New Avengers: Revolution (27-31)
June 16, 2007 Leave a comment
Leading into Civil War, New Avengers was arguably Marvel’s hottest title. However, with the fallout from the event – Captain America’s death and the rogue heroes going underground – the book had to establish a new status quo, differentiate itself from the launching Mighty Avengers, and try to build back the momentum lost while the book was treading water during Civil War.
With Revolution – the first storyline featuring new artist Lenil Francis Yu – writer Brian Bendis has managed to accomplish that, as well as add a few twists and turns and still end with a ‘What the f*ck?!’ moment to finish it out.
Let me take a moment to say that this book seems to have dropped the six issue chapters format that fits so nicely into trade paperbacks in favor of an ongoing storyline. I’m assuming this is the story break. There was no ’5 of 5′ to close the story out.
Coming off of Civil War, New Avengers had to do two main things: explain how this team came together (with new members Iron Fist, Dr. Strange, and a new Ronin), and get the action pumping. This story certainly delivered in a rather unusual way. The story sets up in the present, while flashing back to the team’s post-Civil War days and a side mission that sets their status against Iron Man’s government-approved Avengers. It does this by clearing up that little ‘Cap’s still alive’ comment from the epilogue issue. For those wandering, he’s still dead. And Iron Man’s still acting like a douche bag, as he seems to be in every Bendis-written story.
So the remaining anti-registration Avengers (Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine for added flavor) join up with some of the leftovers (Iron Fist and Dr. Strange) and go off to rescue Echo, who apparently has been killed by Elektra and the Hand. So where does Ronin come in? Turns out Hawkeye, who’s been alive since House of M ended, still wants to play hero, but doesn’t want to be Hawkeye anymore, so a new Ronin is born. The Avengers take off for Japan, have a useless conversation with Silver Samurai, and fight tons and tons of ninjas. Oh yeah, Echo comes back to life, stabs Dr. Strange, comes to her senses, then stabs Elektra. Now ready for the big reveal? Brace yourself.
Elektra was a frickin’ Skrull!
This is one of those moments where I’m shocked at the end of an issue. Thor showing up at the end of Civil War #3 and Colossus charging out in Astonishing X-Men #4 produced a similar reaction. It finally seems like the mischaracterization of Elektra has been part of a grand scheme all along. This is a very intriguing development, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. Unlike some titles, I honestly can’t imagine what the grand scheme of all this is, but I am interested in finding out.
But I must add something to the art of Lenil Yu in this title. His pencils really set this book apart from Frank Cho’s cleaner style over on Mighty Avengers. The art gives the comic a much darker tone, which fits perfectly with this renegade, underground team. The art’s a little blotchy here and there, but it really works with the story, and I hope that Yu stays around for as long as this team remains underground (I really don’t think it’ll last far too long).
Does this story get New Avengers back to where it was before Civil War? Nope, but it’s on its way. The loss of Captain America, Iron Man, and the Sentry does hurt, but the team is a much more original lineup, and I love the dynamics between them. The groupings of Luke Cage/Iron Fist and Spider-Man/Ronin are especially enjoyable. Here’s hoping this book keeps on track and sets a new kind of standard for comics of its type.