Comic Review: New Avengers #34 and a look back….
The end of an era! With New Avengers and other Avenger titles ending and restarting with the Marvel Now focus New Avengers #34 is not a good jumping on point for a new reader, but well worth looking into. Bendis’s run on the Avengers titles has been very controversial, but as a long time Avengers fan his restart of the titles and addition of New Avengers got me back into comics after a long break and I have really enjoyed his work. From the beginnings of the New Avengers assembling to combat a super-villain breakout at the Raft it has been a fun ride which has spanned over two volumes with the first taking place from 2005-2010 with 64 issues (+3 Annuals and 1 Finale Special)* and volume two from 2010 up until now. Bendis controversially added some new characters to the team who had never previously been Avengers (Spidey, Wolverine, Sentry, Daredevil, Thing, etc.). He painted them as rogues in Civil War versus the Pro-Registration douche-bags led by Iron Man, had them fight “themselves” when the Skrulls invaded, fought the supernatural in a quest for a new Sorcerer Supreme, and in Marvel fashion battled former X-Men allies in Avengers vs. X-Men, not to mention many other adventures. Many did not like Bendis’s work and changes to the team, but I felt he did an excellent job with the New Avengers and at least tried something different with the team dynamics and line-ups and since this is not the “main” team it should have been unique.
So how did the final issue fare you ask? Battling the deceased brother of Brother Voodoo the team was all mind-controlled except for Doctor Strange and the Vision and this has been ongoing for several issues. One complaint I had was that it felt to be all about Doctor Strange, and that the other New Avengers were just plot devices and baddies. Surely some of them could have fought of the mind control long enough to at least help a little. Regardless, the final battle was quite entertaining and I really thought some more New Avengers and Avengers would die. There was a death in the previous issue but I’ll let you find out who, and don’t worry if you have not been following volume 2 you probably won’t care in the least who bites the dust, but at least he/she stayed dead which is problem I have with many comics these days. The touching moments at the end with Luge Cage were nicely done and I hope to see him back in the Avengers at some point. This character has gone through a great revolution thanks to Bendis and the family-man approach to his development and growth really felt…err real. All said and done Doctor Strange and Luke Cage were the focal points to the issue, and actually the last few issues and I hope it is a lead up to something in the new New Avengers due out in January. From the sound of things the line-up will be more Illuminati based and I hope that it does not disappoint and keeps the rotating line-up Bendis was well known for.
Iann Robinson of craveonline.com neatly sums up the art in the issue much better than I could-
“The first is a splash page by Chuck BB (Black Metal) depicting an overly cartoonish clash of Strange and Red Hulk. Following that, Farel Dalrymple (Pop Gun War) uses his more fantasy driven style to illustrate the clash between Spider-Man and Strange. Ming Doyle steps in when Strange fights The Thing and her work is awful. The Thing looks more like the Toxic Avenger. I was also unimpressed with Lucy Kinsley’s coloring book art featuring Strange and Captain America, but I dug the Thor fight by Becky Cloonan. Yves Bigerel completes the “jam artist” section with a pop art take on Strange battling Captain Marvel. Finally, we’re returned to the art of Mike Deodato to end the issue. I see what Marvel was going for here, but it doesn’t really work out.”
Like Iann said the art was for the most part quite bad. I agree with his assessment of Ming Doyle’s contribution and hands down it has to be the WORST representation of the Thing going. Why was the decision made to have 6 guest artists on this issue? It made for a very jarring few pages and greatly took away from the issue. Mike Deodato was spot on and I loved the splash pages showing some of the greatest adventures the team has had but wish he did the whole issue instead of the temps.
All in all it was a fun issue and wrapped up things nicely. Not a great jumping on point, but this volume and volume #1 are well worth checking out. Avengers Assemble!
8/10 and a solid effort despite the guest artists.