New Avengers #23 – Complacency amidst the greatest of minds

*Warning: Spoilers ahoy*

RecapThe overriding feeling when turning that last page is of astonishment, leaving your eyes wide open. It is an incredible feat of storytelling borne from over twenty issues of Illuminati conspiracy. The year long discourse on destroying a planet to save a universe came to fruition last issue, where only Namor was actually able to pull the trigger. The characters see an intriguing shift in opinion and action because they have already destroyed a number of worlds, be it by another person’s hand or the world being destroyed having been overruled by some form of evil contagion. They failed when the opposing heroes were good men and women, and their world was had an equal right to life as the Illuminati’s own. Where they once were unable to forgive Captain America’s folly with the Infinity Gauntlet, they then succumb to the same fate. All except Namor.

IllumWhich leads to the most pertinent question of all, in those eight hours to incursion, why did no member think to observe the universe’s most dangerous man. In fact I also completely forgot about Namor until the incursion came and went, because I was caught up in the emotional diatribe that was so overwhelmingly well depicted. Despite me thinking that the most intellectual minds in the universe would never give up, especially not Reed, I thoroughly enjoyed Kev Walker’s portrayal of failed heroes. It was quite twee seeing Bruce saying farewell to Hulk, as it was Reed visiting Valeria in Latveria. I am sure she would have had some ideas of what to do, but her statement to her father was quite apt. Beast asking his younger self’s opinion leads to quite appropriate fury and condemnation. Walker’s ability to convey emotion is utilised effectively as we see T’Challa’s regret, Strange’s sorrow, Bolt’s fury and most aptly McCoy’s anger. Stark’s response is quite intriguing because he reflects on his drinking habits and actually contemplates taking his own life when the time comes. These pages of superb character work and artistic expression completely overawe our thoughts, as it does the Illuminati, of the real threat.

Reed ValeriaAs we all take a gulp in fearful anticipation, we see Namor utter the words we are more accustomed to hear from Richard’s lips and the Cabal is revealed. What is most impressive is that each and every member of that group has been intertwined with the story from early on. Terrax and Black Swan have first hand knowledge of the incursions and Maximus is always too devious to be trusted. There was a panel a few issues ago depicting Maximus thawing the gem chamber that housed Thanos, Proxima and Glaive. It was clear there were some plans to release these villains but to what end? I doubt very much Namor was developing his Cabal prior to the latest incursion because he was focused on the task at hand, and in his spare time was torturing Panther. In those brief hours he was able to release everyone, sit them at a table and turn them to his direction. It is an impressive feat given that the other Illuminati have been closely observing their prisoners since the Infinity saga. I guess it is possible the security systems were compromised but I am shocked that Reed or Beast could let this happen. Unless we are to believe that the self interest and solipsism of our heroes led to gross negligence. Surely that was the whole point of the Illuminati coming into existence? To do what needs to be done to protect the universe, not only do they fail to do that but they also fail to guard from their most powerful enemies and one of their own wayward members. Nonetheless the emotional sway takes us away as well as the Illuminati to reveal one of the biggest twists in the Hickman Avenger’s line. The united message from writer and artist was so well received that it left us in shock and awe. It is thoroughly exciting and leads to even greater anticipation of the events to come.


“It’s inevitable and I accept it”


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