This mega event tie-in issue marks the second issue of "New Avengers" in a row... without the New Avengers (or ANY modern era recognizable characters) in it. There are a few recognizable characters... but only if you've read the critically beloved but relatively short-lived "Immortal Iron Fist" series from a few years back, or the critically beloved and terminally unmarketable "S.H.I.E.L.D." series by Jonathan Hickman that's wrapping up its run currently (and into the foreseeable future, with huge gaps between issues). This would be a bold and downright baffling choice at any time, what with this being part of Marvel's A-list Avengers franchise, but it is all the more-so for being part of a mega-event crossover tie-in
It's a big gamble to have a multi-issue arc of an Avengers book populated entirely by the teachers, rulers and wise men from Iron Fist's past. The very idea of making Iron Fist take center stage (sort of) at all during this story is surprising. So for better or worse you have to respect Bendis for going with this idea and Marvel editorial for LETTING him.
Nonetheless, one could respect the book and still dislike it if the gamble didn't pay off. Well, the actual quality level is a bit hit and miss. The concept here feels very fresh for something taking place in the midst of your generic superhero crossover, so it IS, if nothing else, a breath of fresh air. But at the same time... there isn't a whole heck of a lot going on. Two issues in, this story is just a much longer version of the "tales of past Iron Fist" shorts from Fraction & Brubaker's run on Immortal Iron Fist... only that past, previously unheard of Iron Fist is a fiery redhead Phoenix host.
This story isn't for everybody. It probably isn't for most. For those on the edge of their seats wanting to know what will happen next in the core story that this title is feeding into, it will likely be a disappointment. For those who just enjoy the day-to-day Avengers action, it will also be a disappointment. For those who read and loved Immortal Iron Fist, it will be a pleasant surprise. For those reading S.H.I.E.L.D., it will be a SHOCK as this is, to the best of my knowledge, the first Marvel book to take anything from Hickman's little corner of the Marvel universe and bring it into the greater whole.
If you buy this book from one month to the next because you love your regular dose of superheroics and the quirky interplay between Spider-Man, Wolverine and even Dr. Strange... you're not going to get that here. If you think the idea of immortal, mystical ninjas (Iron Fist's primary teacher among them) teaming up with Leonardo Da Vinci to train a young Phoenix-Force host sounds intriguing rather than absurd... you just might love it.