The team has barely reassembled, and they’re already in the midst of a problem that overlaps dimensions. Spider-Man, Wolverine, and their amazing friends battle magical constructs in the city streets while Iron Fist floats through whitespace, taunted by a being revealed only on the final page. Even Stephen Strange, Doctor Voodoo, and the Son of Satan can’t quite figure out what’s going on. It’s bigger than all of them. That’s pretty big.
But, remember, Brian Michael Bendis kicked off the last “New Avengers” series with a massive prison break and a conspiracy that didn’t reach its conclusion for years. He knows about big stories. But what separates this relaunch from its predecessor isn’t the scale of the stories, it’s the tone. And the apparent confidence which fill the issues of the new run.
Last time around, Bendis seemed to want to tell a slow-burn story, something that would create uncertainty in the readers and the characters. But with this issue, and the preceeding two, Bendis seems to want to show that the heroes of the Marvel Universe are up for any challenge and so his he. The narrative voice is more confident, the characters more direct, even when faced with something they can’t wrap their brains around.
And though it’s a single issue that’s mostly a big fight scene, Bendis spares time for some brief but strong character bits, with Victoria Hand and Jessica Drew.
Bendis has, by this point in his Marvel career, become known as the guy who brings the banter. He’s always been known as that guy, actually. And in this issue, the verbal barbs fly as viciously as the fists, even if the dialogue is mostly just about creating as sense of rhythm. Sometimes, though, even very entertaining notions read somewhat turgidly, awkwardly, however laudable. It seems whatever really occurs needs guidance. Stuart Immonen is the best choice for the job, making every detail clear, and the story whisks along on his pencil lines and the inks of Wade Von Grawbadger.
It’s a fast-moving, great-looking superhero comic, and it’s a fitting flag-bearer for the entire Marvel Universe during this “Heroic Age,” when everything may not be ice cream and rainbows, but it’s not all skulking in shadows and misery, either.