Given the criticism that this arc of the New Avengers has attracted, I expected to find myself in a minority when it came to this issue, as I’m fond of a number of the elements on show here. While I’d still maintain that the book’s receiving some unnecessary stick at the moment, I do find myself unexpectedly in agreement with a general complaint about recent comics, and one that I previously thought I’d remain detached from.
The hunt for Doctor Strange’s successor isn’t going well, with the Avengers still one step behind the Hood in perusing the new sorcerer supreme. Strange is out of his depth in these circumstances, but a number of events fortunately giving away the location of Robins’ target. Despite the criticism that Billy Tan’s art has attracted, his style here manages to successfully convey the nighttime setting without loosing any clarity from events. His talent for action sequences serves him well here, with the silhouetted fight between Spider-Woman and Madame Masque being particularly striking. Brian Bendis also goes to some lengths to avoid the issue being pure combat, with effort taken to show Strange as being out of his depth and a welcome continuation of the fallout from Peter Parker’s unmasking and its effect on Luke Cage. Although readers of this arc alone might be rather nonplussed by the cliffhanger, the character that appears was used in the book not too long ago, and provides a welcome twist to the plot.
In summary, this is a book of quality, and a reader who has never been that intrigued by the Thunderbolts concept, it presently appeals to me the most of the three Avengers titles on the market. The general complaint that I mentioned is one of price. It may be old news, but at the time I wasn’t too concerned about the raising of the entry charge for many of Marvel’s books to $3:99. The difference seemed minimal, and wasn’t enough to deter me from any of the books I picked up regularly. New Avengers #53 is a solid comic, but not the sort of exceptional venture that I’d find myself willing to hand over £3:15 to read, when I could be getter better value for money from another title. I’ve no particular attachment to any of the characters here, and I can experience better work from this writer elsewhere. If this price rise becomes permanent, I can now see the reason for concern about the behaviour of “casual” readers.