It is going to be hard to talk about this issue of New Avengers without mentioning a pretty big spoiler. I have a definite opinion on the “big” event of the issue, including the callback to Identity Crisis and my problems with heroes acting like this. I’m not sure I agree with Jonathan Hickman that out of all the “leader” types in the Marvel U, only Cap is a straight arrow.
Plenty of other stuff happens leading up to the big moment. Beast is recruited into the Illuminati, taking the place of the deceased Professor X. Beast is a good fit, and he adds some nice color to the panels. His redesign is not that jarring when drawn by Steve Epting.
Black Panther is still a mover and shaker in this title, but this is a lot more of an ensemble book than the first issue. I hoped for more of a focus on T’Challa, but perhaps that is not meant to be. I can hope though; Epting’s Panther is a revelation, and I’d love to see him in more action!
Action is a key point for me in a lot of Hickman’s stories. It seems like Hickman has a fair amount of action, but it never has the same weight as in other comics. I mean, this issue has a reformed Infinity Gauntlet repel the invasion of an alternate Earth. That’s big time! But it feels like it just sort of happens in a detached way, something I’ve found in other Hickman work.
Epting brings a lot of style to the proceedings, but I think the clinical approach of the leads is wasting his talents. Sooner or later, Epting needs to be able to cut loose and draw some people punching.
But that shocking ending kept me thinking about this book for awhile. That deserves a bump in the rating.