New Avengers #7 - Marvel (2005)

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This title started off strong. It had consistent, interesting characterizations, good art, funny one-liners and exciting action. New Avengers #7 has none of these things. Or, more accurately, not enough of them. It's like a sequel to a wildly successful movie. The studio tells the director, "Do all that stuff you did in the first movie! That was awesome!" and then the director can't capture the lightning again.

First off, the cover: Luke Cage appears in this issue. Unnamed ninja haXXor on the far right of the cover does not. This is obviously another case of THE MAN tryin' to keep a brother down. Oh, sure, a black man can get his ass kicked all over a comic book (see below) but he's not gonna get his picture up where it belongs. I guess if he had a rack like Spider-Woman's, there, he'd be front and center. Also, the ostensible title character of this story arc, The Sentry, is shoved way over to the left. hmph!

Bendis is usually good at cute dialogue. His characters often say quirky, self-aware things that neatly sum themselves up. In this issue, he comes off as trying too hard. For example, there's a meeting of the (not so) Secret Masters of the Marvel Universe: Dr. Strange, Reed Richards, Charles Xavier, Black Bolt (or "Blackus Boltus" or whatever his real, lame name is), Namor and Tony Stark. This scene (in which the art is atrocious) exists solely for Bendis to get these characters to interact with each other in their own typical fashions.

It doesn't work.

These are all strong, well-known personalities and Bendis falls back on the stereotypes. Unfortunately, he doesn't even use the stereotypes well. There is one almost-funny moment with Reed Richards during this scene but the placement of the panels on those two pages wrecks the pacing.

Speaking of wrecking, The Wrecker shows up in this issue and engages most of the New Avengers in the most boring fight scene ever. I'll sum it up for you:

Wrecker: I have the power of a GOD!

The New Avengers: Shut up! You're stupid! New Avengers, New Assemble!!

Wrecker: #@%$ you! I #@%$ed up the #@%$ing Avengers and #@%$ed up #@%$ing Thor personally! #@%$, #@%$, #@%$!!!!!!!

The New Avengers: Ooof! Argh! All this getting thrown around a subdivision sure does make us angry!

Wrecker: Don't you know who I am? Respect my crowbar!

The New Avengers: Oof! Argh!

Lather, rinse, repeat.

So this Al Cowlings of the supervillain set gets his magic crowbar* back and spends seven pages knocking each of the New Avengers several blocks away one at a time. He gets to do this because the assembled superheroes come at him like extras in an old kung-fu movie instead of using anything resembling tactics. Not to get all comics geek on this but Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Spider-Woman have all fought in teams before and each of them has years of super-powered combat experience. They know the power of tactics and they have been portrayed in earlier issues of this very comic as able and willing to effectively team up on someone. They played this one stupid because Bendis didn't want the fight to be over yet. The worst part is that The Wrecker defeats the heroes by using the same damn move over and over.

After the crappy fight (with more bad art, by the way) we get four pages of "Oooo, isn't this thing with The Sentry mysterious?" which could have been done in one or two. The last two panels of this issue are straight out of the Bad Star Trek Episode Playbook.

Neither of the attempted cliffhangers makes me want to pick up the next issue. Maybe I won't.

*"Magic Crowbar" Insert euphemism here.

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