The New Avengers Annual #1
Marvel Comics (June, 2006)
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILER: Olivier Caipel
INKERS: Drew Geraci, Drew Hennessy, John Livesay, Rick Magyar, Danny Miki, Mark Morales, Mike Perkins, & Tim Townsend
COLORISTS: Jane Chung, Richard Isanove, & Jose Villarrubia
LETTERER: Albert Deschesne
PRODUCTION: Kate Levin
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Andy Schmidt
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Jessica finally agrees to marry Luke Cage. However, wedding plans are put on hold when Hydra and AIM turn Yelena Belova, the former replacement Black Widow, into a new form of Adaptoid. She starts kicking the crud out of the Avengers until Spider-Man comes up with a plan to have Tony send a squad of Iron Man armors after her. However, her undoing is taking Sentry’s powers, because she also gets her own version of the Void. Hydra activates her destruct switch before she can tell them who was involved. The wedding, a rarity for superhero weddings not involving secret identities, goes off without a hitch.
What they got right: Bendis actually remembered Spider-Man is smart. He’s also not nearly as jokey as Bendis usually forces on him, but is Peter’s usual jokey level. The adaptoided Yelena is a good threat for an annual and the Void was used well as her undoing. All the stuff surrounding the wedding and the baby were cute enough. It was nice to see Stan Lee as the minister.
What they got wrong: I still don’t like the annoying panel layout. I didn’t know the mayor at this point in the Marvel universe had an issue with superheroes all around New York. I don’t know what Luke is wearing but it isn’t a tux and feels like a stereotype of something that isn’t Luke Cage, like Luke’s swearing. The argument between Iron Man and Spider-Woman felt a bit forced into the story.
Recommendation: I’m a bit biased since I’m not a fan of Bendis’s work but it wasn’t a bad story overall. It still weak but basically I find it hard to recommend his run at all. At least this one wasn’t screwed up like the last storyline, where I actually thought it would be good only to fall apart in the middle. This one might be worth a read, if only because Bendis actually did a story in one issue without his over-decompression. He can be a good writer when he has limits and actually sticks to them.