Author Brian Michael Bendis, Illustrations various
This is the spoiler full review of the second half of Bendis’ 2004-2010 run of New Avengers. If you would prefer to stay spoiler free but still want to read about so many super heroes fighting so many scary bad guys please visit here.
A lot got us to this point, to catch up with the first 31 issues visit here.
We left off with the New Avengers discovering that a Skrull threat means they can’t trust anyone. Anyone could be an enemy! As with the first half of this run you’re going to need to be familiar with a lot of Marvel. I’m not going to go into a lot of back story here.
Most of the New Avengers are going down in a plane crash but Spiderwoman can fly so she gets out safely. But then disappears. Remember, she might be a dirty double crosser.
Dr. Strange casts some spell and determines that none of the core group are actually Skrulls. Relieved, they set about to solve some problems but then Symbiotes attack.
This book has it all.
A bunch of bad guys are organizing under the leadership of The Hood. As their first motion they beat up Tigra.
The Symbiotes are from a Venom bomb, a totally normal thing that can happen in this universe. Iron Man thinks it was Dr. Doom so him and the other nark Avengers, aka bad Avengers, aka on the wrong side of Civil War Avengers, are going to invade Latveria over it. Basically, commit an international war crime over a hunch. Iron Man sucks.
Meanwhile, the good Avengers, Captain America’s Avengers, are working on that whole Skrull issue that’s still threatening to dismantle everything they hold dear.
Jessica Jones becomes fearful for the safety of her daughter and decides to join the bad Avengers because Captain Marvel made some promises of things like not having to live as a criminal underground. Luke Cage does not take this betrayal well.
We then get a big reveal that the dirty double crosser Jessica Drew is actually the Skrull queen. So Drew isn’t really a traitor yay! But this means that the corrupt SHIELD is also Skrull and this going pretty deep. Deep enough to mine vibranium. That’s why their here. Deep. Mine. Yeah, you get it.
Things get a little complicated around this point. Turns out Cap was a Skrull so deep undercover he really thought he was Cap and died as a martyr to Civil War without realizing he was Skrull.
Back to those other bad guys in this chaos. The Hood, Madam Masque, and the rest find a Skrull and start to form a plan. Now pretty much everyone knows about the Skrull invasion but it’s still very difficult to know who to trust. The Skrull believe that the Earth is their right according to some prophecy. Here we go with religion causing mass destruction again.
The groups start to intertwine some more when a Skrull kidnaps Jessica Jones and Luke Cage’s baby.
Jessica Jones’ pain is freaking real through this.
Cage takes what he sees as the only course of action and makes a deal with some of the bad guys to help find and rescue her.
Oh wait, this is a totally different group of bad guys! Okay, we have Skrulls, Symbiotes, maybe Dr. Doom, The Hood and his cronies, AND Norman Osborne and his cronies including Bullseye and the Thunderbolts. Gosh, how could I get this mixed up?
Okay, so Cage strikes a deal with the Osborne group of baddies and they retrieve his daughter safely but Cage backs out on his part of the deal to join his dark Avengers group. Bad Avengers=Iron Man’s team, Dark Avengers=Norman Osborne’s team, Good Avengers=Captain America’s team, New Avengers=the book I’m desperately trying to summarize without sounding like I’m just spitting names onto the page.
Osborne clears a little of this up when he absorbs The Hood’s gang into his Dark Avengers. Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, aka Ronin is fed up with all of this and goes on the news to tell everyone Osborne and everyone associated with him sucks.
Spiderman finally reveals his identity to the New Avengers. It’s weird that he was the only one who was still under disguise even with his own team. But apparently Peter Parker and Jessica Jones go way back!
Now, while allll of this is going on Dr. Strange has to give up his role as grandmaster wizard of the dark mystic arts or whatever his title is. The universe is supposed to guide him to the rightful heir. This gives us a brief detour to visit Daimon Hellstrom, son of Satan, but turns out Brother Voodoo gets the eye of Agamoto in the end.
Let’s not even talk about the moniker Brother Voodoo. Just know he is super powerful in this weird magic side of Marvel.
The New Avengers then capture The Hood and Madam Masque but the court of public opinion is siding with Norman Osborne.
Clint gets even more fed up and decides they need to finally kill Osborne once and for all. Not surprisingly, not everyone is on board with this plan.
Now, on top of everything else that still hasn’t been resolved, a mad scientist with a very strong power inhibitor knocks out all the heroes’ powers. Mockingbird is the only one unaffected so she attempts to get help. They get the power inhibitor turned off but then Cage starts having a heart attack.
Now they need to retrieve the power inhibitor so that the Night Nurse can get through Cage’s unbreakable skin to perform surgery.
Once again helpless and out of options, Cage gets himself arrested so that Osborne is forced into providing him with surgery before he can be used as an example for all those other meddlesome heroes.
After the successful surgery the heroes break Cage out but in what shouldn’t be a surprise Cage now has a tracking device on his heart.
This brings us to a Magic School Bus plot of Antman shrinking Dr Strange to get inside of Cage’s unbreakable body to retrieve the tiny tracker from his heart. Remember, Dr Strange is a world class surgeon so he’s still useful even without magic.
And then the book just kind of ends. It ties in to Siege of Asgard, with which I’m entirely unfamiliar, and gives a direct lead in to New Avengers Heroic Age. This made the ending to the epic run quite disappointing.
I feel like very little was concluded or solved and so many loose ends are still loose. And now I have to go read two other runs to get any answers!
Sigh, this is all to common with comic books. It’s a frustration that comes with the medium. I should be used to it by now but it frequently leaves me unsatisfied.
However, this run is still a lot of fun for 64 issues. A ton happens but it does a good job of keeping track of it all. Despite how manic this review may sound it does play out well throughout the issues.
It is still imperative that you are not a Marvel newbie before reading this one though. It will be very confusing otherwise. But if you’re seasoned in the Marvel cannon please do not hesitate to try out New Avengers.
4/5 spiders 🕷🕷🕷🕷
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Once again I didn’t like how this run was collected but volume 1 will get you started: