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New Avengers #1 - Memento Mori Review

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It's another new New Avengers team except this time we have Black Panther and the return (?) of the Illuminati. Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting are cooking something up here.

The Good

The tension and suspense begins on the very first page. We see a flashback to the formation of the Illuminati. As you may or may not recall, it was an idea that Black Panther was opposed to. Yet when you look at the cover and the fact that this flashback is here, you have to wonder what is going on. This is something that Jonathan Hickman does well. He sets things up in a way that makes you carefully look at every detail. If you've read any of his FANTASTIC FOUR run or his titles from Image Comics (such as THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS or THE RED WING), you know his stories often have a nice set up with a big payout. The flashback shifts to an ominous statement from one member that immediately sets the tone for what's to come.

As a Marvel NOW! book and a first issue, the idea is easy access for all readers. It's amazing how easily the idea of the Illuminati and their history was explained on the first page, in just a couple panels. With Black Panther taking center stage here (or so it seems), there is some time spent in Wakanda. As with Hickman's AVENGERS, a catalyst is needed for the formation of this team. This is the story leading up to that event.

It's great seeing Hickman's handling of T'Challa. The way he talks and what he has to say speaks volumes. It puts a lot of things, in the Marvel Universe, into perspective along with where Wakanda should be in comparison. There is a bit of a mystery that comes up and it starts reviving up the action. You'll want to read these pages carefully in order to take in everything that happens, action and dialogue, and the possible implications it will have on the future of this series. Of course we do not get all the answers and that will be just one of the hooks to bring us back for more.

Steve Epting's art is always great to see. There is a calm elegance when characters are simply standing around talking. He adds a certain element to the atmosphere of an issue when he's on it. As we sit back and try to figure out what the direction of this title will be, Epting's art guides us along with the promise of a visual treat.

The Bad

It is the first issue of a new series so it may not be fair but this book is about the set up. This is where the creators have to balance making this accessible to both new and old readers. It's a team book but this issue is focusing on Black Panther. That is important in showing us exactly why he will make the decisions coming up. There is an almost sense of deja vu with AVENGERS as we see something big happen and then the call to arms is made.

Of course a big struggle for many will be trying to figure out where this book fits in with the continuity of other titles. Captain America is pretty busy in Dimension Z in his title and Reed Richards is off on his own adventure in FANTASTIC FOUR. This is something that could be explained in the next issue or just the 'Wolverine Factor' and we just ignore it to enjoy a good story.

The Verdict

Jonathan Hickman tackling the Illuminati and Black Panther is an exciting prospect. Having Steve Epting along with him makes the idea even more exciting. Hickman's known for his grand stories and you definitely get a taste for what he has cooking here. As a first issue, the players and scenario are set up in a way that both new and old readers will be on the same page. Something is definitely brewing and for Black Panther to make the decision he does, you know it has to be a big deal. This will not be like the New Avengers titles in the past and that's a great thing. If we are going to have multiple Avengers titles, it's great to see each having a different taste to them. There are some moments that might make you scratch you head but this is just the beginning. Minor details should not inhibit the enjoyment of what is to come. Based on Hickman's track record, we should prepare ourselves for a bumpy adventure. Even though this is just the formation of another Avengers team, it feels like we're on the verge of a new horizon. This clearly is not just another Avengers title. There's something more going on here.

56 Comments
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Posted by longbowhunter

This fits with other early reviews I've read. Newsarama was rather harsh on this issue. Regardless this remains my most anticipated Marvel Now release.

Posted by wisesonAC

im cant wait to pick this up. i have good feelings about this. thanks for a great review.

Posted by Aeroman

I'm going to call this the illumanti avengers

Posted by LordRequiem

Why of all people would Black Panther replace Xavier? Now there's no vibranium he's got no stake in anything. What a dull character to have chosen.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@LordRequiem: Beast actually replaced Prof X since he's dead
Posted by Cavemold

hmm nah.. ill pass

Posted by TheCommissar

@Aeroman said:

I'm going to call this the illumanti avengers

While I'm looking forward to this, the name really peeves me since it has almost no relation to the Avengers, aside from that *some* of the Illuminati's members just so happen to be Avengers. But, of course, they have to have the name attached to everything now, because of the movies.

Posted by longbowhunter

I'm really just excited to have Hickman writing 3 of my very favorite Marvel characters. Iron Man, Beast and Black Panther.

