen to him next.  I also would have liked a bit more with Ronin and Mockingbird, considering the cliffhanger from last issue.  But whatever.  Mike McKone is still not doing the best work of his career.  Not only does he just really not fit with this book, but Dave McCaig’s strange brown/black/red/blue/yellow-heavy colors just really don’t fit with his pencils.  McKone’s work looks best when it’s colored really richly, like in Fantastic Four or Teen Titans.  Oh, and his rendition of Olivier Coipel’s version of the Void/Sentry was definitely under par as well.  So, I was a tad disappointed for this last issue of the series.  I know this is supposed to set up what happens next with the Hood, but I think that this whole Siege arc could have been planned more organically.  It’s too bad, considering the high level of quality that it’s been at since the beginning of Dark Reign.  I’m sure that New Avengers: Finale and the new volume of New Avengers will be good, so I guess this was just weak planning on Bendis’ part.

Plot: 7.8      Art: 8.2      Dialogue: 8.9      Overall: 7.9

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