Even though “the search for a new sorcerer supreme” isn’t quite the draw that someone at Marvel seems to think it is, New Avengers is still an enjoyable title, largely because it allows Bendis to do what Bendis does best. Which is, to say: talking. Lots of it. For the second issue in a row, a fair chunk of this issue revolves around super-heroes standing still and chatting about what’s going on. If you don’t truck with that, then fair enough – but go read Mighty Avengers instead.
The problem with that, however, is that the tone of the writing isn’t properly suited to the capabilities of the comic’s artists. Bachalo’s scenes often look wonderful, but as is typical with Bachalo’s current work, the action can be hard to follow. It’s exactly the sort of place you’d expect some dialogue to keep things a bit clearer, but all too often we get monosyllabic, if not entirely mute scenes. Meanwhile Tan, who just about manages to be at home drawing action, is forced to illustrate lavish speeches that rely on a subtely and preciseness of expression that Tan is incapable of. I hope you like your Avengers with cold, dead eyes, because that’s what you’re going to get from this title.
In fairness, the story itself is much more engaging than the trouncing I just gave the art would suggest. The threat of someone unwanted – perhaps even an outright villain – becoming Sorcerer Supreme is tangible, and it’s made even more amusing by the closing scenes which indicate that the new Sorcerer might actually be somewhere between the two. Few people will entirely understand the Hellcat references in the closing pages, but those of us that do get it will certainly be amused.
It’s fair to say that this isn’t quite the screaming-out-of-the-gate restart that New Avengers fans after Secret Invasion finally buggered off, but it’s not horrible – it’s just a pity that it’s being massively outclassed by Dark Avengers. Does Bendis only have the energy for one great idea at a time, and if so, can we maybe think about him handling 50% of Marvel’s output for a while?