The New Avengers #8 review

Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are in a restaurant, on their first date. Given that they’ve been wed awhile, this is a little surprising, but hey, they’re Avengers – busy people. The subject turns to whether Jess – who’s spent the last several years as a private detective while trying to ignore her super-powers – is going to return to regular superheroing after being with the Avengers for awhile.

Luke reckons she’s ready, and suggests Jess puts her old name, Jewel, in mothballs and calls herself Power Woman, to match his one-time Power Man monicker. Jess explains that while she’s gotten over her former reluctance to be a costumed crimefighter, she’s now worried that she’ll get killed and leave their baby, Danielle, motherless.

Before the conversation can conclude, fellow Avenger Ms Marvel crashes to Earth in the street outside, on the end of an explosive projectile being ridden by Dr Doom. The three heroes take Doom out before the arrival of their team-mates, including the Thing, who uses his experience battling the lord of Latveria to properly defuse the situation.

Back at Avengers Mansion, Jess gives Luke her answer … and then changes her mind.

This is a pretty good issue, with Dr Doom arriving at just the right point in the book. Enjoyable and necessary as the conversation between Jess and Luke is – it’s excellent character work from Brian Michael Bendis – it’s outworn its welcome after seven pages. One of these comes dangerously close to self-parody, being a page-sized panel of back and forth chat in 29 word balloons. But it looks very elegant swirling around the page, the bubbles like dialogue stepping stones, and leaves plenty of room for Daniel Acuña’s art.

Ah yes, the art. It’s delicious. Bendis’s script plays well to Acuña’s talents. I’ve long enjoyed his facility for subtle expressions in such titles as Freedom Fighters and the Flash, and now his rendering of bad, mad action is equally fine. Piledriver pounding and superb sound effects ensure the Doom fracas is very satisfying. And when the rest of the team arrives, it’s with sharp delineation of individual body language – the Thing’s weighty movements, Iron Fist’s grace, Spider-Man’s creepy agility … it’s all there. The ridiculously talented Acuña even colours.

Those sound effects are almost certainly the work of Acuña rather than letterer Joe Caramagna, but whatever the case, he deserves praise for his work here; if Caramagna were paid by the word, he’d have retired by now.

This issue also features another instalment of The Oral History of the Avengers. All I want to hear is that the price of this comic is dropping from $3.99 to $2.99 and that this ‘extra’ is going to a Marvel Handbook, where it belongs.

Topping off The New Avengers #8 is a cover by Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo. Their Jessica Jones isn’t quite right – too LA-glossy – but it’s a great image regardless.

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