Or – “Apparently, They Want To Torture Us For A Couple Of Years…”


Okay… I had intended to have this up this a.m. as a morning-of review, but a doctor’s visit for the daughter shot that notion right innaface. Mea culpa. Events in New Avengers and Mighty Avengers have been moving at a glacial pace, with each book managing to different levels of effect to tap-dance around not telling us a dozen different plot points. Add to that the compressed storytelling techniques that mean the last ten months of comics took place in approximately the time it takes me to eat a bowl of Special K, and we’ve got a recipe for tsuris, and we may not see any real updates on the Skrullapalooza until next spring. Luckily, the patented Brian Bendis character interaction is in effect, and our team is a mighty compelling group of personalities…

Previously, on New Avengers: In the wake of the battle with the Mighty Avengers (itself in the wake of Civil War which came in the wake of the revelation that SHIELD was NAv1.jpginfiltrated which came in the wake of Secret War, et al) the New Avengers traveled to Japan to extricate Maya Lopez, codename Echo, from her undercover gig in the Yakuza. In so doing, the team ran afoul of The Hand, a bug$*$@ crazy sect of assassins led by undead Greek ninja (and former Daredevil girlfriend) Elektra Natchios. Lopez was killed and resurrected by magic, and her psycho-killer (que’st que c’est?) rage caused her to run Elektra through, revealing that she wasn’t the real deal, but a Skrull who had infiltrated the world. Returning home, an EMP caused by Ultron over in Mighty Avengers caused the plane to crash (and also caused my continuity sensor to overload) and Spider-Woman snatched the corpse and ran off to the Initiative (or possibly her Skrullian masters, assuming she isn’t what she seems.) Since then, the New A’s have gone back to their lives, agreeing that if they get their heads on straight, they’ll all come back the next night… Wolverine, for his part, goes to get drunk, and ends up facing down with The Hood, who has designs on being the next Kingpin of the superhuman underworld.


Parker, Parker, Parker… didn’t anybody ever tell you about counting your chickens? Yeesh… Wolverine leaps in, catching a few bullets in so doing, and The Hood replies by SHOOTING HIM IN THE UNMENTIONABLES. Seriously. Wolverine just got his junk shot off! His reply? “Mine’ll grow back. Yours, on the other hand…” Heh. But before he can initiate the Hood’s bris, we get another surprise thrown at us.


What in the HOLY GERMAN CHOCOLATE WITH CHEESE SAUCE is that???? The Hood Demon chucks Wolverine away, then leaps through the plate glass window and returns to his human form… Did anybody know he could do that? Anybody? That was incredibly disturbing, and the demon thing was rough, too. Wolverine doesn’t follow, as he’s in no condition to fight anyway, and steals a couple of beers, one to drink, and one to ice his wounds. “Maybe it’ll grow back bigger.” I can’t decide whether I like that line or not… On the one hand, it’s definitely bordering on cool-guy line territory, but on the other it’s a bit crass. Still, Wolverine isn’t the only one who needs time to think, as Doctor Strange and his new paramour the Night Nurse have taken some time to… uh… unwind.


I like this scene. It really humanizes Doctor Strange, and makes it obvious that the Oath limited series is in continuity (even with all the problems that it might cause.) I also like that Strange wants to show off his new girlfriend (especially after the conversation in Illuminati #4) to his buddies. Of course, the fact that Night Nurse looks just like Jessica Jones sort of brings me down, just a bit. Downstairs, Ronin/Hawkeye is in the shower when Echo accidentally walks in on him… She’s a bit stunned, staring at the naked man, while Hawk takes a moment to process, before telling her “In or out.” Heh. Cool as a cucumber, our Hawkeye. Later that evening, Doctor Strange and Iron Fist have a brief conversation about recent events in the I.F. title, with Danny asking if Steven can keep anyone from sharing his power again like Orson Randall did. Strange immediately reminds him that the Iron Fist, like his own title of Sorceror Supreme, is a traveling title, and that someone will come along to supercede both of them, eventually. “Someone younger, someone more handsome…” Danny replies, and Strange says it’s possible. “I hate them already,” replies the Fist. Heh. Suddenly, a voice calls out, “I’m a Skrull!”


