Comic Vine Review

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New Avengers #16 - .NOW A Perfect World Review

4

Of the millions of Earths to experience Incursions, this one may be the strangest of them all. Yet somehow also...familiar.

The Good

In this issue we get to see Namor and Black Panther share the same room, without the rest of the Illuminati, and not try to kill one another. They’re exchanging notes on what, if anything, can be done to prevent further incursions or, as Namor puts it, new ways to destroy worlds. Panther, however, has found something far more novel. The rest of the issue concerns itself with Earth 4,290,001, inhabited by a very familiar (though not legally actionable) “Great Society,” who rose to prominence after routing this Earth’s version of the Kree/Skrull War, which left the rest of Earth’s heroes decimated. Jonathan Hickman takes a break from the Earth we know and really focuses on this one, quickly establishing it and immediately showing that they, most definitely, do things differently from ours and one of the most interesting, even moving, of these things is a total reversal of Reed Richards and Black Swan’s grim refrain “Everything dies” to the far more optimistic, but somehow still morose in its own way “Everything lives.” The fact that such a wonderful sentiment can mean so many, often contradictory, things is a testament to Hickman’s brilliant, quick characterization and world-building.

Rags Morales swoops in, lending his ultra-expressive linework to an issue that badly needs exactly that. The eyes Morales draws, in particular, might not BE larger-than-average, but somehow they FEEL that way with how they communicate incredibly nuanced emotion with every slightest change. The level of detail and design work on characters we may never see again is also nothing to scoff at and Frank Martin’s colors bring those new characters to beautiful, vibrant life. This issue has some incredible contrasts from near-blinding brightness to morbid, dramatic darkness seamlessly and fluidly without breaking the pace nor negating the setting.

The Bad

Like Hickman's Avengers before it, this is a TERRIBLE jumping-on point. We’re far too deep into concepts like Incursions, Mapmakers, Black Priests and Ivory Kings as well as Bridges/Mirrors and multidimensional travel for ANYone to do anything but go back much, much further than this if they’re going to jump on. I’ve been along for the ride many, many times on one of Hickman’s high-concept sci-fi notions, but I COMPLETELY lost the thread of just what was going on by issue’s end. When T’Challa is describing the events of this distant Earth to Namor, the visuals we get are of well-known Marvel U events that play out differently, but he doesn’t deign to identify who is who, using their new names, but using them somewhat arbitrarily, making following exactly who he’s talking about tricky, but that pales in comparison to the ending which I THINK I understood, and which will no doubt be expanded upon in later issues, but for now remains bordering on baffling.

The Verdict

Again, there have been times when Hickman has thrown us some pretty severe curveballs, this one just happen to swoop inward and strike me square in the forehead. Now that I’ve exhausted the extent of my baseball metaphor, I’ll just say that I still have faith in this all making sense in the end, but at this point there are too many loose threads (many of which are created by this issue alone) to assume everything will work out. The writing and art are still fascinating, and I imagine I’ll look back on this issue in the coming months and go “OOOOOOOOOH, THAT’S what that was!” and so I still highly recommend this title.

29 Comments
Posted by Saren

Worth noting (at least in a smirk-worthy sense) that Earth-4290001 is 42 + 9 + 1.

Moderator
Edited by OmgOmgWtfWtf

Sometimes Hickman tries too hard in my honest opinion.

Posted by Saren

Sometimes Hickman tries too hard in my honest opinion.

Given that he named the Batman analogue "Wayne" and the Doctor Fate analogue is very obviously just wearing a differently colored Helm of Fate, one could accuse of him not trying at all.

Moderator
Posted by Maddpanda531

@saren: Ohmygod. You're right and that's fantastic.

Edited by TheManInTheShoe

Been following this series but it's been hard. Not always sure what's happening.

Posted by Wolverine08

We need some more Black Panther action. Show me what the King of the Dead hype is for.

Online
Posted by OmgOmgWtfWtf

@saren:

That too, but I was more speaking about the convoluted plot. Perhaps I'm not intelligent enough to understand it, but I don't think it was necessary to include things like Mapmakers, Black Swans, etc. The cosmic hierarchy of Marvel is already confusing as it is.

