The New Avengers #12
Marvel Comics (December, 2005)
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILER: David Finch
INKER: Danny Miki
COLORIST: Frank D’Armata
LETTERER: Albert Deschesne
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Andy Schmidt
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Apparently I’m missing a few issues, but there’s a nice recap page that Marvel was doing around this time to catch us up. Tracking Silver Samurai to Japan, Captain America calls on Daredevil to help…for some reason I don’t know. I know little of Silver Samurai’s backstory. The way the recap puts it they didn’t know the Hand, a ninja group DD has fought before, was involved. At least not until Ronin, a mysterious hero Daredevil recommends, goes to check things out and also learns the current Madame Hydra, Viper, is also involved. When he’s found he escapes back to Tony’s penthouse in Osaka and the Hand follows. And now today’s issue. Or “yesterday’s”…let’s just move on.
The Avengers (minus Sentry for whatever reason) fight against the Hand. Meanwhile Viper, who has a history with the Silver Samurai, tries to encourage him to use his criminal empire to help fight both the corrupt SHIELD and the corrupting faction within Hydra. When she learns the Hand went after Ronin and is fighting the Avengers she calls them off, but Spider-Woman follows. It’s here we learn that Jessica was given her powers back by Hydra in exchange for intel on current Avengers activities. She allows herself to be zapped by Spider-Woman to cover their association when the other Avengers arrive, just as an armored Silver Samurai makes his appearance.
I like the coloring and that’s all I’ve got. Even then I have a problem with how this being nighttime and ninjas means you can barely see the fight even when the scene isn’t cluttered by the Hand. I get they’re showcasing how many they are and how overwhelmed the Avengers are supposed to be by the flood of numbers but you can’t really make anything out. I don’t know why Wolverine isn’t here, as this seems like his kind of battle and he knows Japan better than the rest of the team (something in one of the other three books he’s on, maybe?) but I also don’t know why the Sentry isn’t here outside of convenience to the story, highlighting the problem with the Sentry in the Marvel universe. I also don’t like Spider-Woman teamed with Hydra and I’m neutral about this whole SHIELD corruption storyline anyway, something the MCU also did in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. (I already had to avoid the whole Civil War version; if I have to deal with Secret Invasion since the Skrulls are there and maybe someone will remember they’re just as much the baddies as the Kree I’m out of there.) I don’t want my heroes in league with the bad guys and I don’t trust Bendis at this point to make a proper payoff. Finally, after having spent the past few weeks with better written Spider-Man dialog the only joke that somewhat worked, and this is a case of throwing things to the wall until something sticks, doesn’t involve his inane ramblings, but but Luke Cage riding the elevator back to the fight while Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride” plays as the muzak. I wouldn’t put it past Tony.
Overall all the problems I’ve seen with this run are still here. The majority of the jokes don’t hit, Spidey’s quipping is on overdrive, and the art is too dark and cluttered to see anything (though there are certain facial expressions I wish I didn’t see). I cannot recommend this book at all. I’m probably coming off harsher than I intend since it’s competent enough to not be called garbage but I’d hardly call it good either.