Comic Vine Review

17 Comments

New Avengers #15 - See How the Swans Fly Review

4

Everything dies. The harbinger of this cruel fate’s story is finally revealed as the Illuminati struggle for a way to stop the horrific cycle.

The Good

Black Swan has been one of the biggest mysteries in Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers run, and here we finally get some backstory on the enigmatic woman. But we get far more than that as the Illuminati try to further still deal with the Incursions by observing more of them and trying to find something, anything, that will give them a leg up or, preferably, help them stop the Events from happening altogether. This is definitely one of the more “technical” issues, as evidenced by Beast and Reed Richards getting the lion’s share of the dialog, but Hickman’s done a fantastic job of establishing his new universes and the rules that hold them together, so it never feels like he’s making it up as he goes. This is the true strength of a great sci-fi or fantasy writer: it all feels organic and natural, and that’s definitely the case here. He never trades jargon for characters, though, as we get a great moment of Tony Stark literally throwing his hands up and proclaiming that he doesn’t understand what’s going on, despite being a genius engineer. T’Challa’s constant mask actually provides some incredible imagery, as he never takes it off in the issue and it makes him seem all the more grim and sincere, particularly when you consider where the issue takes place. We even get some startling revelations about how The Bridge works, most of which lead to some pretty horrific imagery.

Simone Bianchi is fantastic on this title. He’s proven his range before and it, quite literally, does span from fantasy surreal realism (if that makes sense), and here he proves that he can do sci-fi just as well. His visuals are muddy but never indistinct, and he brings these strange characters to vibrant life with his incredible pencil work, but while he also works on the inks, credit must be given to Riccardo Pieruccini for giving the grim visuals their sense of depth and detail along with the colors of Adriano Dall’Alpi. The art never becomes difficult to follow and it communicates the necessary details of the story with a kind of gorgeous darkness. This definitely isn’t a fluid style, but since it’s about people viewing moments in time, it actually serves the issue wonderfully, giving a sense of the moment.

The Bad

To start with a nitpick: beast still appears in his leonine mutation despite his apelike one having already appeared in the title. The larger complaint emerges near the end, when the Illuminati are peering into Black Swan’s final appearance. There’s a transition that makes it feels like there is at least one, if not more, missing pages, to the point that there's art on the borders of both pages around the ad appear to have fragments of panels like a misprint, which could explain the jump.

The Verdict

Pacing issues aside, this book is still one of the most thought-provoking on the shelf with its emphasis on morality and multidimensional theory that feels more genuine and grounded than such things generally do in comics. Much in the same way that gravity has recently been leant to the notion of time travel in the Marvel U, I feel like other dimensions and the consequences of what happens therein haven’t been the focal point of comics in this way since the early days of Exiles. The visuals are beautifully apropos and, apart from what I mention above, very clear and flowing. This is one of the most thought-provoking superhero books on the shelf.

19 Comments
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I kinda like that almost everybody in the room is smarter that Stark and sometimes need to explaine to him what they are talking about.

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Posted by HumanRocket

Didn't really like how Tony and Beast were drawn and I was kinda expecting more from Maximus after how he stole the show during Infinity. The ending does set up some good things for the future and I enjoyed the visiting of Black Swan's past.

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Edited by Wolverine08

I kinda like that almost everybody in the room is smarter that Stark and sometimes need to explaine to him what they are talking about.

Lol, no Stark love from you?

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

@jonny_anonymous said:

I kinda like that almost everybody in the room is smarter that Stark and sometimes need to explaine to him what they are talking about.

Lol, no Stark love from you?

Well I do like Stark but it's still nice to see him fallible

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Posted by Wolverine08

@wolverine08 said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

I kinda like that almost everybody in the room is smarter that Stark and sometimes need to explaine to him what they are talking about.

Lol, no Stark love from you?

Well I do like Stark but it's still nice to see him fallible

I don't think Tony is ever really portrayed as infallible with all the big mistakes he's made over the years due to his character flaws. I mean, yeah, he is a little cocky, but that's just Tony being Tony despite falling on his face all the time.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@jonny_anonymous said:

@wolverine08 said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

I kinda like that almost everybody in the room is smarter that Stark and sometimes need to explaine to him what they are talking about.

