Artist: David Finch
I've been trying to go through my graphic novel collection, re-reading, and reviewing certain series', and the most recent series I've decided to review is all my Avengers since Brian Michael Bendis started his long run on the various teams, and I plan on reviewing all that I have, and any of the Marvel events that come along the way. This is now my second Avengers review following my review on Avengers Disassembled.
Daredevil (Matt Murdock), along with Luke Cage, and Foggy Nelson have arrived at The Raft to visit the Sentry (Robert Reynolds), and are getting shown round the huge supervillain prison by Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), but during that Electro starts a breakout that results in a huge fight that also involves the hero's already at the Raft, plus Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man , which also allows 42 prisoners to escape. After this Captain America manages to gather all the hero's involved in the fight, bar Daredevil, and Sentry, forming the New Avengers.
This was a brilliant book, and one of the best opening stories I've ever read, especially from an Avengers title. Brian Michael Bendis has done a fantastic job in continuing from where he left of at the end of Avengers Disassembled, whilst also showing that there has been some time in between. As I said in my review for Avengers Dissasembled, there was a lot of controversy around the changes that Bendis was making, and I'm sure most of them fans would either be going into this story as a sceptic, and most likely finish disliking it, but I personally felt that it was one of the best things that could have happened for the Avengers, and although a lot of people consider Bendis' run on the Avengers as inconsistent (me included), I still think that it was a brilliant run, and there were a lot of great moments, with this being one of the better ones. What I liked more about this story to Disassembled was that it had more depth to it, as Disassembled was basically just a huge action packed story, showing the demise of the Avengers, with not a great deal of background for the better part, and although I still liked that, this story having so much depth, and development throughout makes it so much better, and the way Bendis gradually brought all the pieces together, whilst also paying a small homage to the original team coming together (in The Avengers #1) was nice, and really made this story special.
The artist from Disassembled, David Finch also continued working on Avengers with Bendis in this new series, and his art was simply phenomenal. I've always liked Finch's art, especially on Justice League of America, Ultimate X-Men, and Batman: The Dark Knight, and although there's usually at least one thing that bugs me about his art, in general I love it. l Although I loved the way Finch drew the spectacular action sequences in Disassembled, I much preferred his art in this story, as it was much more dramatic, and overall gave the right tone that the story needed. The main thing that I didn't like about Finch's art in Disassembled, and the thing that's one of his downsides in general is the way he draws facial expressions, as they can sometimes look awkward, and unrealistic, but this time not as much, as although there was still the minor expression that looked weird, overall most of it was brilliant, and much better than Disassembled. Although there wasn't quite as much action in this story, as opposed to Disassembled, it didn't mean that the art on them sequences was any less phenomenal, as in a way they were even better. I also loved the way Finch drew the scenery, as with the main catalyst of this story being set on an island, during a storm it needs to be fantastic, and Finch did more than that, as it looked nothing short of epic, giving the perfect tone for the story. The other thing that I didn't like about Finch's art was the way he drew Matt Murdock, as if it wasn't for the dialogue and the fact that Foggy Nelson's with him I could easily mistake him for Cyclops.
With the main catalyst of this story being the breakout itself, I thought I'd talk about that next. What I liked most about this was that it wasn't your typical villain that was used to create the breakout, and although Electro is a big time player in Spider-Man comics, I can't really recall him having anything huge to do with the Avengers (besides this obviously). To be honest he's probably the best person for this type of job, as who better to break someone out of a high tech prison than someone that can travel through electricity, and use it at his will, as it'd be easy for him to turn the power off. Also having the series start with over 40 supervillain prisoners breaking out of the Raft is brilliant, as although it would have made putting them there in the first place redundant, it does allow a realistic way to release them back into the open, giving more characters to play around with in the future. Plus it also makes for a good reason to have the Avengers back on a permanent basis again.
The bringing of the Avengers together in this series was brilliant, and the only time I felt more excited about a new Avengers team was when I first read Dark Avengers. What I liked most was that most of this teams members had never been Avengers prior, either that or not for very long, and although you needed the likes of Captain America and Iron Man to give structure to this team, having so many new members was brilliant, and seeing them work together was even better. As I said earlier, I really liked how Bendis took homage to how this Avengers was formed, by mirroring how the original team came together, and this was probably the best apart about this story, as it was very dramatic, and also had fun moments, making for a truly epic story.
There was a sequence with the New Avengers together talking, and getting to know each other, which I felt was brilliant. I was debating over whether or not this was a spoiler, but as it doesn't really reveal any of the plot development, and the fact that the story's almost a decade old, I felt that it'd be safe. Anyway the most significant thing about this meeting was that it marked the opening of Avengers Tower, which has been the key meeting spot for most Avengers team since. After the destruction of Avengers Mansion in Disassembled, what better way of given the Avengers a new meeting spot as a skyscraper, basically upgrading the Mansion to a more modern style of building. Anyway I'll finish this part of the review by saying my favourite thing about the meeting, and that was the discussion between Spider-Man, and Spider-Woman. This was a very fun, and entertaining conversation, and I loved how Spider-Man, like his jokey self, talks about her letting other people use the Spider name, saying that he wouldn't have allowed her to use it otherwise. Anyway it's better if you read it yourself, but this was very entertaining, and Bendis in general writes both characters brilliantly, having also written them fabulously in the past.
This issue also planted seeds for things to come, and although I won't mention them, as to avoid spoiling it for people who know nothing of the series, I will say that although I recognised them the first time, it's much more noticeable with each additional read through (although that's expected). Anyway the first time I read through this series I didn't read up on any of the stories, so went in with no knowledge, as if I was reading them when they were released, and I found the mystery in these teasers was brilliant, and finding out how it developed was even better, but I won't go into any more detail.
This was a phenomenal start to what would become a brilliant run on the Avengers, even if it was inconsistent at times (mainly after the start of The Heroic Age). This was a very dramatic, and entertaining story, and both Bendis, and Finch did a fantastic job on it, giving one of the best opening Avengers stories I've ever read. I would highly recommend this, as even if you didn't like Bendis' work on Avengers near the end, I'm sure that you'll love this.
The next Avengers book I'll be reviewing will be New Avengers: The Sentry.