Power Gem Party
The Overview: So here we are with another issue of the illuminati book, New Avengers, brought to us by the dynamic creative team of Jonathan Hickan and Steve Epting. That's right, the awesome team that brought us an amazing run of the Fantastic Four. I'm going to be the first to admit that with all the Marvel NOW titles I'm reading, I was hesitant to even pick up the first issue of this new series. After reading the first issue I was more than ready to give up on this series. Let me just say, I am so glad I decided to buy this book and now I am on board for the full ride.
The Good: Let's start with the cover. It's simple, yet beautiful and kind of even alludes to what this particular issue is going to bring into focus. After we flip to the first page of the book, that's where the amazingness starts.
Fans of Hickman know that he has a knack for creating rich, elaborate plot lines and really setting up a story that is so grand in scope. If Hickman is writing the story, you know you're in for a problem with such gravitas that it more than makes enough sense why these superheroes would gather together in the first place. This is an extremely important point in team books that I feel a lot of creative teams don't nail. Take the current Thunderbolts series for example. I mean, really, you're getting awesome superheroes together for some chump mission? In this book, Hickman has concocted a problem for our heroes that is so epic in scale, so mind-blowingly dramatic that you can't help but feel the tension even with an all-star roster such as this. I'm totally believing in why these characters would feel the need to gather and why the world-shattering problem in this book needs so much attention. Hickman even does a great job of these characters interacting with each other. He captures their voices perfectly from the cockiness of Namor, to the genius of Reed, to the ominous voice of T'Challa. I love how Hickman has these characters play off each other so smoothly and the dialogue flows in a believable manner. These are all powerful geniuses at the table and Hickman manages to each give them a distinct voice that totally fits their character.
Another thing, thank goodness for Steve Epting's art. The emotion he gets into the panel just by playing with contrast. I mean the darkness in the background of every panel really just adds great tension. You can really sense the whole feel of the Illuminati theme, the secrecy of it all, the grimness of the situation. I love it. The emotions he captures in each close-up panel. The close-ups are smartly drawn and just add so much detail to an already beautiful book. It doesn't feel forced either and flows smoothly from panel to panel. Just absolutely sublime.
The Bad: Not enough Black Bolt. I'm not a big fan of the character personally but it just seemed like he didn't get enough panel time. His presence doesn't really add much to the story and if Hickman doesn't have any real plans for him instead of being in the background it just seems like a wasted slot. Six is plenty of members already and sometimes you even forget he's at the table with all the other characters since he remains so silent.
The Verdict: This book has got me on the New Avengers train and I don't plan on getting off any time soon. It's great, it's compelling, the story is grand enough for me to care what will happen to these characters and the multiple universes as we know it. This book fired on all cylinders as far as being a new Marvel NOW book. It set up a great problem, it gave reason for the specific roster of characters, it set up their mission, it set up their plan of attack, and it leaves us with a great deal to think about as we marinate over it until the next issue. Something like this could have easily been the first issue and I bet you more people would be on board. It's fantastic. Story telling at it's best right here folks pick it up! If you picked up the first issue and were on the fence about it, read this and then decide if you'll continue or not. This is easily better and really sets up the direction this book will go; and that's a direction I am more than happy with.
5/5 stars. Why aren't you reading this? Get it now!