Monday, November 26, 2012




BENDIS – story
RAIN BEREDO – colors


Be sure to read the reviews of the previous two issues in this arc:
Issue # 31 [HERE]
Issue # 32 [HERE]




As if the previous issue wasn’t good enough, the action and tension is ratcheted up another notch in this, the penultimate issue of Brian Bendis’ New Avengers (v2)!
The issue starts off exactly where we were left last issue (well, that’s not quite true – for some reason, the first two issues of this issue are spent retelling the last two pages of the previous issue –exactly; word for word). Doctor Strange, teleporting to New Orleans seeks to warn (and possibly gain aid from) Daimon Hellstrom (the Son of Satan), only to find the former Defender demonologist dead and desiccated. At the same moment, (one of seemingly two embodiments of) Maria Hill; Acting Director of SHIELD arrive and seek to take Strange into custody – both for the death of Victoria Hand (last issue) as well as for the apparent murder of Daimon Hellstrom.

The artwork, by longtime Bendis co-creator, Michael Avon Oeming (POWERS) is a jarring jolt from all others in this arc (or any other in the series) as his style here is a strange fusion of Craig McCraken and Genndy Tartakovsky, the worst rush job by Erik Larsen and… a five-year-old with a thick black ‘Sharpie’ magic marker.

Seriously, the art is not good for this story.

Oeming’s work at other times (POWERS predominantly), while still drawn the same style is usually more refined and polished - more along the lines of Bruce Timm. Here it seems as if the entire issue was drawn in a day.

Still, the artwork can not deter (much) from the much-better-than-expected Brian Bendis story – which ends with one of the only F*@% YEAH! moments that Dr. Strange has enjoyed in many, many a year! The fact that this totally kick-ass scene is by the graces of Brian Bendis makes me think that his choice of "END TIMES" as a title may be darkly ironic... as perhaps the Mayan Apocalypse is going to come to pass, because it surely must be that the End of Days is here, and Hell is to freeze over.

During a protracted game of cat-and-mouse (or, more accurately, when dealing with an enemy that can possess the body of whomever he wishes in a split second: “Who Is Sleeping in MY Head?”), wherein Daniel Drumm (the usually-dead half of the 1-alive/ 1-dead sibling hero tag-team called “Brother [then Doctor] Voodoo”) uses every available New Avenger to lay waste to each other. Then the (adjectiveless) Avengers arrive (including heavy-hitters like Thor, Red-Hulk, Iron Man and Wolverine) and Drumm beats them like his slightly differently-spelled namesake!

Through all this, Luke Cage, his wife Jessica and their infant child are trying to get as far as possible from the goings on at Avengers Mansion, until Jessica realizes that Luke is needed to help the team and sends him back into the action – with a promise to return to her in one piece.
Spider-Man too is hoping to get the hell outta Dodge, but the legal mind of Matt (Daredevil) Murdock tells him that would be the very worst thing to do. Of course, that is a moot point as the spirit of Daniel Drumm possesses the Thing and has him toss DD and Spidey outside so that he can add them to his potential victims.

Despite Doctor Strange originally hoping to put as much distance between himself and anyone else who Daniel Drumm could possess to use against him, once it became apparent that the heroes can’t fight Drumm without fighting (and injuring) each other, Strange appears in their midst and calls the vengeful spirit out for a smack-down!

 “You want to ruin me? You want to take away everything I have? Well then DO it, coward. Come AT me. I’m right here. I challenge you, Daniel. In front of the Avengers. In front of the World. Sorcerer to Sorcerer, I challenge you! TO THE DEATH!”

OK. We’ll give Bendis a pass for the fact that Daniel Drumm, a Voodoo Houngan is not a sorcerer, per se. Even I will just shut up, sit back and await next issue’s magic melee!

However, my underlying fear is, since Bendis is notorious for slow story progression, and then rushing an unsatisfying ending; with three issues of a four-issue arc spent with a build-up (not to mention the previous arcs in the whole “Sorcerer Supreme” set of stories), there’s only one issue left with which to wrap up not only this arc, but also answer the “Who is to be Sorcerer Supreme?” question.


Come back again to read the review of the final issue of this arc, scheduled to ship to comic shoppes Wednesday, November 28th 2012. My review should hopefully be posted very soon thereafter.

See you then!


Anonymous said...

Strange that the art work in all three is below par. Perhaps a single artist was going to do this story but then had a meltdown or something. Or maybe Bendis did a last minute major rewrite and all the finished art was unusable? Anyway thanks for your reviews.

Mario Di Giacomo said...

I don't know about you, but I wasn't impressed with the final issue. For all the blather about Strange being a "deus ex machina", I found issue #34 to be a REAL deus ex machina (or perhaps diabolus ex machina) with a big reset button at the end so he could reset the status quo without having to explain himself.

And I don't like his "new" look either. Too superheroic, and a bit bland. Heck, lose the cape and he could be almost be a recolor of Iron Fist.

~P~ said...


I didn't want to read your comment until AFTER I read NA # 34.

Now that I've read it, BE ASSURED that I will write up a review tomorrow (with hopes to be posted tomorrow night).

What I CAN say now:
The "Artist's jam" for the issue couldn't have sucked more if they gave an 8-pack of Crayons to some chimps.

And I DO NOT like the NEW, NEW look for Strange.
(It was spoiled by a variant cover teaser for NA v3 # 3 a week or so ago, so I knew it was coming).
Still, I for one LOVED his last (black and red - NO cloak) look.

Ah well...

Mario Di Giacomo said...

No worries, I kept things pretty vague on purpose.

I could live with the new look if it wasn't simply a bodysuit & a sash. After all, it's not THAT different from the "Flight of Bones" outfit:

But as it is now, it's just lazy, stripping away the aspects that made it distinctive (the "tails", the mandarin collar, the gauntlets) leaving a generic superhero outfit.

I saw a lovely redesign on tumblr:

(That's Wiccan, but it could easily be tweaked for Stephen). I like it even better than the original by Aaron Diaz (linked in the post),which is a little dark for me.

Oh well, maybe sales on Season One will get Pak the nod. He had a good take, IMO. If nothing else, his Strange CARED.

I have this whole rant about "bedside manner" and "plot-driven" heroes, but I've rambled on enough for one night. Looking forward to your review. :)

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