When it comes to telling an engaging, elaborate story that dabbles in theories of multi-earths and multi-universes, Jonathan Hickman almost always delivers. If the first issue of NEW AVENGERS left you slightly confused or underwhelmed in any way, fear not! The second issue definitely clears up a lot of questions you may have had after reading NEW AVENGERS #1. Not only that, but the issue also expounds upon the story in an extraordinary way. Hickman writes a phenomenal Reed Richards, and his stories are best told on a really big scale, which isn't something a lot of writers can do (at least not from what I noticed). This issue proved that Hickman is skilled in designing a big story, and that he sacrifices nothing in the process; so even though you have these huge concepts, you're still getting great dialogue.
Sometimes when you read a comic it might feel as though certain characters blend together; as though it is difficult to distinguish them and tell them apart. That is not the case here. In this issue Hickman does a great job not only defining the story for readers, but he writes each respective character differently. One of the things in particular that I really enjoyed was seeing T'Challa and Reed Richards discussing the fate of their planet at the very end of this issue. In this scene Hickman portrays T'Challa as extremely intelligent -- which he is, but I feel is something writers will sometimes forget to emphasize.
This issue is extremely well organized and and easy to understand even for a reader who isn't so familiar with or interested in the concept of multiple universes. This series has a stellar creative team, too. Hickman is joined by the talents of Steve Epting, Frank D'Armata and Rick Magyar who put out some really stunning work. There's a beautiful contrast between the scene where all members of the Illuminati are convening around a table. The fact that the artists use a black background and heavy shadows to accentuate the seriousness of the scene is perfect. There is just so much about this that I enjoyed reading.
The issue opens with the mysterious woman referred to as Black Swan. Although she is interesting, it's confusing as to why she is pictured in the first few pages of the issue utteringsomething in her own language. WHat is she doing? That was not explained, but that's really a minor thing.
This issue really provides the set up for what is to come, and it's great. Even though we have all these huge concepts, Hickman still manages to organize them in a way that is easy for the reader to understand without completely dumbing everything down. What we get is a beautiful issue that is really well written. The issue also features several pages of what appears to be a foreshadowing, so it will be interesting to see what happens there. This is also a great jumping on point, so if you didn't pick up issue #1, you can definitely start here.