Aug 022014

Alrighty, so this here’s a comic review. Err, sorry, I mean graphic novel *cough*bullshit*cough* review. A few days ago, New Avengers #21 dropped. It was one of the most anticipated comic issues for me in quite some time. Landon read #19 or #20 and pointed me to ‘em. I read ‘em, liked ‘em and backtracked to the start of the current arc. Welp, in comes #21. I got it, I read it and now I’mma gonna write about it.

But first, a few preambles. After all, Mecha Guignol’s primarily an anime site. So, I’m gonna talk on who the New Avengers are, what’s the current arc’s premise is and why I’m reviewing this issue.

The New Avengers are basically the Illuminati. They consist of authority figures from the Marvel superhero roster. Guys like Tony Stark aka Ironman, a leader in industry. Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic, a leader in science. Namor aka the Sub-Mariner and T’challa aka Black Panther, both of whom are kings of their own nations. And some other guys, like Doctor Strange.

The premise of this arc is that on an alternate dimension Earth, something happened which destroyed said dimension. This created a vacuum, sucking in the entire multiverse, with Earth as the focal point. When two universes collide, they’re both destroyed, UNLESS the Earth of one of said universes is destroyed first. In that case, both universes survive, minus one Earth.

The New Avengers are arbitrarily wannabe grimdark because… Marvel. So they create bombs that can blow up any Earth they end up encountering. But as it so happens, the Earth they’re about to face are occupied by Justice League wannabes called the Great Society, complete with a Batman wannabe named Wayne. For the last 4 or 5 issues, we’ve seen this Great Society in action and the New Avengers lamenting that they’re no longer as pure as these Great Society types.

Finally, we get the big meeting between these two groups. But as with all superhero crossovers, they end up fighting because like most Batman wannabes who are part of a Justice League wannabe, this Wayne fellow is a dick. And Namor is also a dick because… Namor. So the big showdown finally happens.

The “smart” guys on the Marvel side who could have called for a peaceful resolution, are conveniently knocked out before the fight really starts. Surprisingly, the Great Society hold their own and gradually get the advantage. Which then prompts Doctor Strange to end the issue on a cliffhanger by becoming Cthulhu. That was in New Avengers #20.

So now we come to New Avengers #21. Why do I wanna review this? Because I’ve just Googled “New Avengers 21 review” and the results returned are all hailing it as awesome and brilliant and all that good jazz.

It isn’t.

New Avengers #21 is horrible. Not HORRIBLE horrible but LAAAAAAME horrible.

Doctor Cthulhu wipes out the entire Great Society in 2 (and a half) pages. Somehow he just grabs the Flash wannabe and kills her. Then everyone else, including Batman. They’re all just reduced to dust. Only the fake Superman survived, albeit he’s a dried up husk who can’t do much other than to speak.

So the New Avengers won and now it’s time for them to press the button, destroying fake DC Earth. All of them chicken out. T’challa decides to step up. He picks up the detonator and the ghosts of his ancestors instantly become dicks to him. Not because he’s about to commit an atrocity but because he’s literally, and I mean LITERALLY, hasn’t pressed the button in the one second since he took the detonator. Here’s proof:

Anyways, they’re being dicks to him, which results in some reverse psychology. He argues back at them that it’s wrong for him to blow up a planet and they continue being dicks to him, prompting him to cry.

Meanwhile, I gotta wonder what the other Avengers are thinking. Remember, these are ghosts talking to T’challa. So presumably he’s the only one who can hear or see them. I’d imagine the other New Avengers thinking to themselves “Look man, okay, I couldn’t press the button either. But I didn’t have to cry about it. Draaaaaaaaaaaaaama queen!”.

Seeing T’challa wuss out, Namor grabs the detonator, spouts some goth poetry and err, somehow this presumably activates the bomb. Because the detonator doesn’t actually have any buttons to press y’see. So I’m gonna assume it works on goth poetry or Vampire Diaries fanfiction.

Incidentally, this bomb is supposed to blow up the planet in an instant. But a) the New Avengers are still on fake DC earth and b) if you examine where Namor was standing (next to a pyramid) and where he’s standing in the final page (a couple miles away from a pyramid), then it seems this bomb is the worst planet destroying bomb ever. All it actually seems to blow up is a rock that’s magically appeared above Namor. I realize that maybe said rock represents the fake DC planet, but I point out again that they’re all STILL ON the fake DC Earth.


So in conclusion, nitpicking aside, this issue’s a major letdown. Yes yes, it has some nice angsty dialogue. But it’s the kind of DEEP introspection that a 14 year old would have. And while I understand that yeah, maybe that’s the target audience, the point is, they built up the Great Society for however many months and then just brushed ‘em aside. And then the New Avengers wuss out of doing what they aimed to do for the sole purpose of appealing to 14 year old goths.

If this were a standalone or the second part of a 2-issue short, with the Great Society vs New Avengers angle outright not involved, I’d be fine with it. But as it is, it’s a failure in delivering what it promised. It cops out for every character except Namor, of whom there is no surprise that he’d be the one to cross the line. Like, if they didn’t show every other character copping out, then there’d be ambiguity as to whether they would have. But no, #21 specifically shows everyone wussing out. Hell, even the whole Doctor Strange has crossed a line angle is just brushed aside along with the Great Society.

So in conclusion, New Avengers #21 suuuuucks. Not because it’s a bad issue in and of itself, but taken as a whole, it’s just a big pile of disappointment and crying. Soooo much crying. Like, Kenshiro levels of crying, but not cool. Like, if we replace Kenshiro with actor Paul Reiser.

Not only should you give New Avengers #21 a miss, you should just avoid #18 up to #20 as well. Just skip this arc entirely, because the payoff sucks.

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