By Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Stuart Immonen (Pencils), Wade von Grawbadger (Inks), and Dave McCaig (Colors)
Some Thoughts Before The Review: The New Avengers #55 brings a new storyline and a new art team to the series.

The Story: The Hood’s thugs are fed up with how they are being treated. But things change when a special piece of Stark-Tech is found that just might be the “nuclear bomb in the war on powers.”

What’s Good and What’s Not So Good: With the Sorcerer Supreme stuff out of the way, New Avengers #55 is all about setting up the latest story arc. As you’ve probably guessed, that’s a good thing in some ways, but a bad thing in others. I think I’ll begin by talking about the newest part of New Avengers: the artwork.

Nothing against Billy Tan, but Stuart Immonen is a great artist for a series like New Avengers. Especially if the series is focusing on telling more traditional superhero stories like the one that begins in New Avengers #55. Immonen’s style, complimented nicely by Wade von Grawbadger’s inks and Dave McCaig’s colors, is well suited to showing costumed heroes (and villains) doing what they do. In particular, Immonen draws an absolutely fantastic Spider-Man and does great work when multiple costumes are featured in a panel. It’s too bad that a few flaws keep Immonen’s work from being a rousing success.

The biggest problem I have with what Immonen does is that there is a noticeable drop in quality as the book progresses. A number of panels near the end looks either terribly rushed or completely dominated by the color work by Dave McCaig (those blobs of colors are supposed to be the heroes?!). In addition, there’s breaks in the flow of the storytelling that, while not game-breaking, are rather annoying.

As for the dialogue in New Avengers #55…well…you should know what to expect by now. There’s a lot of Bendis-speak and, as usual, some of it is entertaining and some of it is irritating. It does a nice job of moving the plot forward and expressing personalities, but feels filled with, well, filler. If you ignore the filler though, there’s quite a bit to like about the story Bendis is starting to tell. It has a very “traditional” feel to it which works wonderfully in a book that tends to work best when it just focuses on the New Avengers being the Avengers that they are.

Conclusion: New Avengers #55 is, I believe, the start of something good. The artwork is a breath of fresh air and the storyline that begins has the potential to be a lot of fun.

Grade: C+

-Kyle Posluszny

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