The Battle has begun.
It’s Earth’s Mightiest vs. the Children of the Atom. The Phoenix is coming which is reason enough for Hero and Mutant to clash and the Marvel Universe will never be the same again! And Geek Hard will be there to report on the battles and advise on the aftermath (well, I will, at least). No issue will be forgotten and no plot point left unturned. Hard hitting analysis will ensue. Consider this you’re Avengers vs. X-men Post show.
We all remember how AvsX #1 ended, right? With both teams about to throw down. And in that issue we saw it from both Cyclops and Captain America’s perspective. But what was it like for the full team of Avengers chillin’ on the hellicarrier? At the start of New Avengers #24, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Mike Deodato and Will Conrad, we go back a few minutes in time and see Iron Man, Wolverine, Black Widow, and even Spider-Man’s thoughts as Cap and Cyke try to talk it out. And when the shit hits the fan, the A-Team springs to action. They go barreling out the door of the plane with Red Hulk yelling out the marching orders. At this point, the story shifts back a few days. The New Avengers are trying to get some rest and relaxation after their latest encounter with Norman Osborn. But it’s hard to get some R ‘n R when there’s a large group of civilians and reporters outside your mansion, protesting and causing a big stink. So Iron Fist goes out to talk to the people and runs right into Luke Cage (Leader of the New Avengers for those who’re new) talking to the cameras, sending out a heartfelt plea to his wife, Jessica Jones, to come home. When the Osborn debacle happened, she took off with their child. Just as he finishes his plea, she comes home (talk about bad timing there Luke – you could’ve just waited 2 minutes and you wouldn’t have had to make an ass out of yourself). Luke and Jessica go inside and have a heart to heart where they discuss the reality of raising a child in an unsafe environment where their lives are always at risk. But that conversation is cut short as Cap has arrived and calls a meeting regarding the coming Phoenix force. He asks for all of them to volunteer to join him in stopping the Phoenix from reaching earth. But in order to ensure that there’ll be no problems, Cap needs to get Hope (the possible X-Men messiah) and take her off the planet. And that brings us back to where we came in. Cue the battle.
There are only 4 words to describe the quality of the latest issue of New Avengers: It’s about damn time. This was a great issue. That is a rarity as New Avengers has become the bitch of the Avengers world. There was a lot stories that fell short in between the pages of this series. It was great to read an issue where not only were all the characters showcased, but each were treated with a great deal of reverence with each of them sounding and acting like themselves. The storyline between Cage and Jessica was especially a treat. This was the best portrayal of their relationship that I’ve seen since back during The Pulse. The comedy in this issue was used sparingly and at the right moments. The exchange between Spider-Man and Wolverine near the beginning of the book is handled nicely. Spider-man’s qualms about Logan running a school is shut down with such subtle grace, it really shines as a highlight in the dialogue. But the character beat that really got me was the use of Red Hulk at the beginning and end of the issue. For the first time in a Bendis written Avengers story, General Thunderbolt Ross is shown as the strong strategist that once chased Banner across America. It makes sense that in times of potential war, a man with decades of experience in these matters would rally the men. It was a simple story beat, but an effective one.
This issue also gave us the first real glimpse of Captain America’s plan. That info is glossed over in AvsX #1. In this issue, the steps of Cap’s strategy are unveiled. It also brings to light why certain Avengers are on the beach when the throwdown is about to happen and some are not. Cap’s already got them off handling the other parts of the mission. There is a strong continuity between this issue and the first issue of Avengers vs. X-Men. I hope they are able to maintain this throughout the rest of the mini-series.
The artwork by Deodato and Conrad is really clean in this issue. The pacing is also on point as well. During the scene between Luke Cage and his wife, the tension of the moment can be felt in each panel. This art team took a while to grow on me, but I have to say now, they are how I see the New Avengers in my mind.
I really enjoyed the strong storytelling in this issue and was happy to see that it fit beautifully together with the story presented so far in AvsX. If this keeps up, we may just have a good event book, something that is not easy to pull off. Pick up your copy of New Avengers #24 today.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!