Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen
Sweet Christmas, Luke Cage! You have your own Avengers team. What are you going to do now?
Luke Cage is pissed. Especially pissed. And why shouldn’t he be? The Dark Reign is over, Norman Osborn is in jail, Steve Rogers is back, the Super-Human Registration Act is repealed and he is no longer a fugitive from the law. Sucks, right? In the reforming of the Avengers, Cage flat our refuses on the grounds that he’d still be forced to follow government orders, despite the entire team being absolutely voluntary and overseen by Captain America himself.
Luckily, Rogers and Tony Stark know how obstinate Cage is, so they give him the recently-renovated Avengers Mansion and let him form his own Avengers team with whoever he wants and Victoria Hand as their liaison. That’s right, because working with Norman Osborn’s right hand man (that’s right, I went there) is so much better than working for Steve Rogers and the government. Luke Cage really needs to work on his “lesser of two evils.”
This is a very strange book. The more I think about it, the more I think I should be annoyed with it, but I’m not. Cage is being a crybaby about the Avengers, and he’s defeating the point of there being two teams if half of his roster is on the other team. Not everyone has Wolverine’s mutant multitasking power.
Even still, it’s fun to see Cage basically handed the keys to the kingdom and do whatever he wants with his own freaking Avenger team. Who wouldn’t want that? You could put your best friend (Iron Fist) on it, your wife (Jessica Jones) and all your buddies from your old jobs even thought they still have those jobs. I think it will lead to a more laid-back, casual team in contrast to the Avengers proper, even with a lot of the same cast. I just worry that the crossover will lead to the two books concentrating on those characters only on one team, but only time will tell (and it’s not like Spider-Man and Wolverine really need any more attention).
Plus I’m excited to see the team dynamic with Hand thrown into the mix. It could be an interesting redemption story with all these characters who could really go either way in how they feel about her – hating her or all for second chances. The question is – who will go which way?
This first arc is starting off with some serious trouble in the Marvel mystic world, and with the previous book’s involvement with Dr. Strange, the territory actually feels familiar. But now no more hiding or running. Despite Cage’s odd complaints and the over-saturation of some of the roster, the book is off to a good start.
Stuart Immonen continues from his work towards the end of the book’s first run, so it’s not a jolting change from long-time readers. The art is fine. A bit heavy in black inks, but it’s otherwise ok. It is nice to see Avengers Mansion up and running again.
However, is it just me, or does Luke Cage in this book remind anyone else of Shaquille O’Neal? I didn’t realize it until the last page, which just screams Kazaam. Then I look back and it’s all I see. It’s not a bad thing, but it creeps me out when thinking of Marvel getting around to casting Luke Cage in a movie.
I completely understand starting New Avengers over. It’s the right move. Even if a lot of the team is the same, this is a new dynamic in a new world. This time, these characters aren’t “new” Avengers. They’re straight up Avengers in their own right. They’ve just been given a new start to do things their own way. They just didn’t have to move to the west coast to do it.
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10