Avengers Vs. X-Men has arrived, but first, Luke Cage has some tough choices to make about family life and being one of the New Avengers.
New Avengers #24
The New Avengers are curious where Luke Cage is. He’s not come back for a few days now. On top of that, their battle with Norman Osborn may be over, but he’s still being felt in the form of the picketers that are still outside the Mansion. Bucking the standing order from Captain America, Iron Fist decides to go out to speak with them. He’s surprised to find Luke Cage speaking to a camera pleading for Jessica to come home. Jessica, Squirrel Girl and the baby come home. The married couple have a heart to heart about being parents and Avengers at the same time. Jessica has decided she must leave the team. Just as Luke is about to make his decision, Captain America arrives to tell the team what is happening with the Phoenix. Without a word spoken, Cage says goodbye to the baby and prepares to storm Utopia.
At first, I was real concerned that this book would turn out as another super-talky tie in issue that totally cuts out any potential of excitement from one of the major books of the Avengers line. This was the biggest issue of the tie-ins this series and the adjectiveless Avengers title had during Fear Itself. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that this issue certainly did enough. It’s bookended by the main AvX story and examines Cap’s throw down moment with Cyclops and what the Avengers are doing in their fortress floating just above the action. It also goes into Cap gathering all the teams together to discuss what’s coming. While we see Scott Summers imposing his position over X-Men who don’t entirely agree with his stance, we see Cap’s side here as a few of the Avengers voice their concern with Steve’s plan to extract Hope from the X-Men.
The heart of the book surrounds Mr. and Mrs. Cage. I’m not the biggest fan of how Luke has handled himself as leader of a team of Avengers. He’s indecisive and typically (and I could easy argue stereotypically) angry when a leader should have a bit more of a level head in their choices and actions. Turns out, he’s the same type of father. I could go on and on about how I kind of see Luke Cage as being written in a pretty stereotypically “angry black man” manner. I could talk about how I think he’s grown beyond being angry at being wrongfully accused and jailed. I could go on ad nauseum, but I choose not to. Instead, I actually found the much more realistic handling of what do superheroes on one of the most prestigious and premier teams in the world deal with keeping a baby safe. Granted, this kid probably has awesome powers, but let’s just assume that it’s too soon to tell. Anyway, In just a page or two, Jessica cuts through Luke and exposes his weaknesses as a father, a superhero, and, in a very metaphysical way, a character. I hope there’s not too much time devoted dealing with this guy who’s angry at the world, who wants to be a superhero, and a father who’s wife isn’t quite so sure about his stance at being all three of these aspects of his life.
Mike Deodato and Will Conrad kill it again. Their art is simply beautiful to look at. Their two page layout of the team leaping into action against the X-Men while Red Hulk pumps them up all Patton style is really cool. We saw it from the front in Avengers Vs. X-Men #1, now we get the bird’s eye view from inside the ship. All in all, I’m pleased with this first issue from the story. The art is definitely a cherry on top.
We also get an inside scoop on what each of the Avengers books will be giving us as AvX continues to surge. It really helped me understand a lot of the previews for upcoming books and why certain characters are in certain places (like Thor leading the Secret Avengers for example). Overall, it was a nice tie in issue that bridged the gap between the last story and the new while keeping focus on the big AvX event.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Fairly well written. Deals with the Luke/Jessica issue, but puts that on the back burner so the Avengers can go storm Utopia. Beautifully drawn.||Hoping it won’t entirely be about Cage struggling with his more stereotypical issues.|
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