Best Shots Extra: NEW AVENGERS #16 [Daredevil Joins]

Best Shots Extra: NEW AVENGERS #16

New Avengers #16

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo

Lettering by Joe Caramagna

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by David Pepose

'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10

In a lot of ways, New Avengers has become the sitcom of the Marvel Universe. What happens when you put a bunch of clearly defined personalities in a room with one another, and let them banter with one another, almost to the point of caricature?

Well, what happens when you take that sitcom, and make an entire episode about a brand-new character? Welcome to Brian Michael Bendis's introduction of Daredevil to the New Avengers. It's a done-in-one story that feels more than a little puffed up, more than a little inconsequential, but at the same time, also has a few moments of cuteness that'll make you more than a little bit charitable towards the total product.

In certain ways, Bendis is actually really reminding me a bit of Geoff Johns with this particular issue — namely, like Johns tries to demonstrate with Hal Jordan, Daredevil is awesome. Like, seriously awesome. He can beat the tar out of a squadron of Nazi robots over in the periphery of Fear Itself, and still rescue the ones that need rescuing the most. Characterization need not apply, this is Bendis taking the Johns approach of slathering as much alpha-male, totally-awesome-you-guys adoration onto Matt Murdock, complete with a splash page that is so over the top even I was laughing. But at the same time, when people like Luke Cage are asking "if the Avengers are really Daredevil material" (yup, you read that right), it's clear — Bendis really digs having Daredevil on this team, and so should you. Or so he seems to be saying.

Artwise, though, Mike Deodato is a bit of a perplexing choice. He's got this photorealistic style that doesn't really hold up to the light, at least as far as staging a scene goes — there's a reason why people have associated him with Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers, is because his eerie expressions and heavy anatomies almost demand a certain level of shadow and mystery to make it work. Tonally, it doesn't quite add up to Bendis's lighthearted story (well, as lighthearted as Nazi robots can get), and in terms of the action, it either feels staged awkwardly, or ends up going into Neal Adams levels of over-the-top. (Page 11 of 21, I'm looking at you.)

Of course, that said, perhaps in keeping with Mark Waid's lighter tone, the overall message Bendis is putting out here is a bit more structured, a bit more overt, and it gives the book some meaning, even if that meaning is a bit saccharine. It's that human aspect that really gets me at my core, that sense that these aren't action figures, but people with real emotions. I'll be honest, I've always found the constant reanalyzing of the Avengers' past by Bendis to be a little, well, self-indulgent, but in this sense, he's using other peoples' commentary to shine a bit of new light on these characters, at the very least trying to remind us why we liked them so much in the first place. This book isn't exactly a knockout — more like a feather tap — but the lightness also does keep New Avengers from having a crash landing.

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