The fast forward to the future continues as New Avengers #25 sheds light on the whereabouts of the Illuminati and the status of Amadeus Cho after his dust up with S.H.I.E.L.D. in Avengers.
Jonathan Hickman checks in with the core characters of the Illuminati in this issue, showing how this group of now extremely wanted men have been evading S.H.I.E.L.D. in recent months. There is a fantastic call back for long time Hickman fans that kicks the issue off on a high note, and Hickman does not let up from there. This issue is as vague as every comic released since the countdown to Time Runs Out began, but it works in this issue. Not knowing the full story keeps the tension high and the questions about what has happened to who make this comic a lot of fun. Hickman writes these characters very well, their personalities each adding a different dynamic to the precarious situation they are in. These are the smartest characters in the Marvel U and Hickman certainly respects that, going on some cerebral rants that showcase how the Illuminati are operating at a whole other level than “regular” smart people. This is genius territory and there is no doubting these are geniuses. Hickman is giving Avengers fans exactly what they are looking for with this story, and people looking for some tough-as-nails Sue Richards can find her here. This is some great character work and, despite the huge cast, each gets a solid amount of screen time and their voice heard. New Avengers #25 is, quite simply, a damn well written comic.
On the art front, Kev Walker delivers his strongest New Avengers work so far. There are some inconsistencies throughout, but at no point does the artwork detract from the story. His facial work can be fairly stylized and it is difficult to not compare Walker’s work to the exceptional New Avengers work by Valerio Schiti, but this issue is well penciled. Walker handles the large cast well and delivers a striking final page to close out the issue. Walker’s take on the characters grew on me as the issue progressed and, by the end, I was quite enjoying the amount of personality he infuses into characters like Beast. These characters carry themselves like the geniuses they are, which is not an easy thing to convey in comics. The colour work by Frank Martin and David Curiel keeps the issue popping off of the page and injects some electricity into several pages. These pro colourists take Walker’s pencils to the next level and compliment the line work very well.
New Avengers #25 is a rock solid comic. This story is growing more complex and enjoyable as Hickman unravels the mysteries of what the hell has happened over the past 8 months, and the whole situation is very exciting for Avengers fans. I have questions that I want answered right now, and I will admit Hickman has got me hook, line and sinker. I highly recommend Avengers fans grab this comic.
The Verdict: 8.5/10