New Avengers #16.1

A comic review article by: Sara McDonald
While New Avengers #16.1 was not the least compelling comic I've read, it was far from the most compelling. It started off well with a scene of Norman Osborn in prison, talking with his Green Goblin personality. It's a good hook, with the image of the Green Goblin on the second page probably some of the best art the comic has to offer. It starts to trail off quickly, however, with the next scene in the Avenger's Mansion feeling cluttered and a bit out of synch with the tone set by the beginning of the comic. The dialogue often seems a bit like Bendis was trying too hard to be witty and offering not much more than baby poop jokes.

The action of the comic revolves around Norman Osborn's attempt to break out of jail, with the help of the members of his own personal cult, and the New Avengers attempts to stop the jailbreak. There's some action, some subterfuge and I can't say I wasn't interested, but it still felt like the pacing was just a bit off. (One thing that did feel jarring to me was the scene where Wolverine sticks his claws against the inside of Osborn's mouth and against his cheek. It seemed to me like perhaps that with as sharp as his claws supposedly are, there would be blood drawn with a move like that.)

Some of the comic's plotting felt a little forced as well, mainly regarding Osborn's ability to get the drop on the Avengers so easily. One would think that the Avengers would be a little more prepared for a trap like that, and I got the feeling that they weren't for no other reason than the writer needed them not to be. On top of better pacing, bringing more to the plot to show a more solid reason as to why the Avengers would end up backed into Osborn's trap probably would've made for a better read overall.

The ending appears to be a set-up for an arc that's going to carry the comic through the remainder of the year, and I feel like it's the beginning of a plot that could be compelling. As a long time Avengers reader, I'm definitely interested in what the continuation of this story with Norman Osborn will be. However, I felt like it was more because I already have something invested in the story and not because this comic really sold me on it. Since this comic is part of Marvel's "Point One" Initiative, I would've expected more to grab new readers who may not have already been following New Avengers.

This may have been a bit of a clunky start to the New Avengers post-Fear Itself arc, but it's also one that shows hints of promise. Hopefully the story will pick up more momentum with Issue 17.

Sara McDonald started reading comics in the third grade, and now puts her English degree to good use talking about them on the Internet. She currently resides in Western Massachusetts with a roommate, three cats, and an action figure collection and spends the time she isn’t reading comics working for a non-profit. You can visit her blog at Ms. Snarky’s Awesometastic Comics Blog.

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