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A Walk in the Park

June 13, 2010

Brian Michael Bendis’ reinvention of the Avengers comes to an end with New Avengers: Finale #1.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate, since he’s writing the new Avengers series, and New Avengers is relaunching in a new volume after this.  But bear with me.  In the wake of Siege, Madame Masque goes to her estranged father, Count Nefaria, for help.  Luke Cage calls Jessica Jones and lets her know that he’s okay, and Captain America (Steve Rogers) lets them know that President Barack Obama wants to speak with him.  The Asgardians have the Hood’s gang under careful watch, and they find out from said gang, who no longer gives a crap about the Hood, where he is.  They track down John King, the Hood’s cousin, and they find the Hood and Masque at Nefaria’s place.  Nefaria offers the Hood a power set just like his for all the money he and Masque have, but just as the Hood considers the proposal, the Avengers burst in.  Spider-Man takes out the powerless Hood, and Spider-Woman takes out Masque.  Ms. Marvel fights Nefaria and absorbs his energy discharges.  Then, Wolverine shows up and slices up Masque, leaving Ms. Marvel to discharge everything in a final blow.  They deliver their four captives to Maria Hill in Broxton, Oklahoma, and Hill tells them to check their phones or something, because the whole world has changed.  Since those are Siege spoilers, I’ll leave those for another day.  The team reminisces about everything they’ve gone through, and in the end, they get to enjoy exactly what Luke Cage says will show that the battle is over, and that they’ve won: a walk through the park as free people.

Although I am extremely sad that the Hood has been taken out, ending that plot thread, this was a superb cap to Bendis’ work on this title.  Fortunately, it’s in the vein of his post-Secret Invasion work, so it’s as good as you can expect.  The whole story flows perfectly, and I love just how high and mighty Nefaria is.  Nefaria is one of the most classic Avengers villains, so it’s nice to see him.  I have complaints about the results of Siege, but again, I’ll handle that in the Siege #4 review.  This, as an issue, however, was just great.  My main complaint would be Wolverine’s sudden appearance, though to be fair, Bendis does make it make sense, mostly, with Cage’s call.  I’m not sure how this fits in with Second Coming, which is my complaint, and his arrival is a tad deus ex machina.  But only a tad.  Bryan Hitch’s pencils are superb, better than he’s done in quite a while.  My first complaint is, as with the plot, Wolverine.  His interpretation of Wolverine’s mask, with the eye things, is inconsistent with how it’s normally drawn.  It is consistent with Stuart Immonen’s work later in the issue, which blends so seamlessly with Hitch’s that you really have to look hard to notice the difference.  Since it’s Immonen, the main difference is the squinty eyes.  I also wish that Spider-Man’s webs on his costume would always be drawn, not only some of the time.  Lastly, I’m not sure why Hitch drew Danielle Cage to look so… freakishly large for a baby, but whatever.  Anyway, this was a highly satisfying finale.  I also like the revisiting of most of the team’s major battles, minus its fight against the Hand and the Raft breakout.  It reminds you just how long this series has been going, and just how much has happened, even if all of it wasn’t good.  I’m not sure what I think of the new lineup for the new volume (which hasn’t entirely been revealed yet), but so long as Bendis writes it like he’s written this book fro the past year or so, it’ll be great.  But really, does anyone think of this relaunch as anything but a blatant grab for sales with a new issue #1?

Plot: 9.0      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 8.9      Overall: 9.0

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