Marvel Spinner Rack: The New Avengers #16, X-Factor #224.1

The New Avengers #16

The New Avengers #16 cover

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato

Graeme McMillan (link no longer available) has already talked about how clumsily this issue begins, with Bendis telling readers how his team choices are right, yes they are! As Graeme puts it, “The subtitle is ‘No, I’m not overreacting to some internet criticism by devoting two pages of my comic to it, what are you talking about?'”

This talking-heads stuff was a lot more interesting when it was a bonus, included as an “oral history” in the back, after a story where heroes actually did stuff. But in this case, it’s just taking up space… and there’s not that much of it, since this is one of the worst values in superhero comics. 21 story pages for #3.99, with the rest of the issue filled with 9/11 pinup reprints. (I know, it was a horrible time, but the pandering Marvel did back then towards “real heroes” wasn’t so inspiring at the time, let alone worthy of wallowing in ten years later.)

When I flipped past the head shots of the characters praising each other, I thought for a minute this was some kind of misprint, since it’s all about Daredevil. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying his new series, but after reading this bunch of muddled two-page spreads, I was confused by what I was supposed to get from them. We find at the end that he was joining the team. Too bad the comic didn’t, you know, show him interacting much with his new team members, instead relying on images of Daredevil wielding a machine gun against robots (?!?). I hope this change, no matter who decided it, won’t affect the comic I do enjoy reading, Daredevil.

I know New Avengers is going to sell no matter what anyone says — which is probably why Marvel feels justified gouging on the cover price — but this is pointless. It’s not entertaining; it feels like homework to be gotten through to pass the test on who the team is now.

X-Factor #224.1

X-Factor #224.1 cover

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Valentine de Landro
Inker: Pat Davidson

I liked this introductory issue. It reminded me of who all the team members were and how they interacted, and they all looked like themselves. Too bad the series lately hasn’t had the same charm of the key premise, a super-powered detective agency that helps people with nowhere else to turn. (Instead, there’s been some mystical hoo-hah about feral gods trying to steal Wolfsbane’s baby.)

I was also a bit disappointed that this wasn’t a stand-alone, instead hinting up a big threat to come that presumably will be the next villain in the continuing series. The questions this issue raises aren’t answered here, leaving it unsatisfactory. I would have rather seen this material used as a backup in a supersized double issue, with a main story showing the team in action and this explanation by Madrox filling us in on who everyone was as a supplement, without the eventual murder of his listener. But I suppose that’s me disagreeing with the entire “point one” premise.

Best part of the issue: one of Madrox’s doubles being an annoying-yet-talented chef. It’s those kinds of small moments and clever ideas that I enjoy most about X-Factor.

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