Comic Book Review: ‘New Avengers: End Times’

Posted Monday, December 3rd, 2012 07:19 pm GMT -4 by

By now, we’ve seen Brian Michael Bendis transition from Avengers guy, to X-Men guy since ‘All-New X-Men’ is now two issues in and we got to read his farewell address in ‘Avengers’ #34. However, there was still one last book left in the run for the longest consecutive writer of The Avengers in history. While the focus was firmly placed on the main Avengers title, Bendis still had to wrap up his duties on ‘New Avengers’ as well. So in this review, I’ll be doing something a little different than usual. Here I’ll be reviewing the whole End Times storyline contained in ‘New Avengers’ issues #31-34.

In ‘Avengers’, ‘End Times’ was a light story about coming home for The Wasp and, to a lesser degree, Wonder Man. In ‘New Avengers’, the story was a much darker one. It began with Victoria Hand, the team’s liaison to Captain America and the rest of the Avengers, taking out some of the most powerful sorcerers in the Marvel Universe. It turned out that Miss Hand was possessed by Daniel Drumm, the brother of the fallen Brother Voodoo who was looking to get revenge on Doctor Stephen Strange, the man he blamed for his brother’s death. Using the doctor’s teammates and friends against him, the malicious spirit aimed to defame the former Sorcerer Supreme’s name and eliminate him entirely.

Though I enjoyed seeing Janet Van Dyne return in ‘Avengers’, I think that ‘End Times’ had a better story in ‘New Avengers’. The threat seemed larger, the action was better, and I even found myself caring about the outcome more as the story progressed. Also, I found the theme of coming home remain prevalent in this book as it did in the other Bendis-penned series, especially for Doctor Strange and Luke Cage. Though the end of this series may have marked the end of Cage’s run with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, I’m very much in favor of what’s to come next for him, his family, and Squirrel Girl, Earth’s Mightiest Nanny. As long as he doesn’t go back to the yellow shirt and tiara, I’m behind Luke Cage 100% in his upcoming business venture. Also, ‘Squirrel Girl, Earth’s Mightiest Nanny’ should totally be a limited series. You’re welcome, Marvel.

From ‘New Avengers’ #33

 

In the art department, Bendis assembled quite the line-up of artists to work on his last ‘New Avengers’ story. Michael Gaydos, Carlos Pacheco, Michael Avon Oeming, and Mike Deodato, plus all the jam artists in the final issue, all did a great job bringing this story to life. Out of the four regular artists, I think liked Oeming’s issue the best. His more cartoony style was really interesting and unique. While reading it, I couldn’t help but think that I’d love to see an animated Marvel show done in this style. I want to see this guy on a regular series sooner rather than later.

Overall, the final run for the New Avengers under Brian Michael Bendis was a hit. Dr. Strange has been restored to his former glory, something that he truly deserves despite him thinking the contrary for so long. With an exciting conclusion like that, I’m very interested to see where Jonathan Hickman takes the team next.

Final Score:

 

 

NEW AVENGERS #31-34

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS

Art by MIKE DEODATO, MICHAEL GAYDOS, CARLOS PACHECO, MICHAEL AVON OEMING, ROGER MARTINEZ, CAM SMITH, SCOTT HANNA, & RAIN BEREDO

Cover by MIKE DEODATO & RAIN BEREDO

  • Tom LaSusa

    Great review, Ben.

    As a long time fan of Doctor Strange, I find myself having mixed feelings about this new chapter in the character’s life. But then, I had mixed feelings about the last one as well.

    When I first read that Strange was relinquishing the mantle of “Sorcerer Supreme,” I was pretty bummed — after all, that’s who he is. At the same time, I think most comic fans have come to acknowledge that the character had become a Dues Ex Machina for many stories: His limitless powers made it hard to insert him into a plot. After all, how formidable is your foe really when the guy standing on your left can wave his hands, says some weird words and turn him into dust?

    So as time progressed, I began to appreciate this slightly de-powered Stephen Strange who was now valiantly fighting alongside the Avengers (and the Defenders). Of course anyone that didn’t think eventually he would reclaim the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme was kidding themselves. With whispers of a movie somewhere in the near future, how could it be any other way?

    So when Ancient One returned the Eye to Stephen at the culmination of the story, I found myself excited and concerned. Strange is once again rightfully the Sorcerer Supreme — but with that title comes the massive power. Obviously he cannot be part of a regular superhero team anymore. So what does this mean for the character? Back to Dues Ex Machina status? I certainly hope not. Stephen Strange is too amazing and enigmatic a character to not be involved in a regular series of some sort.

    Cheers
    T