New Avengers #21

by Kalem Lalonde on November 23, 2014

Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Valerio Schiti & Salvador Larroca 

I read this issue in the car on the way to see Guardians of the Galaxy. When I put the issue down my sister asked me, “What did you just read?” I answered, “I don’t want to talk about it.” That sums up how this comic made me feel. 

Hickman has brought this series back to the highs of the early issues with this arc. The illuminati are facing the worse threat of all, and they are finally starting to realize their war is lost. Hickman makes a very interesting analysis of what makes the particular members of the illuminati different from all other heroes. He explains why they are the only men qualified for the team and for its purpose. He raises some very interesting points that one can certainly ponder. The dialogue in this issue is some of Hickman's strongest which bolsters the quality of the points he’s attempting to make and adds intensity to the situation. There is emotion in abundance in this issue, so if you’re looking to casually read a story, this is not the issue or series for you. This is an issue where emotion fails to dissipate and let logic prevail. It’s the issue where every sentiment of doubt arises and takes over the team of corrupt geniuses. It’s the breaking point we’ve been waiting for.

Black Panther is front and center this issue just like Stephen Strange was in the previous. This arc has been very deliberate whereas Hickman gives you certain aspects of a scene and leaves the end for later. It’s been an interesting use of misdirection due to the apparent end of said scenes. T’challa’s past developments come to a head in this issue and you truly feel his sorrow. There is melancholy to this character’s arc in this series, more so than any other member. He’s lost his kingdom, his moral high-ground, his sister and now he loses his very identity. Hickman's writing was so strong and the emotional resonance so poignant that I felt enveloped in the atmosphere of this comic. I felt right next to these men, which says something about the power of this story.

The art duties are handled by the amazing Valerio Schitti here. He splits art duties with Salvador Loracca, however Schitti handles the emotional scenes and continues to display his aptitude for depicting emotion in character’s faces and even bodies. Loracca draws some nice pages as well but the switch in art was a little too plain to the eye. 

Overall this was one of Hickman’s best issues of New Avengers to date. It was emotionally heavy and philosophical. The exploration of heroic values in contrast to the values of kings was a captivating subject, explored through great dialogue. This comic isn’t for everyone but for the target audience it continues to astonish, provoke thought and amaze with every page.

Our Score:


A Look Inside