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The New Avengers

I had seen the New Avengers comic title on the rack at a couple stores over the past couple of years, and the line up intrigued me: Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, and Iron Man. I never really could get into the old Avengers stories because the range of power levels — from Thor, a god, to Wasp, a miniature with stinging zaps — just made no sense to be on a team together. But this new line up seemed better balanced.

While browsing at a big book store, I found the first compilation of the New Avengers, Breakout: issues #1 through #6. I picked this book up and read it that night. I loved the writing, I loved the dialog, the characterization, the personality interactions, the action, and the story.

The only real problem I had with this story was how Spider-Man continued to fight and web-swing with a broken arm for two days.

So I bought a new compilation of this title each week: The Sentry (issues #7-10), Secrets & Lies (#11-15), The Collective (#16-20), and just this week, Civil War (#21-25).

I was surprised to like and enjoy The Sentry character and story. I really don’t care much for supreme-power-level characters, like Superman in DC comics. But The Sentry’s personality problem and back story (or lack thereof) are very interesting — a cool twist on how to bring in a new super hero to a fictional world with an already crowded and chronicled history.

With The Collective storyline, though, the New Avengers story started down a path that’s come to annoy me over the years — the in-depth crossover. Where the previous New Avengers books followed each after the previous, The Collective takes up the New Avengers story after a long and complicated story in other books: The House of M. Fortunately, though, the story in these issues #16-20 is relatively self contained, starting and ending with distinct points that don’t require knowledge of the other story.

But then the New Avengers Civil War story takes the crossover problem to the next level and starts the story already in the deep end. In media res is a legitimate storytelling method, but the author(s) should go back at some point and show what’s going on. This book doesn’t really do that. There’s an introductory text telling the reader what has happened before the first page, but this is a comic book — I want to see what happens, not be told what happened.

From the introductory text, it seems that some very strong characterization happened in the part of the story not covered in these books. And to make it worse, this book doesn’t tell the reader (me) where to find the part of the story I want to see. What title(s) is the story in? Dammit, it’s frustrating.


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