The first arc of the "New Avengers" relaunch wraps up this issue and, as promised, one of the Avengers of the cover did die. Which one did you think it would be? Yeah, you were right. But before all of that, we get an issue where Wolverine gets his snikt on, lots of people weigh in on what they're seeing, and you'll more than likely go through these pages more than once just too look at the pretty pictures. Say what you will about decompression, multiple characters with one voice or even splashy pages of action that are truly superfluous, but damned if Bendis isn't making a comic here that feels just like a comic.
A good deal of this issue is Wolverine, powered up by his fellow Avengers, fighting in the astral realm against manifestations of his greatest foes. These pages of ethereal white and almost ghostly renditions of characters like the Hulk and Sabretooth are a delight to read for no other reason than they are fun. Bendis overstacks the panels with his spell names, and I finally realize why this doesn't work as well as it did in "The Immortal Iron Fist" - these names aren't fun. The "Cudgel of Misfortune" is better than the books and spells Bendis uses to clutter up and slow down the action. If you're smart, you'll ignore them.
There's a lot of potential within this team, and having the likes of Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Damien Hellstrom and Brother Voodoo is quite engaging. Having Mockingbird, Jewel and Ms Marvel struggle to have Bendis' comments forced into their mouths is a waste of everyone's time. This is most obvious in Spider-Man. A complete passenger on the team, his quips are neither necessary nor funny and considering he's already double-booked plenty of other places, I honestly cannot think of one reason to keep him in the title. The Thing, however, continues to prove he's completely perfect for the team even without doing much.
There's a frenetic pace to this issue that cannot be denied. Wolvie holds the action together, the magical members hold the heart and it all comes together in a popcorn spectacular that is the sort of thing that should come to mind when you think of the Marvel Universe. I can only hope there are a legion of kids out there growing up on this comic, because they'll be loving it. It's exactly what the four color medium needs sometimes: smashing fun. Though the speech on the second to last panel shows a glimpse of the words Bendis sometimes strings together as he makes a stand and a statement for the team, even if the death lacks the punch that you don't even expect from comics anymore.
There is clearly one person without flaw in this whole equation, and that is Stuart Immonen. His work simply gets better with every issue and he is getting the opportunity to stretch and express himself in much of the action here. His fight scenes are glorious to watch, yet his emotion is still present. Immonen draws what might be my favorite Doctor Strange of all time (especially because of the mustache). Von Grawbadger, Martin and Beredo also deserve much credit for this title being one of the best looking examples of comics on the stands right now.
There might be specific ingredients of this comic that aren't perfect, but as a complete recipe on a plate, "New Avengers" #6 is still delicious. It isn't trying to educate anyone, nor is it expecting to trigger a plethora of emotions. This comic wants to be your one-stop action spot where you can marvel at what comics can be. It's ballistic fun and well worth your time.