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New Avengers #11

A comic review article by: Jamil Scalese
I started reading New Avengers because of Squirrel Girl.

Wait, did I just admit that?

Wow.

What I mean is -- I started reading this book because of the interesting cast and Brian Michael Bendis. Based of my enjoyment of the main Avengers title I began throwing this on my pile. I figured that I’d able to get on board quickly especially since it contained so many of my favorite characters.

Like Squirrel Girl.

The progressing narrative is doing double duty, swinging back and forth between current action and a Nick Fury-propelled flashback. Thus far, these two stories seem wholly separate aside from the respective teams sharing the privilege of calling themselves Avengers. Each side has its pluses and minuses and should be discussed in turn.

While potentially enthralling, the 1959 Avengers pseudo-origin plot isn’t working. First, the format might not be right; this story might serve better as a miniseries or be given full issues of New Avengers. Splitting time with the modern-day Avengers without a clear linkage is not doing justice to what Bendis is trying to imply with Nick Fury’s team’s existence. Is he really saying the Avengers are actually Fury’s creation, and not the assembly of Earth Mightiest Heroes who gather to stop the trickster Loki? It seems to me that a story of that game-changing magnitude deserves more space than it's actually being given.

The story itself isn’t anything spectacular. The lineup of Fury’s posse features a great mix of contemporary and classic personalities, but with the limited space there’s not much room for some of these figures to stand out. I don’t remember Sabretooth being so agreeable, and I don’t remember Dominic Fortune at all.

In the current Avengers storyline, our favorite heroes continue their mission to stop the rogue H.A.M.M.E.R faction from doing whatever dastardly thing they're planning. As this issue’s cover hints, Mockingbird is in a dire condition and even the background characters openly question her place on the battlefield. It’s nice for H.A.M.M.E.R to have some kind of function, and we get a minor explanation of their motives post-Dark Reign, even if they are a little generic. Let’s hope Superia makes a return so Ms. Marvel can get a little payback for getting knocked out like a punk.

The art splits Mike Deodato and Howard Chaykin between the dual time periods. Deodato’s skill has been well noted, and he continues to do a great job, but Chaykin’s slightly cartoony style is hard to swallow. The appointment of him to draw the ’59 events is an odd decision considering that this is pre-Marvel era and there is a certain aesthetic to that. It’s another reason I don’t feel that the flashback works.

This series is probably only for die-hard Squirrel Girl fans like me. Or, I guess, if you like Wolverine, Thing or Spider-Man. Whatever.

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