“Right?” Luke turns to face his wife, a very angry and very formidable woman, and Jessica insists that he tell the truth. Luke tries to get her to stop, to not do this in front of the team, but Jessie isn’t having it. “My husband thinks I’m a Skrull… He thinks his baby is a half-Skrull baby. He is taking his very honorable and very lovable feelings of inadequacy about being a husband and father and he’s twisting them into this very dark place…” Luckily, the doctor has a plan: a spell that will reveal each of the Avengers’ true natures, but unfortunately, it will be a spell visible to everyone, and all of them will see one another’s truths as well. Jessica says to hit the spell, reminding Luke that his daughter needs a father, and Spider-Man laughs that they need to name the kid. “We did name her,” replies Luke.


Again with mocking the booties? They’re the official combat shoes of the Iron Fist, dammit, they’re not slippers! Always messing with the classics, aren’t they. Doctor Strange takes Jessica’s advice to “toss some dry ice in a pot” and kicks in with the magic, and we see the true, inner essences of the Avengers (and finally get an explanation for this issue’s cover.)


In return for the booties mocking, Iron Fist takes a good shot at Luke’s yellow silk shirt, Spider-Man finds that he thinks of himself as a geeky teenager while Echo and Ronin’s selves cause some consternation. Also, they’re once again hinting that only Hawkeye has what it takes to replace Captain America… Wolverine wanders in at just the right time with the news of of his interaction with young Parker Robbins (though not talking about his recent emasculation.) Once again, Yu’s women scare me, with Jessica’s alter-self’s flying pose falling into the realm of ‘just plain wrong.’ Wolverine is satisfied to see his pals all back, and doubly happy to find that nobody is a Skrull…


While he gives everyone the 411, Luke and Jessica make up in the most adorable way possible… “You sorry for doing that silent treatment crap with me that you promised you wouldn’t do?” Luke replies that he is, and she apologizes for embarassing him in front of his super-buddies, and he replies (after a kiss) that she looked good in the tights. “You’ll never have sex again in your life” is her reply… The team decides that even though Tony Stark will probably arrest them for showing their faces, they must get involved, that the heroic thing to do would be go out anyway. Unfortunately, it ain’t Deathlok…


Oh, crap! Venom, Venom everywhere, and Echo just got schlorped! This is probably not going to be good. I believe that this story will be tying into Mighty Avengers after Issue #7 (which, at this rate, should be out in 2009 sometime) bringing our teams together, and hopefully finally ending this whole Civil War fallout crap once and for all.

With Mighty Avengers, I find myself enjoying the art (cheesecakey though it is) and wanting to whack the writer in the head. With New Avengers, it feels like a completely different person is putting the book together, as the writing this issue is top-notch (with tons of interpersonal brilliance including the beginnings of what may be an attraction between Echo and Hawkeye) but the art is once again annoying me. The weird red fleshy bits around everyone’s eyes give me the screamin’ heebies, and while the cover was pretty impressive, the interiors have again hit the chicken-scratch level. Still, the story was good, showing the emotional core of the Avengers, giving us a peek into their secret inner lives and selves, and also finally showing us WHY these people stick together, so I can’t be too down on it. For a few wonderful moments of Bendis dialogue, a surprise involving the Hood, as well as the achievement of basically talking all issue without feeling padded, New Avengers #34 earns a nicely done 3 out of 5 stars…



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Note: The baby wasn’t seen during that inner self spell. If the baby is a Skrull, how was the switch made? Was a switch made at all, or did Jessica get impregnated artificially with Skrull DNA just for kicks?

    Wasn’t the whole “world overrun by symbiotes” thing done before? And doesn’t this seemingly large scale event just make the continuity problems between the Avenger comics, the individual hero comics, and World War Hulk worse?

  2. Ouch, first time I’ve ever felt bad for Wolverine, even if it does grow back.

    Considering how long lived Orson Randall was, I don’t think Danny has to worry about giving up the Iron Fist title for quite awhile.

