New Avengers #22 (Marvel)

CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – Just How Dark Can The Avengers Get?
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

New Avengers has just come off one of their best story lines since the book re-launched, facing off against the Great Society, an alternate Earth super team that’s an obvious take on DC’s Justice League. Not only was it great to read essentially an Avengers vs. Justice League fight, but we also got a fantastic Dr. Strange focused story as well, all happening during the ongoing incursions that have been threatening the earth since the first issue (an incursion being when Earths from parallel universes start to occupy the same space, one must be destroyed to avoid the conflict or both will die anyway). Issue twenty-two looks at the ramifications of those last few issues showing us how the Illuminati are starting to break apart as a team, while writer Jonathan Hickman takes this book into darker and darker territory.

The Avengers have been faced with the difficult task of destroying alternate earths, in an extreme and unfortunate case of either “us or them”. The incursions and subsequent destruction of these earths are beginning to take their toll amongst the team, and the last one is the most difficult. This issue is basically the fallout from the last incursion showing how both Namor and Black Panther cope with the tragedy, and it isn’t pretty. Throughout this series Hickman has showed how these Avengers/Illuminati have ridden the line between hero and villain as they have to constantly save their earth at the expense of another. We see just how far Namor will go in order to save his people and if you’re a fan of Namor, it’ll be tough to see him portrayed the way that he is in this issue. It’s an emotional story that makes you wonder just how this group comes back from something like this, and leaves the future of Namor’s character in question.

As emotional as the story is, the art doesn’t match the tone. Artist Kev Walker can’t seem to get the facial expressions to match the situation and show the deep emotion needed for the scenes, and his characters are just a bit too stiff in the few action scenes that there are. It’s an odd choice to have Walker doing this type of story, making you miss previous artist Valerio Schiti’s work even more. The coloring is strong, but still can’t make up for what I felt was a mismatch in art style.

New Avengers is becoming a book where you continuously question the heroic nature of the characters involved. The story continues to be epic in scope with ramifications that will last long after this story concludes. Although this issue is a calm after the storm, it still moves the story forward, while also moving this group of characters further apart. Although the art doesn’t do the serious nature of the story justice, this issue is still a must read to see how these characters cope with such difficult and emotional choices, as well as seeing how the Illuminati are slowly breaking apart.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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