The (Getting Back on the Review Wagon) New Avengers Annual #3 Review

Posted: December 15, 2009 in CCW Review, Marvel
Tags: , ,

Title: New Avengers Annual #3
Writer: Brian Bendis
Art: Mike Mayhew
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $4.99

It’s been a while since I did a real review on here and let’s be honest, most of my reviews consist of me ripping a book. Not that there haven’t been shitty comics coming out since my last review, because there have been, but something that I have noticed lately is that all those shitty comics (i.e. Hulk, New Avengers, Dark Avengers) have become so bland and boring that a review of said books just wouldn’t have been fun. Now you may think to yourself “So, are you going to review New Avengers Annual #3 because it WASN”T bland and boring?” and the answer to that is “No” because is really doesn’t get anymore bland and boring than this. The reasons why I have chosen to review this book are as follows:

A. I have a few problems with this issue (shocking, I know) which I will shortly get into.

B. I feel the need to get back into the groove of doing regular reviews on the blog.

C. I know how much (most of) you guys and gals love it when I review a Bendis book.

D. I know how much (some of) you guys like to piss and moan over the fact that I bash your
beloved Bendis and Loeb comics and that always brings a smile to my face. This last reason alone was incentive enough for me to do this review.

Before I get started here is the actual solicitation for this issue:

Barton is in custody and that leaves not only Barton’s life in severe jeopardy but all the New Avengers are at serious risk. So the ladies of the Avengers band together to do what they have to do in a double-sized blockbuster Avengers story with a startling new chapter in the life of Jessica Jones. Brought to you by Brian Michael Bendis and artist extraordinaire Mike Mayhew.

So, what were my problems with it? Well first I’ll tell you that my problems do extend past the writing and art. The fact that this comic even exists in this format as a tangible good in the industry is a problem. The fact that this issue was not anywhere close to being a double-sized issue, as the solicitation implies, is a problem. The fact that it was $4.99 is a problem. And the fact that Bendis needs to tell us that some, if not all, of the female Avengers are menstruating is a problem but we can discuss that another time. My problems with this book are plentiful but let’s take look at them one at a time:

Problem #1: You’re only getting half of the story.

If the New Avengers monthly was the only New Avengers comic you have been buying for the last few months but you decided to pick up the annual on a whim you may be a little lost as to where this issue begins. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous but would you like to know why you may be a little lost? Well, it’s because everything that happens in this issue is a follow-up to something that didn’t even happen in the New Avengers monthly. The beginning of this story took place in the Dark Reign The List: New Avengers One-Shot. So if you decided not to pay $3.99 for a one-shot with a standard 22 page story in it because you just wanted to stick with the monthly you’re kinda screwed. If you have only been reading the monthly then you would never know that Clint Barton was captured by HAMMER after trying to assassinate Norman Osborn and that’s right where this Annual picks up. Which leads me to…

Problem #2: Remember when Annuals were self-contained stories and 64 pages?

Because I sure as hell do. This issue was solicited as a “double-sized” issue. If that were the case it would have clocked in at 64 pages and not 48. 32 of those pages were art, 7 pages were the same preview for The Siege #1 which you got to read in both The Siege: The Cabal One-Shot and The Dark Avengers Annual #1 which shipped last week, and he rest of the pages were taken up by ads.

In my opinion the material found in The List one-shot and this annual should have in essence been one story and published as THE Annual. But instead Marvel splits it up into two separate one-shots and charges a total of $8.98 for them. I guess Marvel figured they couldn’t get nine bucks for a 64 page annual so they did the next best thing: they broke it into two parts and released those parts a couple of months apart so fanboys wouldn’t notice that it should have only been a one issue story. Charging $3.99 for the first part was a joke but charging $4.99 for this “annual” leads me to my next problem which is…

Problem #3: This comic is not even close to being worth $4.99.

I believe I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I found this issue bland and boring and boy did I ever. The solicitation for this issue made it sound like it was going to be action packed (I believe the term “blockbuster” was bandied around) and that the female Avengers were going to be in the spotlight kicking ass and taking names. Now, I know how Bendis likes to treat his female characters (if you don’t know click here for a quick summation) and as I read that solicitation I was thinking “Ya, right. I’d like to see that” but we did actually get to see that…for THREE fucking pages. And 2 of those pages were a double splash page. The Dark Avengers were in this book more than the female Avengers. Also those three pages contained 3 out of the 6 pages of action in this book.

