The Illuminati deal with the fallout of their actions in issue #23, showcasing each of the “heroes” as they wait for the next incursion to occur…
New Avengers continues to be the “big concept” book under Hickman, and the current concept put before readers is how these characters will react to the knowledge that they are in the final hours of the existence of the world. Naturally, each of them has a different set of priorities, and Hickman lets their final moments unfold well. This does lead to what is arguably a slow first half of a comic, but it works considering the emotions these characters are processing having been involved with the destruction of a world and coming to grips with losing their own. There are some great character moments in this issue, and it is obvious that the actions taken by the Illuminati will have far reaching effects going forward. Hickman acknowledges that their behaviour is not going unnoticed, and that is an interesting dynamic to add into this series, considering the characters involved.
Hickman caps the issue off in a brilliant way, upending the issue and ending on a cliffhanger that will rile up readers, without a doubt. He may have created the greatest villain in the Marvel Universe here, and to see how this character has come to this point over the course of the past several years is very justifying. The final pages of this issue cement that New Avengers is going to continue to be a cornerstone book for the Marvel Universe and a dynamic comic to read going forward.
Kev Walker handles the art duties for this issue, and it is a stronger showing from Walker in this issue than #22. He handles the emotion of the characters well, and while his style can tend toward some extreme angles at times (and some oddly skinny characters), it does not detract from the story being told, for the most part. As the issue moves closer toward incursion, Walker handles the building tension well. He excels when penciling powerful characters like Black Bolt, and gives the silent King a great amount of power, considering his inability to speak. This issue is filled with some iconic characters, and Walker does them justice on a surface level, and the emotional level, where the Illuminati are concerned. His artwork tells this story well, and he infuses a huge amount of energy into the final pages to close out this issue, and his time on New Avengers, on a high note. The colour work from Frank Martin suits Walker’s style well, amplifying his style in all the right ways.
New Avengers #23 is a well crafted comic that, with the final pages of the issue, has maintained it’s “must-read” status. There are events occurring within these pages that will reach out into damn near every book in the line, and when a comic is filled with characters and events that affect things on that large of a scope, you can’t help but be excited as a reader. This is a great primer for the Time Runs Out storylines kicking off next month, and I definitely recommend giving this one a shot.
The Verdict: 8.0/10