Norman Osborn’s plans are taking flight against the New Avengers. But is there a surprise up an unexpected player’s sleeve?
New Avengers #22
A military squadron is wanting to take the New Avengers in for questioning about the claims Osborn has made public. Luke Cage wants to get into Avengers Mansion to find Jessica and their baby, but after Doctor Strange teleports them back to his Sanctum Santorum, Wong tells Cage that Jessica left for their protection. He storms off to look for her while the other Avengers pay a visit to Victoria Hand. She finally reveals she’s been contacting Osborn for Steve Rogers. They have Hand contact Osborn again to tell him where he can find the team. He sends his new Dark Avengers to their location, but when Skaar learns Captain America is found in their own hideout’s basement, he delivers a blow against his own team.
I’ll say it again… This mega arc working its way through both Avengers and New Avengers is enjoyable to a degree. It’s bot both teams scrambling against Osborn’s big plans and hasn’t necessarily skimped on some action. While casting both teams as the bad guys in the eyes of Joe Six Pack is incredibly annoying and befuddling from a plot perspective, this series’ part of the overall story doesn’t use that quite as much as showing more of Osborn’s plan, his team’s personal motivations, his vendetta against Cage, and how Victoria Hand’s allegiances truly lies. It’s not without its own problems with some of the characters (which I’ll get to momentarily), but in general, this issue is another solid chapter with nice movement in the overall plot – particularly the team chasing down Victoria to question her role in all this.
My biggest problem with The New Avengers series dating back to the first volume was how Luke Cage leads the team. In the hands of Brian Michael Bendis, Cage is consistently thrust into a leadership role, but is portrayed as more of a hothead that isn’t a good leader at all. I’ve long looked at him as a slightly stereotypical black character. He’s generally angry and has a chip on his shoulder. He’s not necessarily a positive character outside of his status which seems a bit more forced than anything. Yeah, Cage is certainly progressed well beyond his old fro, tiara, and yellow puffy shirt, but he’s completely uncontrollable and as a leader, that’s not good. He’s more likely to take things personally. He storms off on his own personal business and leaves his team hanging and this issue is certainly a classic example. He can’t command them in the field. He’s often upstaged by Wolverine who, of all people, can actually put aside his own personal vendettas for the betterment of his team. Wolvie will do some serious damage and isn’t held down by other interests when he’s on his own, but whenever he’s on a team these days, he stands with him. Cage, man… That guy works better alone than with a team. Every chance he gets to go off and do what can’t really be seen as much more than “angry black guy stuff” (pardon the term), he takes it. He might as well be drawn flipping off his team as he storms off. Bendis has his pet characters, and Luke Cage has certainly been one of those, but could it be that Bendis can’t really write a fully fleshed out African-American? He might be able to handle the character if he wasn’t the leader, but as a guy in charge of a team that may be called upon saving the world, Cage can’t be the guy. He’s too stuck on his own stuff.
There’s never too much talk about Mike Deodato’s work. I know I can’t get enough of it. His work is so rich and thick that there never seems to be a lack of detail. Page after page, Deodato fills it with gorgeous pencils and he never seems to cut corners. No matter the size of frame he’s working with or the amount of stuff filling in the background (or the foreground) he gives it a texture that almost pops off the page. He’s been working with co-artist Will Conrad who also brings solid work. The two artists are brought together nicely and meld into a consistent look from front to back. I don’t think anyone can honestly say this isn’t one of the more beautiful Marvel books today.
This story is winding down in preparation for the Avengers to get into a big ol’ tussle with the X-Men, but there looks to be a big, explosive finale coming to an overall solid arc.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Beautiful art. Good plot which moves forward nicely. The scene in which the majority of the team tracks down Victoria Hand was well done. Glad this series’ part of the story doesn’t focus quite as much the public perception of the team as Avengers does.||Luke Cage is not a good leader. At all.|
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