NEW AVENGERS VOL. 4: A VS. X (Marvel, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects New Avengers Nos. 24-30 (cover dates June- November, 2012)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Bendis's snarky dialogue seems to be toned down, although much like that relative that can't seem to speak appropriately around the kids at Christmas, it slips through here and there. Like that relative, he just can't help himself. I will give Bendis props for putting more story into each issue, even if we do get yet another breakfast table conversation segment. Those just never get old. Someday we'll all be reminiscing about the early aughts Avengers, and people will say “Man, remember all of those awesome breakfast table conversations”, just like they speak about the Kree-Skrull War and Roger Stern's run. -End sarcasm mode.-
The thing that makes Bendis' writing so palatable to so many is the fact that he is often paired with top artists, in this case Mike Deodato. My first exposure to Deodato was on Amazing Spider-Man on the Sins Past arc, and I thought that he was okay back then. He has continually improved and refined his craft to the point that I would rank him in the upper echelon of comic book artists. I'm talking Alex Ross good. This book would have been ranked a 2 if not for his brilliant artwork.
The endless conversations between Luke Cage (Power Man) and Jessica Jones are tiring, with cringe-inducing “realistic” Bendis dialogue. Bendis writing “street” is such a joke. This Red Hulk nonsense also has to stop. What, is the Hulk so boring that these writers can't figure out a way to make him interesting? Do we really need a smart, commanding Red Hulk? It seems so DC to me.
Issues 25 and 26 don't feature a single Avenger in them. This is another Bendis hallmark, hijacking a title and inserting something else in it. This bulk of these issues take place in K'un Lun hundreds of years ago. The rest of issue 25 is one scene not involving The Avengers. Go Bendis! In issue 26 (and half off 27) we see Leonardo DaVinci working to repel the Phoenix Force. Yup, as in DaVinci Code Leonardo DaVinci. Yes, I realize how incredibly stupid this is. Issue 28 is pretty clever. I'm not going to spoil that one at all for you. Issue 29 is an Avengers Illuminati one-shot disguised as issue of Avengers. Lots of conversations in this issue. Daredevil shows up as an Avenger with no real explanation. It is assumed that you simply buy every Marvel title. This book has shown me how stupid the whole Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover and mini-series is. Thankfully I didn't waste my time or money on the $75 MSRP hardcover. Bendis' reign of terror on this title is almost over. Patience, grasshopper...
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Typical Marvel Premiere Edition Hardcover, with the same production values that the format has to offer.
Paper rating: 4 out of 5. Coated stock with a slight sheen, perfect for modern coloring. The paper seems to be getting thinner as the prices on these Premiere Hardcovers keeps ticking upwards. Bad combination.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. It's glued, but it's a thin hardcover, so it's no biggie. It's not like it's going to fall apart or anything. I normally lose sleep over books with glued binding, but not with these Premiere Hardcovers.