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Why is it I can never get deal like that? A dollar for a superhero mansion? It pays to have rich friends.
Luke Cage and his misfit New Avengers have spent their time since the Civil War on the run, sleeping everywhere from Dr. Strange’s hideout to Captain America’s Brooklyn safe house. Now, thanks to Tony Stark’s willingness to placate Cage’s distrust of authority, Cage finds himself the owner of the newly rebuilt Avengers Mansion. Actually, when Cage discovered he had no cash on him it was billionaire Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, who lent him the dollar to buy it from Tony. If Stark knew Rand would be picking up the check, he probably would have asked for a lot more.
Nonetheless, in the debut of the “new” New Avengers, Cage wins his team a place to call home and is given the right by Steve Rogers to choose his own team. “You can’t pick Thor and Iron Man,” Steve qualifies, making the two just a little uncomfortable. They haven’t anything to fear, though. If you weren’t already on the New Avengers, it looks like Cage probably doesn’t want you there.
Elsewhere in this fabulous world of house hunting and team-building, a spiritual invasion has taken control of Dr. Strange and Daimon Hellstrom, and the two are attacking the current Sorcerer Supreme, Brother Voodoo. Voodoo isn’t part of the New Avengers, by the way, nor is anyone else who is a part of any action or plot this issue manages to scrounge up. It’s just something more interesting than what our main characters are doing and it’s sadly not the first time things have been so dull for the New Avengers they’ve had to see what Stephen Strange was doing to pass the time.
When New Avengers first began, a group of mismatched heroes found themselves surrounded by bad guys as they tried to contain a prison break from the super-villain prison The Raft. The team that came out of it was a collection of characters who had spent little to no time together. The new dynamics the book created made it compelling even when the stories fell somewhat flat.
This second volume is absent any immediate threat. The only thing of intrigue is happening elsewhere to a former Avenger. The essence of this title’s inception is Luke Cage being rebellious in sort of pubescent defiance of authority resulting in the team getting a new place to live. Not the riveting story-telling the title once offered. The pencils of Stuart Immonen were an excellent fit for Ultimate Spider-Man but they are a far cry from the dramatic and intense work of David Finch that helped make “Breakout” so compelling and that would be necessary to renew instead of simply restart this series.
On top of that, the “New” Avengers were new because no one had seen a team with a roster like theirs before (beyond the short lived New Fantastic Four). Luke Cage, Captain America, Wolverine… Spider-Man? It didn’t matter who the bad guy was, people simply wanted to see them interact, and unforeseeable friendships like the one between Cage and Spider-Man were what made the book standout.
In order to begin a new title and have the audacity to attach the word “New” to it after so many years, a few more upsets needed to come about when Cage was drafting the team. It’s essentially the same as it was when the title was cancelled. Surely the addition of the Thing does create some interest, especially when he Wolverine have such an old rivalry (remember when the Thing had to wear a hood for a while after Wolverine clawed his face open). But a hardened survivor of the streets like Cage would probably find a few others like him, people who typically operate alone and don’t trust authority. Cage would likely find more fresh-blood who had never been on an Avengers team before and could offer something else the various other Avenger teams can’t. For the most part, what drew him to choose the Thing is undisclosed other than what Cage describes as being an impulsive thought.
Brian Michael Bendis is an excellent writer whose work quality has suffered in recent years. Considering the various titles he’s working on in addition to this one, Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Enemy, Avengers, Avengers Prime and Powers, it’s easy to speculate the reason for that is that the time has been long in coming to ease his workload. His work with the Avengers made them Marvel’s premiere team again. That the first issue of (one of) their new series is spent finding a new place to live is a sad statement.
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