During our Dueling Review of Infinity #1, Stephen and I had some issues with the difference between Kirkman and Hickman, but the main gist of it is this: Thanos is headed for Earth, the Avengers simply are not ready for him, and pretty much everything is going to die screaming in the flames. So, we got that going for us… which is nice, y’know. Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
The seriousness of the crisis comes through.
Everyone gets their moment of awesome.
Playing coy with the plot.
Thanos’ lieutenants feel very ‘New Gods.’
NEW AVENGERS #9
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor(s): Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in New Avengers: The Illuminati were, by any measure, a REALLY BAD IDEA, and that has been made clearer with their reformation under the leadership of the Black Panther. Having decided to destroy another world to save their own, they now have to face down the threat of Thanos and his latest bout with insanity threatening the Earth. Can even the mightiest of Earth’s Mightiest pull a win out of the hat this time?
SETTING THE STAGE…
Thanos and his five generals, first seen in Infinity #1 have arrived on Earth, and the are seeking out something important. Interestingly, Hickman’s script leaves it unspoken what’s going on, and though Thanos SEEMS to be after the Infinity Gems, all but one of them were shattered by the Illuminati/New Avengers in previous issues of this title. Though one gem survived, it’s unclear to the characters AND to the reader which one and who still possesses it, which means that the armies of Thanos are attacking on multiple fronts. Wakanda is attacked, as is the Baxter Building, and Atlantis finds itself devastated by the attacks, with King Namor himself one of the last men standing. I think my greatest problem with this issue is the problem that I have with Infinity as a whole, which is that we literally JUST finished up with the Age of Ultron, the last unthinkable crisis, and I seem to recall Atlantis being wiped out by the Phoenix Force 5 in the unthinkable crisis previous to that.
HINTS, ALLEGATIONS AND THINGS LEFT UNSAID…
Leaving aside questions of whether big event comics are a necessary evil (an argument which isn’t as cut-and-dried as some might want you to believe), this issue works on an emotional level, ratcheting up the tension as we see Thanos goons up close and personal. Black Panther manages to turn away the invaders in Wakanda, while Black Bolt and Maximus come together to fight off Thanos from Attilan, and Namor makes a desperate choice to save his people by betraying his fellow Illuminati. The iconography of this issue feels different from recent Marvel comics, but when you boil it down, things feel pretty familiar. The Beast and Wolverine have some lovely banter while defending the Jean Grey School (awesomely, Iceman gets some heavy-duty badass moments in the sequence), we get to see little Black Panther Shuri hasn’t been forgotten, but the scope of the story and the fact that we’re still in the earliest stages of the crossover make this issue lack narrative punch. Yes, we get a lot of establishing shots, dozens of characters in play across several iconic Marvel Universe settings, but by the end of the issue, it’s clear we’re dealing with nothing more than an appetizer course, which is a letdown no matter how good the book is.
THE BOTTOM LINE: INTERESTING, BUT ONLY A CHAPTER…
Artistically, Deodato does a fine job here, though I miss Barry Kitson’s work from previous issues of New Avengers, conveying the seriousness of the issue’s events (though even he can’t make Iron Man’s butt-ugly new armor look good.) New Avengers #9 is a slick, well-constructed comic book that comes up somewhat short on plot, will probably make a lovely supporting chapter in the inevitable trade paperback collection, but ends up feeling a little too slight to be a super-successful individual issues, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. At the very least, regular readers of this title shouldn’t have “Ignore The Crossover Issues” syndrome in their New Avengers collection… at least, not yet.