AvX – New Avengers. Issue 24. Comic Book Review

It’s odd that Bendis should write such a middling “first” issue of Marvel’s big event for 2012, and then follow up with an absolutely fantastic tie-in issue that the majority of the AvX audience won’t buy.

But he knocks this out of the park.

He also knocks most of the last eight years of Avengers/New Avengers/Mighty Dark Power Avengers comics out of the way, coming out with an issue that, while slow to start, ends so brilliantly it’s ridiculous.

How does he manage this?

Because this issue is about character. It’s nothing but character scenes, of characters reacting to the scale of what they’re going to fight. AvX Issue One was a lot of shouting and explosions, and this issue is about the calm before the storm. The sheer horror of facing a global threat that is sold better in Storm’s one moment than many events are sold in their entirety.

Storm saying ‘Goddess’ and then flying away is just so perfect a moment, so utterly crystallised in how it addresses fifty years of continuity in such a simple way. There’s no melodrama, she sets up how bad this is going to get with one word and the mere act of flying away. There’s no exposition, just the sort of drama you expect from the best and most classic of films. It’s a small character moment that is just outstanding.

Bendis fills this issue with them.

Whether it’s Wolverine knowing that Cyclops won’t back down and going anyway, or Luke Cage and Jessica having a grown-up argument about what they both want from life, or even Red Hulk stepping up into his former General Role to get the troops prepared… the issue is a series of characters moments that really should’ve been released before AvX #1. That’s my only real complaint with this comic, that it sets up AvX #1 so perfectly and yet was released after it. This shouldn’t be a ‘non-mandatory’ tie-in. It should be a ‘must buy’ tie-in.

One of my fears with AvX is that the main series will burst through things too quickly, even with over a half dozen issues. Most people won’t share my madness in buying every tie-in. But it’s seeming likely that all the tie-in content is necessary for really gaining full understanding of the material. I think of people missing out on this issue, with the subtle art that shows characters emotional shifts, and I think it’s genuinely sad that it isn’t closer connected in terms of marketing to the main story.

This comic’s only flaw is that the opening pages feel a tad too connected to the last arc, which I hated. Other than that, it’s fantastic.

Grade: A

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