Well, this coincides perfectly with the delivery of my Kindle Fire, and thus my reentry into reading comics.
Avengers #19 Review by Jude Terror
It's been a while since I've read a comic. Since just before Fear Itself, started, actually, so the first thing I noticed here is that John Romita Jr. is no longer doing the art. Thank god for that. JRJR's art was the worst thing about Avengers before. It was borderline unreadable because of it, despite the genius of The Great One's writing.
I'm glad I started back on Avengers with this issue, as it appears to be a transition issue and a one-off, as Captain America is putting together a new team of Avengers in the wake of Fear Itself. Lots of story beats are revealed nicely here - Norman Osborn has escaped from prison, Bucky and Thor are no longer on the team, a new team is being put together for what is apparently a needed public image improvement, Tony and Steve are getting along well, and Spider-Man and Wolverine are off the team. Some are revealed a little more clumsily though, like the fact that Tony's been working on rebuilding the vision, and has apparently succeeded. I don't know if this was alluded to in previous comics, but judging by the sheer volume of clumsy explanation, I have to assume not.
The story itself was very good for a jumping on point issue. It covered a lot of ground, explained the status quo, defined some of the main characters (Clint, Tony, and Steve were all introduced to readers and their defining traits were on display), and ended on a cliffhanger (Norman Osborn is not only free, but he's going public!). There were some drawbacks. The Great One's dialog, much parodied, works well most of the time to make characters seem like real people, but at times (like when Storm uses it), it can be jarring. I will say though that Bendis does a great job here of making a lapsed reader feel comfortable (by contrast, it took me four issues of Prelude to Schism and two of Schism before I felt comfortable with the X-Men again last night), pulling me right into their story with just the right balance of questions about what I missed without confusion over continuity.
Art: 7/10 +2 Bonus for not being JRJR