So, ya, this was pretty much another talky talk issue but you would think that if it were a dialogue heavy issue that Marvel would try to get an artist on here who had a somewhat dynamic style to spice things up, right? Nope. Not even close. I’m sorry guys but Mike Mayhew’s art in this issue is about as dynamic as a still-life painting of a bowl of fruit. Why does Marvel continue to let this kind of art fill their comics (cough, cough…Greg Land…cough…Greg Horn…cough, cough…vomit)? Mike Mayhew may be a good artist (to some) but to me he is not a good comic book artist. Call me crazy but I think that dynamic comic book artists draw the best comic books. Most of these pages just seemed so static with absolutely nothing going on. The Avengers’ home was completely filled with bare or brick walls. All the characters in this comic looked like they were taken right out of Poser 6. I will admit though that the three pages in this issue which took place inside Clint Barton’s mind were decent and were easily the best art in this book.

Problem #4: So we’re not doing that anymore?

Since when did Venom stop taking meds to shrink him down to Spider-Man size when the Dark Avengers go out in public? Did Osborn just stop caring about keeping up the charade or did Bendis?

Problem #5: Too damn convenient.

During the story Osborn finally finds out where the New Avengers hideout is so he gathers his Dark Avengers to go blow the shit out of it (hopefully while the New Avengers are inside). But when he does in fact end up blowing the shit out of it the New Avengers are nowhere to be seen. It just so happens that at that exact moment the New Avengers are busting Barton out of his prison which takes all of three pages (as I said before). Unfortunately(?), dear reader, the New Avengers and Dark Avengers don’t fight, let alone see each other, once again. I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on this. This horseshit “out” that Bendis gave himself is fucking lazy writing and nothing else.

How did the New Avengers know that Osborn would find out the location of their secret headquarters? Dunno. How did the N.A. know when Osborn wasn’t going to be guarding Barton himself? Dunno. How did the N.A. know Osborn WAS guarding Barton himself? Dunno How did the N.A. know that Osborn was going to bring all of the Dark Avengers to their secret headquarters (which they didn’t know that he knew about)? Dunno. Why DID Osborn bring ALL of the Dark Avengers with him? Dunno. When Osborn saw that all of the N.A. were not in the headquarters why didn’t he fucking hightail it back to where Barton was being held? Dunno. You see what I’m getting at here? Nothing is explained…at all. Everything happens the way it happens because Bendis needs it to and the reader is supposed to swallow the bullshit explanation (or lack there of) and be content with it. How did the Marvel editors think that this would be a satisfactory resolution?

Problem #6: Steve Rogers? WTF?

And another Marvel comic has an appearance of Steve Rogers while he has really yet to come back into the Marvel U proper because Marvel can’t get their books out on time. This now makes 3 books in just two weeks that he has appeared in.

So there you go. My New Avengers Annual #3 review. You probably were not surprised by anything I said but, hey, that just means you’re getting to know me better. Lucky you.


  1. PILKK90 says:

    the only reason i think cap keeps appearing is because marvel thought reborn would have concluded ny now. Theres at least 3 or more 4 issues to go but siege starts in january and we all know caps going to be in that, so maybe reborn was delayed more than they had planned.

  2. Antonio says:

    Hey Jose,

    have you ever watched the Angry Video Game Nerd reviews on Youtube and Gametrailers?

    Since you like to review shitty comics that suck ass I think you might dig his reviews.

  3. TheComicRant says:

    Great review J! I miss the days of the REAL honest-to-goodness Annuals. We don’t get anything like “For the Man Who Has Everything” anymore.

  4. Marvel should make a group called “The Marvel Vacuum Cleaners” The members of the group are:

    -Matt Fraction
    -Dan Slott
    -Jonathan Hickman
    -Jeff Parker
    -That’s about it

    What’s their job? To clean up the big craps that Bendis, Loeb, and other bad/lazy Marvel writers leave behind.

  5. Pobra says:

    I’m totally not surprised by that review, but I’m also extremely satisfied by it. So nice to hear someone call bullshit when no one else seems to want to. 🙂

  6. JohnnyHorror92182 says:

    Yeah, this book sucked. I don’t think Mayhew is a bad artist, but his artwork doesn’t lend itself to this genre of comics.

    Did Jessica Jones even wear her her 70’s (or is that an 80’s?) costume in this book?

    • For 3 pages, yes. And it seems very out of character for her to wear a skintight, quite revealling costume.


