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A New Mission

June 24, 2010

Well, even though the old Avengers are back, the New Avengers are getting a second chance at life.  So the first issue of their second series, New Avengers #1, begins with Dr. Strange meeting with Daimon Hellstrom.  Seems Hellstrom is still worried about demons and other things invading our world, just like what he mentioned back in the Dormammu/Hood arc.  And how are they doing it?  By possession, it seems, and Hellstrom himself has already been possessed.  Then, we cut to the party from the end of Siege #4.  Luke Cage sees this brave new world as just what they were always fighting against, only with Steve Rogers in charge.  Steve insists that they have a choice to stay or not, and Tony Stark sells them the renovated Avengers Mansion for one dollar, saying that now they get to go out and save the world.  Steve says that there’ll be a team-up here and there, but that they can’t have Thor or Iron Man.  Elsewhere, Dr. Voodoo gets visited by Hellstrom and the now possessed Strange.  Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist start to move into the mansion when they are visited by Victoria Hand, who’s pointing a gun at them.  She hands them a note from Steve telling them to give her a second chance, but Cage still smacks her a round a tad, and she leaves.  The possessed Hellstrom and Strange want the Eye of Agamotto, and when Voodoo won’t give it to them, they seemingly destroy his brother’s spirit.  Cage and Wolverine go visit Hand, and Hand tells them that they really need another perspective to keep them in check.  So Cage reluctantly welcomes her to the team, telling her to stay away from Jessica.  The team is Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, and Mockingbird.  Cage also invites the Thing, saying that he thought of Ben’s head immediately when Steve told him to pick a team.  Then, the Eye of Agamotto pops into Cage’s hand.  Strange and Hellstrom show up, but Wolverine can tell something’s not right.  Strange says that he’s the new ruler of this dimension, and the eye and Cage start glowing, and he gets bigger.

Well, good to see that Brian Michael Bendis is picking up on this, one of the few plot strands left over from the previous New Avengers volume.  Unfortunately, I’m not too happy with the team.  For one, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Hawkeye should not be on two teams.  It’s not like there aren’t enough Avengers or potential Avengers that Bendis can’t keep the teams mutually exclusive.  Besides, the jokes about Wolverine multi-tasking are getting old.  Also, Ms. Marvel really should be on the main Avengers.  Spider-Woman is, but she’s not?  That’s just strange.  I think it has to do with Bendis wanting Protector on the other team, but it’s still odd, since Ms. Marvel has been a normal Avenger before.  I like Luke Cage being the team leader, and I like having Jessica Jones and Iron Fist on it.  But the rest?  Odd fits.  Especially the Thing.  Then again, Bendis did like odd teams all through the last volume.  Save only the last one, which was the best part of the whole series.  Anyway, this is actually a good first issue.  I like Cage’s complaints, and I like Tony just selling him the Mansion.  Even if the normal Avengers should totally be in the Mansion instead of Stark Tower.  I’m sad to see Dr. Voodoo seemingly die so quickly after inheriting the position of Sorcerer Supreme, so I hope he’s still okay.  I’m also really excited to see Victoria Hand on the team for exactly the reasons she described.  She’s a little firecracker, and I’m interested to see how she shakes up the team dynamic.  Stuart Immonen’s pencils are the best they’ve ever been, especially since we get significantly more eyes than usual.  Fewer scrunched-up faces.  And he seems very good at drawing mystical battles and all that stuff.  And he’s really good at drawing Luke Cage and Victoria Hand.  So although I’m not terribly fond of Bendis’ choices for the team and its location, I’m actually more interested in this series than Avengers.  Why?  Because this series plays more to Bendis’ strengths.  So long as he doesn’t revert to “classic New Avengers mode,” like what we had at the beginning of the first volume, this should just be a good continuation of his last year and a half or so of work on the New Avengers.

Plot: 8.6      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 9.1      Overall: 8.8

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