Posted by TDK_88

"Of course a big struggle for many will be trying to figure out where this book fits in with the continuity of other titles. Captain America is pretty busy in Dimension Z in his title and Reed Richards is off on his own adventure in FANTASTIC FOUR."

Yawn! G-man crying about this **AGAIN** its so boring. You are a broken record.

Your New years resolution should be to not mention continuity between titles. Seriously.

Continuity from title to title was an industry selling point to sell more comics. Character continuity is more important than book to book cohesion. Let it go, appreciate the story.

Posted by Umbraa

Wakanda is more then Vibranium. They are still one of the most advanced nations in the world. I loved the action scenes. T'challa new skills are sick, One of the best Marvel Now books period. Newsarama review wasn't harsh, it was stupid. Whining about the THE PROTAGONIST being the PROTAGONIST! Basically,T'challa *is* the protaganist, just like Cap was in SA, Pym was in Mighty, like Cyclops in Uncanny, Val is for Fearless, etc. Hickman has made it VERY clear that Black Panther is a main focal point of the book, that he is the protagonist and the moral anchor in a 'mortality play' that his NEW AVENGERS IS. The rest roles/members are either deuteragonist and tritagonist in NEW AVENGERS. T'challa is the central character, being the "moral anchor" in a "morality play," means the other characters play off of him...he represents humanity, hope and honor...while the others represent different aspects that will try to drag him in other directions...good or bad. That's what a morality play is about. Awesome book.

Posted by Vance Astro
@LordRequiem said:

Why of all people would Black Panther replace Xavier? Now there's no vibranium he's got no stake in anything. What a dull character to have chosen.

Read the issue.
Moderator
Posted by Vance Astro
@Umbraa said:
One of the best Marvel Now books period. 
Is this, the only one you read?
Moderator
Edited by Umbraa

Vance what are you talking about now? I If I said its one of the best books in Marvel Now, that would imply that I'm reading more then one title yes? Wtf.Lol

Posted by Twentyfive

HYPED UP!!!!

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

@LordRequiem: He's one of the smartest men in the world, coming from one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world. I think Beast is actually replacing Xavier though.

Posted by Trodorne

This is a big Eh.

Posted by One_Eye

@Vance Astro: The fct Hickman is tackling Black Panther has me on board. I mean, an actual reputable writer. :p

Edited by Vance Astro
@Umbraa said:

Vance what are you talking about now? I If I said its one of the best books in Marvel Now, that would imply that I'm reading more then one title yes? Wtf.Lol

Yea, it would imply that..but i'm making sure before I ask what other titles did you read?
Moderator
Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

I would've loved to see Cyclops be part of this group representing mutants instead of Beast. They're letting Namor in, and he destroyed Wakanda.

Posted by Vance Astro
@One_Eye said:

@Vance Astro: The fct Hickman is tackling Black Panther has me on board. I mean, an actual reputable writer. :p

I'm not reading it for Black Panther, I'm reading it for the story. I'm very interested in what's going to happen..this is supposed to be the biggest Avengers book in terms of the story's impact. Black Panther is just a bonus. 
Moderator
Posted by Umbraa

I'm reading pretty much, most of them right now. All the main solo: Thor, Cap, Hulk and Ironman, Dead Pool, All-New X-men. Uncanny Avengers, Avengers, Avengers Arena, Cable and X-force...I read the first issue of Sif's JiM book and Red-She Hulk, the F4 and FF by Fraction. Most the first arcs before I cut down on what is sticking. I liked NA # 1 more then Avengers #1 and All-New X-men #1.

Posted by Umbraa

@sleepbutnodream15, Cyclops was never considered. Dude is headlining *two* flagship x-titles. Beast was the third choice after Prof X and Magneto...who is appearing in Uncanny X-men by Bendis. Hickman actually wanted Magneto.

Posted by Novemberx2

Really looking forward to this series, looks like one of the few marvel now titles disney/marvel pr team have not demanded to be created to apply to movie going audience (good look with that dumb idea marvel).

My only concern the name... surely calling it "Illuminati" or "Avengers: Illuminanti" make more sense then New Avengers (None of them are new avengers, they are all past members!, they are not even new characters)

Posted by Jake Fury

Looking forward to this quite a bit.

