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Demonic Invasion

August 23, 2010

As the sky tears apart in New Avengers #3, Victoria Hand is off in her car, spectacularly pissed-off about having to deal with Luke Cage and Wolverine, seeing the whole thing as her punishment.  And just then, she sees all the burning stuff and the demons.  Iron Fist is in this strange glowing place, holding the Eye of Agamotto, hearing two voices converse about him and wonder how it is that he isn’t dead.  The rest of the team, plus the mystic trio of Dr. Strange, Dr. Voodoo, and Daimon Hellstrom, face off against all of the demons.  The trio head off to Dr. Voodoo’s stronghold to get some information while Jessica Jones flies off to rescue the baby.  And cue the large fight scene with Ms. Marvel, the Thing, and Spider-Man with the demons while talking about Ghostbusters and similarly important things.  Jessica bumps into more demons at Avengers Mansion, and just as it looks like she’s going to be overwhelmed, Hand shows up and blasts them with an unfeasibly large gun.  Jessica grabs the baby, the fight continues, and the trio try to research things.  Hellstrom finds out about Voodoo’s brother disappearing, and he asks Strange who would be doing something this crazy.  Strange rather meaningfully says he doesn’t know.  Back with Iron Fist, the two voices realize that Iron Fist has mystic protection.  Iron Fist figures out that they cannot just take the Eye from him, but when he tries to threaten them with the name of Dr. Strange, one of the voices gets mad and attacks.  And then we find out who he is: Dr. Strange’s mentor, the Ancient One.  And then we have more Avengers history, this time focusing on Kang the Conqueror.

Well, this issue finally took Brian Michael Bendis’ love of in-battle banter too far.  The world is seemingly ending, and demons are everywhere.  So what do our heroes do?  Argue about Ghostbusters and catchphrases.  Really now.  I mean, Spider-Man does that all the time because that’s his schtick, but it would be nice if Bendis would make his characters act a bit more appropriately serious sometimes.  He does a great job with Victoria Hand, who is quickly becoming my favorite addition to the Marvel Universe in a while.  And Bendis does do a good job with the mystic trio.  I figure that the only explanation for the Ancient One’s involvement is everything that Strange did with the dark arts before and giving up his position as Sorcerer Supreme.  Considering that Bendis wrote most of that story, it would make sense for him to follow up on that.  And I think this story will give us a concrete end to that storyline and perhaps even to Voodoo as the Sorcerer Supreme.  I don’t know.  Of course, there is no reference here to the Mark Waid-penned Strange miniseries, which makes me perfectly happy.  The Avengers history backup is still rather annoying, especially since Kang the Conqueror is one of my “pet characters” who I hate to see written badly.  But Bendis does do a better job with this installment than with previous ones.  He gets a lot of mileage about discussing time travel and stuff, which fits in perfectly with his Avengers plot.  But it still suffers from the same basic problem of Bendis dialogue, which just does not work with classic Avengers.  Stuart Immonen continues to up the ante with his art, as I’d say this was his best work that I’ve ever seen.  So much less of smooshed eyes, and Laura Martin’s colors fit his pencils perfectly.  The demons are a rather nice, if odd, touch.  I’d still say this is a better series than the main Avengers one.  I still think the team itself needs a bit of a change, but I’m enjoying this series a good amount.

Plot: 8.6      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 7.6      Overall: 8.5

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