New Avengers #24
New Avengers #24
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato

And now, the tie-ins. New Avengers #24 is the first of what will be a slew of tie-ins to Marvel's big summer blockbuster, AvX. And while Bendis has traditionally navigated the tie-in issues to big events better than others (usually because he is crafting them himself), his track record is not flawless. Luckily this issue is promising enough to give me hope that he can keep things fresh throughout the entirety of the event.

The issue begins with a tense assemblage of Avengers waiting around the Quincarrier, anxious to see how the standoff between Cyclops and Captain America on Utopia's beach shakes out. These quiet, more human moments is the kind of storytelling Brian Bendis excels at. The quiet awkward chatter, which sometimes seems unbecoming of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, really finds a better fit in the context of the moments before the potential beginnings of a conflict no one wants.

The rest of the issue shifts it's focus in time and narrows its gaze to the Cage family and the recent difficulties they've experienced. Bendis frames some hard questions for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage as they face an impasse where what is best for the world, and themselves may not be best for their daughter. Bendis presents this conversation with thoughtful questions, sharp dialogue, and an intimate knowledge of these characters. There really isn't an easy answer to the debate between Luke and Jessica, and it looks as if the Cage family's troubles are far from over.

I think I read somewhere that Deodato uses digitally rendered backgrounds. Whether this is the case or not, the backgrounds definitely look vague and flat in contrast to his sharp rendering of characters of many different body types and builds. The visual highlight of the issue is definitely the final sequence of Luke Cage jumping into the fray, as it definitely makes Jess's points from their earlier argument hit home like a hammer.

A solid beginning to the end of Brian Michael Bendis's run on the Avengers franchise. If this issue is any indication I guess the he will use his Avengers books to cover the human cost of the war between friends, and that bodes well as it plays to Bendis' strengths as a writer that have, at times been ill suited to the bigger action set pieces that an Avengers book demands.

Grade: B

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