writer: Jonathan Hickman / artist: Valerio Schiti
Of all the books I review each month, Hickman’s New Avengers run (post Infinity story line) is easily the most maddening. Hickman goes through great pains to build all these grouped story lines with the expectation that they will converge in some grand plot. Hickman is the string that keeps pulling the mouse from the cat; every time something monumental is about to happen…it doesn’t. It’s a nice trick for a while, but eventually you get hungry for something else. This is true for the last few issues of New Avengers where we have no less than four really interesting story lines that are more parallel to each other rather than having a meeting point. This is an especially busy issue: Maximus and the drill, Black Swan breaking down Reed Richards, the oncoming confrontation between the Illuminati and the Avengers, the collective brain power of Banner and McCoy and of course, the confrontation with the other Earth’s heroes.
Of all the plots that were cut off by the end of the issue, the dance the Illuminati does with the other Heroes towards an inevitable climax was the most satisfying. Even with all the throat clearing, watching someone besides Captain America hold the Illuminati responsible for their actions was worthwhile. This might explore some oncoming rift between the team as well, as some of them value diplomacy over obvious and honest communication and at least one member gets fed up by the end.
New Avengers has such potential, every month to be an outstanding book, but the constant intermissions and throat clearing seem to disrupt any rhythm or flow this book could have. Still, so many promising plot lines make it hard to give up on this book.