Fear Itself Review: New Avengers #14 By Brian Michael Bendis And Mike Deodato

New Avengers #14
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo

The focus on individual Avengers during the course of Fear Itself continues, and this time focus is on the “bass player of the super hero world” herself, Mockingbird. Formerly an Agent of SHIELD and now empowered with a super soldier serum that saved her life, New Avengers #14 plays up the “fear” motif pretty well for Bobbi, fully aware of her place on death’s door and acknowleding she’s wholly underappreciated by the public. And it’s not just Mockingbird who’s afraid.

We open with Spider-Man quitting the New Avengers over Mockingbird’s recent overdose of bullets. Spidey himself lays out his mistrust with Victoria Hand, newly appointed Avengers liaison and former right hand of the villainous Norman Osborne. There’s no time for the blame game, as Mockingbird reveals she speedily recovered from her injury, and then giant Nazi robots lay siege to New York. Yes, really.

It’s the perfect opportunity for the newly enhanced Mockingbird to strut her stuff, and she does. But when a catastrophic disaster happens while she’s thrashing robots, she has a realization.

A pretty grim one, for any superhero, even if it is just a play on the old “power and responsibility” bit.

New Avengers has always been a rollercoaster ride, and this issue speeds along with the best of them. The writing is good, the opening argument with Spider-Man and his team is a typical Bendis roundtable, and Mockingbird has a great soliloquy peppered throughout the issue.

The bulk of the 22 page issue is taken up with explosions and Nazi robots. They’re fun action scenes, Deodato really excels at this grand scale, and the panel layout in the second half of the issue is just fun. Beredo’s colors give the world and characters a very “grounded” tone, simultaneously nailing the gravity of the situations and keeping all the spandex clad heroes more human than is the norm.

All in all, the team does a great job, but the issue itself isn’t anything that’s going to convert you to New Avengers. You’re either on this ride or you’re not, and a vague tie-in to a large summer event isn’t going to change your mind. That said, New Avengers has also always been a slow burn with a good payoff, and for that, you’d be hard pressed to find a better character driven ensemble book in the Marvel stables.

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