    It was good to see everyone in the team back off of each others throat and bond a bit.

  3. Wasn’t the whole “world overrun by symbiotes” thing done before? And doesn’t this seemingly large scale event just make the continuity problems between the Avenger comics, the individual hero comics, and World War Hulk worse?

    I’m not sure. “Yesterday” for our Avengers was the E.M.P. in Mighty #1, but everything in the first four issues of Mighty has taken just a few hours to occur, I believe… So, by the time that story ends, we could leap directly (though not very naturally) into the next big crisis. And this is the problem that I have with decompression… The first 26 issues of this book apparently took place in just a matter of weeks, and the last 7 seem to have taken just a couple of days. How do we make the time-frames fit?

    I don’t think anybody knows, and I don’t think it’s a priority for Marvel.

  4. I think the Baby is becoming a Skrull on the installment plan; it’s being turned into a Skrull by being bottle-fed the milk that was made from the Skrulls which Reed Richards tricked into turning into Cows in their first ever appearance.

    This also proves that George Bush, as seen in Avengers: The Intiative, was a Skrull…he wanted to stay on the ‘Ranch’ with his SKRULL COW MASTERS!

  5. Regarding Night Nurse’s hospice: In Doctor Strange: The: Oath, it is firebombed by demons and Doc Strange tells her she can set up shop in the Sanctum Sactorium. Has that changed?

    Also on the Doctor Strange front: The Marvel Tarot made a big deal out of pointing out that the Sorceror Supreme title was a legacy deal, and now it is mentioned again here. Even the tarot cards had suggested that every 1 out of 10 times Ian McNell was The Magician card.

    I just got a feeling that they want to do something bad to the good Doctor.

    Also, Brian K. Vaughn (sp?) wrote both The Hood and The Oath. Looks to me lke they really wanted to build on his stories.

  6. It’s obvious both the New and Mighty Avengers takes place before WWH but these story arcs that take place in a matter of days(both Avengers and WWH) are getting annoying. At least you could say Civil War could have taken over six months to finish due to possible time gaps between and even during issues.

  7. I don’t fellas but I’m feeling pretty satisfied by this latest issue. When was the last time a Bendis Avengers issue actually had plot movement, actual fighting, and good character interaction? Plus a decent cliffhanger to boot…maybe Im just feeling groovy this morning.

  8. Also…I’m not even going to bring up continuity because there’s no point anymore. I will offer some more thoughts on the Skrull business. I think Peter Parker has a point, even if he was joking…what if there are sleeper skrulls? It would make a lot of sense if there ends up being a big reveal. Also, just because Dr. Strange did the spell doesn’t mean he’s genuine. There wasn’t much elaboration on his “true self”. I think the hints are pointing to the fact that at least one person in the Illumacrappy is a Skrull. Even money says its Reed Richards, but Dr. Strange could be a good candidate too. Jessica Jones is STILL a candidate because she still hasn’t answered Wong’s question about breastfeeding the baby.

  9. Excellent review. I agree with many of your assessments. The extraordinarily condensed storyline is tiring. It feels like watching an season of “24” if the episodes were a half-hour and happened once a month. And though Yu’s art can look dynamic when doing action, I don’t like the look of his faces or gestures (the fact that he’s more of an action artist makes him seem like a bad fit for a Bendis book).

    Still, this issue was pretty enjoyable due to what many people have said. I keep thinking I’m going to stop buying this book, but I like these characters and I’m trigued by the idea of them as a team (I do wish Iron Fist was more like his own title. His characterization still feels a bit off to me). And though it can be jokey at times, Bendis can write good dialog. Damn you, Bendis, looks like I’m sticking around for #35….

  10. I just read that the New Avengers annual in January will be WWH fallout with the whole Doctor Strange/Zom thing. But still, this means that Mighty Avengers won’t be caught up till freaking March! Well, at least it should come out on time with Frank Cho off pencils, even if it won’t look as pretty.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.