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Jason Schachat has man hands.
Jason Schachat's Occasional Breakdown

Just out of curiosity... who ever buys Official Marvel Handbooks?

And why? Is Marvel continuity really that confusin– okay, dumb question. Moving on...

Well, kids, I’m quite torn by New Avengers #13. It succeeds and fails in different ways, but ultimately just leaves me feeling disappointed. The big reveal of Ronin’s identity, the resolution to the “conflict” with Silver Samurai, Jessica Drew’s betrayal... it all just feels kind of tired, by now.

Picking up from last month, the Avengers are in Samurai’s courtyard with a small legion of Hand ninjas standing against them. After a bit of thinking, Silver Samurai turns on the Hand and slaughters half a dozen of them with one stroke of his sword. Then Iron Man incapacitates the rest, and the fight’s over before we can even put our popcorn in the microwave. Samurai and the Avengers agree to disagree, and our heroes head home with Madame Hydra in shackles.

Then Jessica Drew lets her go and turns the minor victory into a complete loss.

So, the things I DO like about this episode: Bendis uses the unfair imprisonment of Silver Samurai to highlight current affairs concerning what lengths we let the real world intelligence community go to in the War on Terror; The reasoning behind Jessica Drew’s betrayal of the team is interesting, even if the character herself is proving rather dim-witted; The position the team is finding themselves in echoes the crisis Captain America went through in the days after 9-11, when he realized the dangers of representing a government you may not fully understand or agree with.

What I DON’T like: Finch’s characters are starting to hurt my eyes. He seems to be using about three different faces for all his character designs, and only one of those is female. Aside from the green lipstick or handprint-on-the-face, Madame Hydra, Jessica Drew, and Echo look EXACTLY the same. Same face, same haircut, same lack of expression.

And that brings us to the other major problem: the reveal of the “Ronin” arc is that it’s Echo.

But I'll bet she gives great back rubs...
Was it worth the three issue wait? I don’t think so, really. Daredevil would be interesting, but I don’t see anyone cheering when the mask is pulled aside to reveal Echo’s face. Worse yet, I feel rather betrayed by Finch. I can respect the notion that her outfit might have been padded a bit, but look at the shots of Ronin in action.

Two words: MAN HANDS!

I don’t know why they felt the need to be that deceitful with the artwork, but it really accomplishes nothing. The reveal doesn’t have enough foreshadowing behind it to be satisfying, and the character isn’t important enough to make the unveiling any kind of event.

But, again, I’m torn. As issues go, this isn’t a bad one. Not necessarily a good one, either. The only real achievement is forwarding Jessica Drew’s sub-plot, and that only goes so far. The people who’ve been reading New Avengers since the beginning may get something out of this, but it won’t do much for anyone else.

So, as every Wolverine fan surely knows by now, Logan has regained all his memories, and Wolverine #36 is supposed to be the first move down that long road to filling in the unknown mysteries of Marvel’s most popular mutant.

Think again, kiddies. This is just another lackluster opening chapter from the sickeningly prolific Daniel Way. It’s light on story, light on character, and light on excitement. Of course, since Wolverine’s on the cover, we’ll still buy it in like the mindless animals we are, but that’s beside the point.

The story begins with Wolvie getting a call from Emma Frost. They dump some exposition on us about how he’s bouncing on and off the grid lately, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s trying to find him, and he’s hunting a man down for some reason. About 20 pages later, we see him find the man in question, but still no questions are answered. In fact, more are raised due to the sheer silliness of this whole thing.

The best there is at actually not doing anything but sell books.
Not that it’s much of a spoiler, but the guy Wolvie’s trying to hunt down is Silver Samurai. Aside from Logan’s rather cool method of getting his attention, the whole situation is just boring. Unless Logan is totally outclassed by his opponent, there’s no chance we’ll think he’s in any danger.

No offense to the Silver one, but he ain’t that threatening. Considering that he met up with the Avengers recently, Wolvie probably could’ve made his job a lot easier by simply sticking with the team for a minute rather than suddenly running off on his own.

The issue also ends on the reveal (to the 6 people who didn’t already know) that Logan’s memories are back. Great, but what does he remember? This is what we’ve been waiting for since House of M ended, and we’ve seen no change in Logan’s personality whatsoever.

I don’t know about anyone else, but suddenly regaining more than a hundred years worth of memories would probably make me look at the world a little differently.

And that’s what it all comes down to: Wolverine isn’t taking advantage of the opportunity to flesh out the character. I think almost all of that blame has to go to Marvel Editorial for restraining the writers, but Daniel Way still doesn’t manage an enjoyable story with what he’s got.

Until they stop jerking us around, re-read the “Enemy of the State” and “Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” arcs, if you want good Wolvie stories. This is just depressing.

page 2: X-Men #178, Ultimate Fantastic Four #25...

Jason Schachat

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