Lol, no Stark love from you?

Well I do like Stark but it's still nice to see him fallible

I don't think Tony is ever really portrayed as infallible with all the big mistakes he's made over the years due to his character flaws. I mean, yeah, he is a little cocky, but that's just Tony being Tony despite falling on his face all the time.

Only in his own book, usually him Cap and Thor are infallible when they are around everybody else. It also makes sense that Stark didn't really know what was going on since he's an engineer and Reed and Beast are vastly more experienced at the whole alternate reality stuff.

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Posted by Wolverine08

@wolverine08 said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

@wolverine08 said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

I kinda like that almost everybody in the room is smarter that Stark and sometimes need to explaine to him what they are talking about.

Lol, no Stark love from you?

Well I do like Stark but it's still nice to see him fallible

I don't think Tony is ever really portrayed as infallible with all the big mistakes he's made over the years due to his character flaws. I mean, yeah, he is a little cocky, but that's just Tony being Tony despite falling on his face all the time.

Only in his own book, usually him Cap and Thor are infallible when they are around everybody else. It also makes sense that Stark didn't really know what was going on since he's an engineer and Reed and Beast are vastly more experienced at the whole alternate reality stuff.

True, Thor makes up for it with some good jobbing from time to time. Lol.

Posted by Maddpanda531

Yeah, that jump near the end really confused me. Thought the pages were stuck together or something.

Edited by GrenadeFlow

Hickman needs to stop the off panel fights. We need action

Posted by spacemanspiff85

It seems to me like since the first few issues establishing what Incursions were, not much at all has happened in this book. It's basically just been everyone standing around talking about how bad things are, or watching how bad they are in parallel universes. Given that Incursions were clearly introduced as universes destroying one another, and unstoppable, I really don't see why Hickman feels the need to keep reiterating this.

Posted by Cap10nate

Hickman needs to stop the off panel fights. We need action

I don't mind the off panel fights. I think that the story itself is interesting enough and the stakes are so high that don't involve fighting that the fighting would seem insignificant to the actual plot and be a waste of time.

Edited by MixMastaMicah5

Some insane sci-fi going on in this title, love it!

Edited by SavageDragon

@undeadpoolI think this arc has been terrible, and I'm usually very positive about the books I read. I completely disagree with thee assessment of the art and think this is some of the worst stuff from Bianchi I've seen. He's terrible with faces and this issue is mostly dialogue focused. His surreal style looks muddy and is very inconsistent. Beast looks different in every panel, as does Stark. I used to love this book but the lack of focus on Namor/Tachalla dynamic and the absence of Dr STrange given the huge events whirling around his "deal" left me really underwhelmed. I would give this issue a 2.5 out of 5.

Posted by GrenadeFlow

@cap10nate: I wouldn't mind off panel fights too if this book had any action

Posted by Owie

I thought this was one of the better issues in this arc recently. I think it pushed the story beyond the semi-stagnation it's been in the last couple issues. But I agree the last few pages were confusing. Sure it's a flash forward, and clearly stuff happened off panel, but it wasn't done in a way that helped the story.

Posted by consafo80

I liked it but found it hard to tell what was going on or who was who in some panels.

Posted by nappystr8

I got so confused by the end of this book and the apparent missing pages that I went back into the archives to find the review of this issue to see if it was just my copy that was messed up. I also ended up downloading the digital version to see if it worked any differently, but it doesn't. Whether this is a printing error or just bad storytelling on the part of the creative team, there is no excuse for it.

Also, I love Bianchi's art, and up until this issue, his work on the series has been nothing short of phenomenal, but what I saw on the page in this issue was laughable. It was really really bad work. I don't know if that is Bianchi's fault, Marvel's fault for rushing the book, or the inker's fault, but again, inexcusable.

I thought the story itself, up until the last couple of pages was great, but with all the other flaws I can't see giving this issue anything more than 2.5 stars.