NEW AVENGERS #18
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Valerio Schiti
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 14, 2014
The next incursion is en route, bringing the New Avengers into conflict with the heroes of the world that is about to crash into the 616 Earth. This issue is very much the calm before the storm with several characters giving themselves a gut check before the main event.
Calm before the storm is the polite way of saying this comic is a very slow read. There is no action in this book at all, and the pages are exclusively Illuminati members preparing for the upcoming conflict. We get some interesting information on where a few of the characters stand with respect to the upcoming conflict, but other than that this comic feels like a lot of filler. New Avengers has always been a slow burn, big concept book but this issue doesn’t even really deal with the concepts. Conversations between T’Challa and the previous Black Panthers seem to go on forever, and awkward moments between Bruce Banner and Beast make both characters feel out of place in this comic. This is not a poorly written issue, per se, it is just very slowly paced, to the point of it feeling like nothing of note is really happening at all. The most exciting page of the entire issue is the final one, if for no other reason then it shows that issue #19 is going to be a barnburner compared to what readers have just read. Hickman may prove me wrong and I will look back from subsequent issues and see the planting of seeds, but the dialogue in most of the conversations of issue #18 rambles on for far too long, for seemingly no reason, and therefore feels like a wasted storytelling opportunity.
It especially feels like a waste when the talented Valerio Schiti is now on board. One of Marvel’s Young Guns, Schiti drops some fabulous pencils in this comic. He’s got very little to work with as far as action is concerned, but his work is damn near flawless anyway. He handles the personalities of each of the characters well, and I enjoyed his take on the different looks of these iconic Marvel characters (even if Namor looks rather Loki-ish). The detail in his pencils is impressive, and it is great to see him working on a comic with as high a profile as New Avengers. The final page is an explosive one and I am very excited to see what Schiti brings to the table in issue #19. His art is what salvages this comic and makes it a decent read, and I would probably buy this issue for the visuals alone. The colour work by Frank Martin suits Schiti’s style very well, giving his artwork even more life and energy.
New Avengers #19 feels like what it is: a filler issue before an eruption. The big fight is coming and this incursion is gonna be a biggie, but you aren’t going to find the battle royale in this issue. Valerio Schiti delivers some top notch artwork to bail out the very slow script and keep this one interesting, giving readers a huge final page that will pull them back for #19 without a doubt.
The Verdict: 6.0/10