writer: Jonathan Hickman; art: Valerio Schiti
I told you that Hickman had a plan. Well, I was hoping he had a plan and the seeds of it started taking root a little bit more as this is probably the best installment of New Avengers in a quite a long time. Selfishly and because I feel like T’Challa is one of the most interesting characters of the Illuminati, this book helps fill the void of there not being a Black Panther book currently running when it comes to big moments from the character. It was really nice to see T’Challa actually using the powers bestowed upon him since becoming King of the Dead as a tool for guidance in how to proceed in the coming battle. In its quiet moments, the stronger parts of this series have focused on how both T’Challa and Namor deal with no longer being Kings of the nations they once governed and T’Challa’s council adds another layer to that in this issue. Especially the lingering question asked of him by his father at the end of the conversation.
There is also a sense of getting the band back together as Dr. Strange reappears (Lord knows what HE’S been up to), Tony is back to being son-ed by Black Swan and The Beast helps get Bruce Banner acclimated to the process of defending or destroying worlds, depending upon how you look at it. All these reunions are brief with not a ton of depth, but it at least cures the issue of how the Illuminati is so exclusive and yet can’t seem to squeeze in more than 3 of its members in most issues. And it sets the stage for these guys actually getting out of the lab and fighting for the first time in a really long time.
With its strongest issue in quite some time and a set-up for one a morally questionable and yet evenly matched battle, New Avengers feels like a book to look forward to again.