Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Avengers #2

(We're mixing things up a bit at the blog today - our "Classic" review ran on Monday, so here's a new review.)

Magic has always been a bit of a dodgey story device, and one that most writers seem to struggle with.

I think that's mostly because the rules are so fuzzy. With science fiction, you have to stay in certain boundaries, but with magic, anything goes.

But I get the sense that writer Brian Bendis is trying to get that problem under control with his first story arc in the New Avengers.

The story centers around the Eye of Agamotto, a powerful artifact that a demonic force is after. The demon has the power to possess (as in "take control of") the world's most powerful sorcerers, including Dr. Strange and Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan.

This issue is (mostly) an all-out action romp, as Luke Cage is possessed and transformed into a giant. The team must fight Cage, Strange and Hellstrom for the Eye, and they're up against a powerful and mysterious opponent.

And I have to admit that I like the new "form" magic takes here - instead of the flowery rhyming phrases Dr. Strange used in the past, we now see an text explanation for the origins of the spell being cast. It sounds weird, but it's actually effective. It gives each spell some gravitas, as though it has an actual origin in reality. If that makes sense.

The art in this issue is fantastic - Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger turn in some of their best work yet, with lots of big action scenes and intense emotional moments. And I love their powerful depiction of the Thing!

I'm still not convinced magic-based stories are a good "fit" for the Avengers, but so far, I'm enjoying the heck out of this story.

Grade: A-

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