Edited by LiveForever

Jon Hickman probably put a few too many DC analogues in here, yeah? After the 5th or 6th it started to get absurd.

This is a top book for me, even when confused, but that was all a bit much.

Posted by Saren

@saren:

That too, but I was more speaking about the convoluted plot. Perhaps I'm not intelligent enough to understand it, but I don't think it was necessary to include things like Mapmakers, Black Swans, etc. The cosmic hierarchy of Marvel is already confusing as it is.

You needn't worry, there's not really much to understand. Hickman's just spent 16 issues setting up the foundation for a payoff that would need to absolutely gigantic to justify this much rambling.

Moderator
Posted by Wolverine08

@omgomgwtfwtf:

Perhaps I'm not intelligent enough to understand it

You can't comprehend Hickman's genius simpleton!

Online
Edited by brinkthemoviemyfavoritemovie

This series is garbage and Hickman is a hack writer. Sure, just vomit out a bunch of made-up science-y words and, bam, there you go, a story that looks complex on the surface but is actually just all nonsense.

Edited by OmgOmgWtfWtf

You can't comprehend Hickman's genius simpleton!

Posted by Wolverine08
Online
Edited by OmgOmgWtfWtf
Posted by Overlander

I read this review and I think the issue is plagued with baffling storytelling only redeemed by spectacular art, but it gets 4 stars. I'm not saying the review is wrong, especially as Corey shows his faith in Hickman's plotting and goes out of his way to remind us this isn't the first Hickman rodeo Corey's been on, but the score doesn't fit the tone of the review.
I was expecting a two- or a three-star score, but Corey understands you just can't do that to Hickman in the middle of his run.

Posted by caladbolglight

Bland. This whole series has gotten too weird. Maybe I just don't get it, but this whole "incursion" thing seems to be a lame excuse to cash in on time-travel/clone/alternate future ridiculousness.

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

Something I never understood was why Marvel has to find a way to "mention" DC every week. It's usually in Deadpool but this week Hickman just painted it all over this issue that you could only not notice it in your sleep. I originally loved this series but at this point, I'm just so confused at what he's building towards. Mapmakers, Creators, Black Swans, Black Crowns, whatever they're called, I don't understand it anymore. The conclusion is just going to be a "WTF?", I can tell. I just want my old New Avengers back now :(

Posted by Wolverine08

Something I never understood was why Marvel has to find a way to "mention" DC every week. It's usually in Deadpool but this week Hickman just painted it all over this issue that you could only not notice it in your sleep. I originally loved this series but at this point, I'm just so confused at what he's building towards. Mapmakers, Creators, Black Swans, Black Crowns, whatever they're called, I don't understand it anymore. The conclusion is just going to be a "WTF?", I can tell. I just want my old New Avengers back now :(

Stay strong for Black Panther!

Online
Edited by ArturoCalaKayVee

@arturocalakayvee said:

Something I never understood was why Marvel has to find a way to "mention" DC every week. It's usually in Deadpool but this week Hickman just painted it all over this issue that you could only not notice it in your sleep. I originally loved this series but at this point, I'm just so confused at what he's building towards. Mapmakers, Creators, Black Swans, Black Crowns, whatever they're called, I don't understand it anymore. The conclusion is just going to be a "WTF?", I can tell. I just want my old New Avengers back now :(

Stay strong for Black Panther!

Bring back the Bendis version of New Avengers and I'll be glad to give Black Panther a spot on the team!

Posted by Wolverine08

@wolverine08 said:

@arturocalakayvee said:

Something I never understood was why Marvel has to find a way to "mention" DC every week. It's usually in Deadpool but this week Hickman just painted it all over this issue that you could only not notice it in your sleep. I originally loved this series but at this point, I'm just so confused at what he's building towards. Mapmakers, Creators, Black Swans, Black Crowns, whatever they're called, I don't understand it anymore. The conclusion is just going to be a "WTF?", I can tell. I just want my old New Avengers back now :(

Stay strong for Black Panther!

