The New Avengers #20
Marvel Comics (August, 2006)
“The Collective” part 4
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILER: Mike Deodato, JR
INKER: Joe Pinentel
COLORISTS: Dave Stewart & Richard Isanove
LETTERER: Albert Deschesne
PRODUCTION: Brad Johansen
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
The collective being that has taken over Michael due to his mutant power has a name: Xorn. (I only know that it’s important in X-Men lore, not really the specifics.) It has come for Magneto, to use him to create a war on the humans and insisting he’s the only one who can. The now powerless Magneto isn’t really happy about this and wants the heroes and SHIELD to kill him first. Instead Iron Man comes up with a plan to stop him anyway, including the use of SHIELD earthquake-maker Daisy Johnson (who wants the name Quake if she gets to join the Avengers) to expel Xorn from Magneto and send it into the sun. Michael has some remaining energy and Maria Hill offers to help him control his new power.
What they got right: Look, whatever problem I have with Bendis’s writing and the stuff coming up, I believe in giving credit where it’s due when someone does something right. This is actually a good finale to the story. Maria Hill chooses not to nuke the Avengers and her own people and trusts them to stop Xorn, against the President’s orders. So she does have a good side. The scene where Xorn creates zombie mutants is appropriately creepy as hell, and the colorist gets some credit for that as much as the artists. (Colorists to me are part of the art team, but for once the limited use of sunlight in this series worked to their benefit.) You can sense Magneto’s fear about being taken over by Xorn and following his path.
What they got wrong: Why he’s so afraid isn’t really followed up on. We’re just supposed to know who Xorn is and frankly I don’t. Daisy should get to become Quake (which I think she does eventually because she did end up with that identity in the Marvel Rising cartoon). I mean at least tell her she has superhero potential like you did Michael. Or maybe she’s just really cute and I’m not looking at this from the right angle, but despite causing an earthquake because some guy tried to make small talk with her at the park I like her. Or at least I see her character potential.
Recommendation: While I have problems with the later issues of this arc, and all the weird panel placement, which did continue in this issue and still bugs me, overall it wasn’t a bad story. It might be worth looking up, which I wish I could say about the whole run but I think this is where I stopped. Then again, we were coming up on Civil War, a storyline I know I wanted nothing to do with so that could be to blame as well.