Posted by Umbraa

The oringinal Illuminati limited mini/special was titled...NEW AVENGERS: The Illuminati. And the first meeting took place in Wakanda as well in NEW AVENGERS. So the title is sort of spot on and connected to the oringinal concept. Plus, NA is a lot more simple to sale I think.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

I wanted Black Panter to be in a different team.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@MadeinBangladesh: what team?
Posted by wisesonAC

@Umbraa said:

Wakanda is more then Vibranium. They are still one of the most advanced nations in the world. I loved the action scenes. T'challa new skills are sick, One of the best Marvel Now books period. Newsarama review wasn't harsh, it was stupid. Whining about the THE PROTAGONIST being the PROTAGONIST! Basically,T'challa *is* the protaganist, just like Cap was in SA, Pym was in Mighty, like Cyclops in Uncanny, Val is for Fearless, etc. Hickman has made it VERY clear that Black Panther is a main focal point of the book, that he is the protagonist and the moral anchor in a 'mortality play' that his NEW AVENGERS IS. The rest roles/members are either deuteragonist and tritagonist in NEW AVENGERS. T'challa is the central character, being the "moral anchor" in a "morality play," means the other characters play off of him...he represents humanity, hope and honor...while the others represent different aspects that will try to drag him in other directions...good or bad. That's what a morality play is about. Awesome book.

Sometimes i wish cv had a like button,for stuff like this.

Edited by Rheged

@Umbraa said:

Newsarama review wasn't harsh, it was stupid. Whining about the THE PROTAGONIST being the PROTAGONIST! Basically,T'challa *is* the protaganist, just like Cap was in SA, Pym was in Mighty, like Cyclops in Uncanny, Val is for Fearless, etc.

He wasn't whining about that. He was rightly complaining that the first issue of a TEAM book, should actually have the TEAM in it, instead of being completely about one team member. T'challa may be the PoV character, but unlike all your other examples, none of those first issues featuring Cap, Pym, and Cyke were SOLELY about them. They all featured other members of the team to give you an idea of what the group and its dynamic was going to be.

New Avengers #1 doesn't do that. If you are interested in reading about the Illuminati, there's nothing here for you. If you want to read a Panther solo, this is the book for you.

Posted by Overlander

Can't wait to check it out tomorrow!

Posted by KalethePale

I personally think this new Avenger's team should be the new Secret Avengers. It's more fitting for the Ilumnati!

Posted by TimeLordScience

can someone please inform me as to whether this book is $2.99 or $3.99? I keep seeing contradictory images of the cover price.

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

@KalethePale: The Marvel NOW Secret Avengers are actually gonna be working in secret. Espionage and all that. I remember hearing something along the lines of the secret avengers getting their memories wiped after every mission or something. I hear what you're saying though.

Posted by G-Man

@TimeLordScience: $3.99

Staff
Posted by TimeLordScience

@G-Man: thanks G-Man (:

Edited by Umbraa

Rhegd are you a stalker or something? Haha... Look on FB at Newarama and how most everyone is trashing the review as whining. It's been ONE ISSUE. If you dont like it, cool. But Your boy isn't showing up elsewhere! You don't like it that T'challa is the central character...but you should like it because Namor is going to be the MAIN character playing off of T'challa. So yeah, dude was whining and this review was sorta kinda moronic...who expects a "big pay off" in the first issue? Lmao, really, the first freaking issue? I'm sure Namor will get his shine and i will be interested in your hypocrisy then...Moreover, issues 1 and 2 were ONE ISSUE at one point and were split in half because it was too big to be a double sizes book..making that Newsarama review even more stupid. I mean where is the research and facts...dude was just trashing the book. Because it didn't go how he expected. He wanted a " big pay off"---whatever.

Edited by Teerack
Edited by Rheged

@Umbraa said:

Rhegd are you a stalker or something? Haha... Look on FB at Newarama and how most everyone is trashing the review as whining. It's been ONE ISSUE. If you dont like it, cool. But Your boy isn't showing up elsewhere! You don't like it that T'challa is the central character...but you should like it because Namor is going to be the MAIN character playing off of T'challa. So yeah, dude was whining and this review was sorta kinda moronic...who expects a "big pay off" in the first issue? Lmao, really, the first freaking issue? I'm sure Namor will get his shine and i will be interested in your hypocrisy then...Moreover, issues 1 and 2 were ONE ISSUE at one point and were split in half because it was too big to be a double sizes book..making that Newsarama review even more stupid. I mean where is the research and facts...dude was just trashing the book. Because it didn't go how he expected. He wanted a " big pay off"---whatever.

