Jonathan Hickman recently revealed that SHIELD had a long and rich history going back thousands of years into the Marvel Universe. And it’s really good. And now Brian Bendis is having a go with The New Avengers, showing us a team before the team we know well, formed by Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan and consisting of Sabretooth, Kraven, Dominic Fortune, Silver Sable and Namora. And it’s not quite as good.
The Red Skull is on the move back in 1959 and Nick Fury, on a mission from the President, is putting together a gang on super powered types, no matter what their moral viewpoint, to take him down. And it involves some secret doohicky that will no doubt be involved in the present day, with Superia gathering ex-HAMMER agents for dubious purposes. And doesn’t seem to know the definition of a Christian name.
The book hangs interest on two points, actual injury for Mockingbird in the midst of battle and no way to treat her, and Superia’s injustice at the Avengers attacking her when she’s not even ready to defend herself – not playing by the superhero rules. But are they enough to hang a whole book on? The past story seems incredibly ephemeral and provides little complexity as it spins the “let’s recruit a team” in a manner that League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen did in a far more entertaining fashion. The overcolouring of Howard Chaykin’s art here doesn’t help either.
Batman Inc also shows us a vaguely familiar team in another time , during the Falklands War. Though the name of the island is never mentioned we get a map and a (slightly) incorrect latitude and longitude reference to take us there.
So we have Fadar, Knight, Mr Albion, Captain Carnation, Iron Lady fighting on the islands alongside the British Army against the evil genius Dedalus, while in the present day we have Batman and Gaucho, as Batman tried to recruit him forthe Argentinian wing of Batman Inc, with elements of a mystery that lead back to that time, and into Batman continuity as well. You can see how this will be fun.
The Falklands War is one of those conflicts that seems to have pased the USA by. While Reagan’s government provided diplomatic support, the USA wouldn’t take the step to support their ally Britain militarily against a near- neighbour. It’s also a territory that hasn’t formed much fiction either, certainly not compared to similar wars Britain has been involved in.It looks like this may well play oiut in future issues.
The tango scene is portrayed wonderfully here, poses often used in a fight scene, are here transposed into dance, but one that is revealed to be just as deadly. Batman’s grappling hook, used for lifting himself onto tall skyscrapers gets a different use out in the desert. And Batman disguising himself as Bruce Wayne makes for a novel twist.
And it feels far more engaging than New Avengers. It’s mysterious, romantic with penline and pallatte that feels rich and deep. This is a whole world being carved out in Batman Inc, while much of New Avengers feels like the lead-in to a forgettable computer game.
Sometimes more is more.
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics in London. A new gallery exhibition has opened instore, ‘Kaleidoscope: A New Look at British Comics‘ – a selection of comics and drawings by new British artists, most of which haven’t been published or exhibited publicly before from Hurk, Joe Kessler, Lando, Joe List, Will Morris and Bethan Mure.