      • Locusmortis says:

        Out of character? FFS Jose wtf are you thinking??? this is bendis, since when does “out of character” matter when Bendis needs to get his 70’s fetish satisfied.

        Bendis went from being a decent crime writer to the ultimate fanboi writer who gets to play with his early-teen fantasy characters like Jessica Jones, Spider-woman, Power Man & Iron Fist etc….pathetic.

  7. Morlock50 says:

    Thanks for the review Jose. You read Bendis books so we don’t have to.

    • Matthew Guy says:

      Seconded & thank you Jose for doing that dirty job (reading a Bendis book). All your reviews, this website, Youtube videos w/ Elliott, giving the truth as you see it in the comics industry & great ideas of new titles to read (& ones to avoid) w/ trade collections to give a try.


  8. Ironmuskrat says:

    Great review Jose! You hit on everything that is wrong with the Annuals that Marvel is putting out these days.

    For people out there who are not old farts like me and might not have been around in the “old” days when a giant size annual was a special event and not just a bloated attempt to squeeze five bucks out of you. I direct you to attempt to find Avengers Annual #10, it might be hard to find… it was put out in the early 80’s. But if you can find this baby you will see what I believe is one of the best one shot Avenger stories out there. It was written by Chris Claremont and artwork by Michael Golden.

    I would post a picture of the cover, but I don’t think I can do that here. Maybe I will throw it up on my Facebook page.


    • Morlock50 says:

      Avengers 10 is a classic annual. Or how about those old X-men annuals that Art Adams would do. They were worth 4.99

      • I loved the X-Men/New Mutants “Asgardian Wars” Annuals that Adams did. So damn good.

        By the way those Art Adams annuals were only $1.25/$1.50 to boot.


      • Mitiators says:

        Here, here! The Asgardian Wars was the shit. Arthur Adams drawing the old school New Mutants was awesome. I think Paul Smith was the artist for the other issues and even his stuff was pretty good.

  9. Dan Griffin says:

    Hey Jose, any chance you can do a written or video review of S.W.O.R.D #1 or 2. It such an awesome series and it needs all the attention it can get.

  10. Venom829 says:

    I totally agree with you Jose. Mayhew is a complete piece of shit artist. I remember when I looked at the preview, the double splash page with Barton bound being interrogated by the Dark Avengers, almost made me puke, I could not beleive Marvel would allow his shitty work in a comic.

    • Morlock50 says:

      Marvel seems to have an entire army of shitty artists ready to go at a given moment. Is it my imagination, or are DC artists better overall?

    • Deemar says:

      I wouldn’t call Mayhew shit, but he definately isn’t suited to comic art. The guy should be doing spreads for Maxim mag of something.

  11. david says:


    now this is why i got into you guys.

    love the review

  12. MicahSkin says:

    Now, for fun, rip apart Blaire Butler’s reccomendation for Old Man Logan!


  13. Mr.Wrestling says:

    I am so happy that I did not buy this issue. It was in my pull pile when I went to the shop but I took one look at the cover price and immediately put it back.

    My five bucks was better spent on some actual good books instead

  14. Deemar says:

    Another fine review J lol

    The thing that gets me is all this hype of Jessica Jones’ return as Jewel (Although technically in reality she never existed as Jewel and is only a retcon of a suposed costumed hero..and this is actually her first real time intro as Jewel..gah my fucking head is about to explode….)

    • kurumais says:

      everytime i see that jewel stuff it just reminds me how marvel was too chickenshit to pull the trigger and make alias about spider woman

  15. kurumais says:

    even as the resident BMB fan here i cant argue against this review. you sat down wanting a meal and you got a snack. i dont remember seeing this artist before so i found the art interesting and i thought the cap close up a nice page since im such a cap fanboy. but i am half hoping after seeing steve in the 3 comics he popped up in thats its still the red skull in there. as for the siege preview big deal isnt that same preview going to be posted all over the web for free soon if not already?

    J are you going to do dark avengers annual review? im think noh varr is a terrific character loved morrisons mini. i thought a guy like that would fit right into the dark avengers he is a very grey area character. i am wondering if the new direction is the right move and was hoping you and e would talk about it .

  16. C4RL0Z says:

    Holy crap on a stcik over 40 comments 🙂 great to see more comments on the blog lately. Jose have you heard Fraction is going to write THOR and the Freecomic book day THOR/IRON MAN issue?

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