Of course, Umbra, it's all about you. / eye roll

Try reading my post again. Or the review. Pay attention to the words, "FIRST issue," and "TEAM." Deflection isn't going to change the meaning of those words.

Where was it stated that NA 1 and 2 were one issue?

EDIT: Nevermind I found it. Thank you for that info.

Edited by Umbraa

Yes, you are right it's about me, thus your reply :) and Hickman said it in interviews and on FS. I don't have to re-read the review or what you said. My point stands, it was a whinny review period. There is no "deflection" son...and if you actually read to book you would see them show up, it just not how you like. Remember they are NOT a superhero team, they had to be brought together. The first issue set up how it occurred...and the catalysts...no amount of hating changes or makes that widely panned review correct! It's not...and the catalyst does not call for the need of them being there at the beginning...it's shows why they are called. This is no different then other "team" books with the protagonist taking the central focus...I'm sure other character will get there's..but this was clearly a follow up on Fantastic Four 607-608...which is the situation in NA...which focused on T'challa. Those are facts...not "deflection". The same site panned Aaron's Thor...what a joke.

Posted by Metatron_Da_Don

5 Stars from me. BP was awesome. The kids are the future twist, Wakanda still seeming to have some pocket of wealth and technology...All great.
 
BP calling Namor the devil was great. But was Namor smirking after his genocide was a bit off?

Posted by Umbraa

Agreed, 5 stars. That scene is pretty much shows how the NEW AVENGERS is a morality play and the roles the other members have surrounding T'challa. I don't think he was smirking at that, but at how T'challa was carring himself...maybe at the fact that T'challa reached out...something he really doesn't like to do. I think this will be a redemption story for Namor..but it will take a bit to get there.

Posted by Gambit1024

Congratulations, Mr. Hickman. You made me care about Black Panther for the very first time.

I might as well forward my whole paychecks to this man...

Posted by the3rdborn

@KalethePale: I agree 100%

Posted by the3rdborn

I don't think Captain America should be on this team at all

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I wouldn't mind reading this but I'm trying to cut down on my pull list and Uncanny X-Men is definitely being added... Sorry New Avengers

Posted by Avengers_4everXX

I honestly don't mind it being called New Avengers. My thing is, if it's going to be an "Avengers" title, it needs to have a specific purpose that differentiates it from the other Avengers titles, which this does. That was my problem with New Avengers volume 2, there was no defining characteristic that separated it from the main Avengers team. It was just kinda there. Heck half the members were on the main Avengers team anyway. This team has a defining characteristic that separates it from Hickman's other Avengers title.

Plus it stars Black Panther, so why wouldn't you want to read it?

Edited by Umbraa

Agreed 4everXX, it's different then Avengers tone-wise and how they assemble. Avengers was already a team, in NA the event the event is the catalyst for bringing the illuminati back together, with T'challa making the call. This is just story telling. Moreover, Hickman's prior runs on Secret Warriors and F4 both had Nick Fury and Reed Richards respectively, in centric issues in team book in the FIRST issues! Hell, the first arc of his critically aclaimed F4 epic ("Solve Everything" #570-572) had Reed starting as the main character and also co-staring as the supporting cast of Reeds in a team book! So to me the pathetic whining about Black Panther being written in the role that he has in the freaking book...is just by some butt hurt fanboys and reviewer-fanboys whom cluelessly want their favorite to be the focus, at the expense of the story. That approach in his other tem books was ok then and it's certainly ok now! Add The Ulitimates #1 to issues staring one character in a team book!

Posted by SavageDragon

To be honest I was really confused as what was happening in the middle of this book, I need to rer read it. My first read throught I thought it was ok...Issue 2 looks better.

Posted by SUNMAN

well it was better than the Avengers. Wasn't really new reader friendly, but one of the better Marvel books out right now to be sure. Overall Marvel Now has been kind of disappointing.

Still doesn't make sense as to why BP would call Namor. He isn't a big science brain or a magic user and there are stronger people on Marvel earth so not sure why he is here, especially considering he destroyed wakanda and killed hundreds if not thousands of its inhabitants. Just seems forced.

Posted by longbowhunter

Just finished reading this. I understand the complaints for this issue, but choose to let them fall to the wayside. It's been too long since I've read a good Black Panther story and I'm super excited to see where issue #2 goes.

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