Bring back the Bendis version of New Avengers and I'll be glad to give Black Panther a spot on the team!

Yeah, Bendis' New Avengers was pretty good. Way more interpersonal than Hickman's New Avengers for one.

Online
Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

@arturocalakayvee said:

@wolverine08 said:

@arturocalakayvee said:

Something I never understood was why Marvel has to find a way to "mention" DC every week. It's usually in Deadpool but this week Hickman just painted it all over this issue that you could only not notice it in your sleep. I originally loved this series but at this point, I'm just so confused at what he's building towards. Mapmakers, Creators, Black Swans, Black Crowns, whatever they're called, I don't understand it anymore. The conclusion is just going to be a "WTF?", I can tell. I just want my old New Avengers back now :(

Stay strong for Black Panther!

Bring back the Bendis version of New Avengers and I'll be glad to give Black Panther a spot on the team!

Yeah, Bendis' New Avengers was pretty good. Way more interpersonal than Hickman's New Avengers for one.

I think once the Illuminati becomes exposed (which will probably happen during Original Sin) they'll go back to something similar.

Posted by Cuboid

@saren said:

@omgomgwtfwtf said:

@saren:

That too, but I was more speaking about the convoluted plot. Perhaps I'm not intelligent enough to understand it, but I don't think it was necessary to include things like Mapmakers, Black Swans, etc. The cosmic hierarchy of Marvel is already confusing as it is.

You needn't worry, there's not really much to understand. Hickman's just spent 16 issues setting up the foundation for a payoff that would need to absolutely gigantic to justify this much rambling.

Yeah, I don't really feel this series has gone anywhere in quite awhile. Every issue seems more or less the same to me - the Illuminati sitting around, worrying about the incursions, and now watching other incursions happen. I'm just waiting for something to actually happen.

Posted by hippiehop

I agree that this incursion storyline has been dragging on for far too long. I have been completely bored by Hickman's Avengers, but I had high hopes because I loved his FF stuff. Let's face it he is basically still writing FF with this book since it has mostly been about Black Bolt, Namor and the Black Panther, and this incursion thing is a Reed Richards type of situation too. I liked some of the stuff with the war between Wakanda and Atlantis, it was the only time there was actual any type of personal interactions with the characters in this storyline. The rest of it seems like metaphysical gibberish to me.

I have no interest in how this story ends or really have any clue who the villain is or what the stakes are. I mean it's not like the Marvel U is going to be destroyed. And even if it is, there will probably be some more interesting storylines than this.

I love the idea of the Illuminati being the roster of the New Avengers book. But, art aside, it has not wow'ed me and I feel like there is no end to this story in sight. It is almost as bad as Mighty Avengers/X-Force.

Edited by sparty-dbq

Hey, Illuminati:

Posted by GrenadeFlow

@wolverine08 said:

@arturocalakayvee said:

Something I never understood was why Marvel has to find a way to "mention" DC every week. It's usually in Deadpool but this week Hickman just painted it all over this issue that you could only not notice it in your sleep. I originally loved this series but at this point, I'm just so confused at what he's building towards. Mapmakers, Creators, Black Swans, Black Crowns, whatever they're called, I don't understand it anymore. The conclusion is just going to be a "WTF?", I can tell. I just want my old New Avengers back now :(

Stay strong for Black Panther!

Bring back the Bendis version of New Avengers and I'll be glad to give Black Panther a spot on the team!

Bendis's New Avengers got boring after Civil War

I'll take this version over that any day of the week

Posted by DatHomieSilverSurfer

Man, I am loving this stuff. The writing is great, and I love all these different universes we're getting a peak at. It's almost a replacement for Exiles, but with an emphasis on more famous characters. I hope they don't cancel/ rearrange the roster any time soon, I love seeing morally ambiguous teams like this in contrast to people like Cap with their strict black and white moral code.

Edited by TDK_1997

I liked this issue a lot but I don't know why Hickman is trying so hard to do things that overcomplicate things and are not better for the story at all.But this is the Hickman we all know.

Posted by CTG

Relieved to hear I'm not the only who gets completely lost during some issues of this series.