New Avengers #1 - 'Possession' - Bendis, Immonen, Von Grawbadger and Martin
Story - Even as a big fan of Bendis' Avengers, I must admit I was kind of confused about the point behind this series. I mean, Bendis was already writing one heroic Avengers book, and the line-up of this book was pretty much exactly the same as Avengers. Why do we need New as well? When Bendis wrote Mighty and New together, it made sense to have 2 books, the same for New and Dark. But this... it seemed kind of arbitrary, an excuse to have Bendis write all his favourites.
And it appears that that's just what New Avengers volume 2 is. But on the basis of this issue, I don't really mind. This was an immensely enjoyable first issue, with many great character moments and humour. Maybe this book doesn't have a point, but what actually does in this life? As long as you enjoy it, it doesn't matter if it's pointless.
The main reason for this team seems to be that Luke Cage is unwilling to do take orders, and therefore Steve Rogers and Tony Stark let him pick his own team and move into Avengers Mansion. This may sound silly and petty of Cage, but it makes sense, his anti-authoritarian streak has been a huge driving force in New Avengers since #22, and if it just went away now, it wouldn't make sense. We also get some levity from Tony Stark's give me a dollar bit, and even Steve Rogers gets a joke in (you can't have Iron Man or Thor).
So Luke picks his bestest buddies, and they go to the Mansion, but hold on a minute! Victoria Bloody Hand is there! She worked for Osborn! Kill her! But of course, anyone who read Dark Avengers knows that Hand isn't all bad, and as such, she becomes the SHIELD liaison between the NA and Steve Rogers. I really like Hand as a character, and I'm glad to see she hasn't disappeared with the fall of Norman.
The main addition to the team in this issue (everyone else is basically the same as in the last issue of the previous volume, although Iron Fist is back and Spider-Woman is gone) is the Thing. That's right, the ever lovin' etc Thing. It's always weird seeing members of the FF outside of that group, but I think of anyone, Ben Grimm works the best, he couldn't have helmed a team-up book for so long if he didn't. I look forward to seeing what Ben contributes to the team.
The magical nature of the villain has proved troublesome for some, but I don't really mind, Bendis has handled magic very well throughout his run, and I'm of the opinion that if you try and explain it, it's not magic anymore. The nature of magic is that random shit happens, get over it, and accept that strange demons are possessing Hellstrom and Strange. Lie back and think of England.
Overall, this was a really fun start to this new volume, the main Avengers book may be all about the Earth-shattering threats, but this book seems to be about a group of heroes hanging out and having fun as well as the Earth-shattering, and it's the kind of book I can get behind. Maybe it didn't need a new #1, maybe it doesn't need to exist at all, but hey, comics don't need to exist, and we still love 'em. If you're a fan what Bendis did in 64 previous issues of New Avengers, this is the same book, but with a fresh lick of paint, get in there!
Art - I think Stuart Immonen may be one of my favourite comics artists of all time, he's just bloody amazing, he draws everything perfectly, he's flawless. When I close my eyes and think of Marvel Comics, I see his art. Just the best.
Best Line - 'Multitasking. It's my mutant power. Don't tell anybody'