REVIEW: New Avengers #19

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Or – “Combining Five Old Things = The Next Big Thing!”

Norm-O is out of prison, teamed up with a coterie of scum and villainy, ready to once again launch his one good idea scrambled up to look different than before.  If the Marvel Universe were a call center, he’d clearly be the one in charge…

NEW AVENGERS #19
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in New Avengers:  When Captain America and Iron Man went to war, the Avengers split down the middle.  Once Iron Man took over the world, the New Avengers were an underground team working behind the scenes.  When Captain America returned from the dead to take over the world, the New Avengers just sort of kept hanging around.  In recent months, the New A’s failed to keep Norman Osborn from escaping from prison and have honestly been somewhat useless overall.  Will this be the moment where the team proves itself to be more than the sum of it’s remarkable parts?

CIVIL WAR DIVIDED BY DARK REIGN…

As much as I enjoyed the issue wherein Daredevil joined the Avengers a few months ago, the first few pages of this issue filled me with a deep disappointment about what Bendis intends to do with the characters.  Here’s a hint:  It seems to be mostly poop jokes.  DD encounters Squirrel Girl for the first time since saving her life, and finds that the little lady has developed a crush on him, so much so that she’s failed to notice that baby Danielle Cage has soiled herself.  Elsewhere, the New Avengers and Iron Man recover from last issue’s assault from agents of AIM and dealing with the realization that somebody stole a sample of Wolverine’s blood.  This whole segment feels weirdly out of place to me, with a couple of moments of personal interaction that are interesting, but mostly it’s a showcase for Bendis’ unpleasantly strident take on Tony Stark and a LOT of discussion.  Indeed, most of this issue is conversation of one sort or another, and admittedly Mike Deodato does a good job of keeping things interesting with his panel layouts, but when it’s all said and done we’re looking at a lot of talking heads.

…MULTIPLIED BY THE SQUARE ROOT OF FEAR ITSELF.

The villains from Secret Warriors are back, as well, and Gorgon does have a strong moment halfway through the issue wherein he has a quick conflict with Madame Hydra, but it, too, boils down to talky-talky.  Spider-Man doesn’t trust Victoria Hand, Jessica Jones worries about Norman’s threat to kill her daughter, Hawkeye’s brother finally gets something to do, and Skaar, Son Of Hulk, just… stands there.  Norman’s new helicarrier thingy looks remarkably like an Imperial Star Destroyer, and Victoria Hand transmits Norman coordinates allowing him to outfox the Avengers.  Part of me is sure we’re getting a face turn from Victoria that will justify her as a good person, while the other part of me can’t find any real support for that sort of thing and worries that it’s going to be exactly what it looks like.  As the issue ends, the New Avengers arrive just in time to find that the Dark Avengers have taken down the menace that they set out to stop, leading us to what they promise us is a battle between Avengers teams next time.

THE VERDICT: TOO MANY THINGS WE’VE SEEN BEFORE…

I don’t intend to come back for next issue to find out how it all shakes down, as this issue feels like retreads from top to bottom.  Spider-Man has been verbally hanging a lampshade on Vicky Hand’s untrustworthiness for over a year now, but no one has actually done anything about it.  This team’s leader, Luke Cage, is defined entirely by his response to his wife’s fears, which carries over to his team as well.  Sadly, Iron Fist and Doctor Strange are set-dressing this issue (as are Mockingbird and, strangely enough, Wolverine) and are much better served in the recent Defenders #1.  New Avengers #19 is well-drawn but draws on the same territory that we’ve been working with for about five years now, taking it’s bloody time to get nowhere in particular, and existing in a timeframe that is hard to reconcile with the last issue of Avengers, earning a disappointed 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Doesn’t it undermine the awesomeness/specialness of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes when literally EVERYBODY seems to be a member these days?