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New Avengers #56: Review

Oct 2009
Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen

Story Name:

(No title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

New Avengers #56 Review by (February 6, 2018)
This is another cover showing New Avengers fighting Dark Avengers. It doesn't happen, and I don't think it did on previous occasions either.

Since offering Hood power in #54 Loki has continued to appear in his female form:- Dark Av #6 in the Cabal, and Mighty Av #28-29 (admittedly disguised as Scarlet Witch).
But in DAv/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia he was male with Dr Doom in Latveria where the Asgardians are currently living (but Doom knows about his transformation back to male in Thor #602). Then in DAv#12 he was probably male, but somewhat ambiguous to my eyes, gloating as he observed Osborn's deteriorating mental state. But in the early part of Initiative #31 he was depicted as male in the Cabal with Hood, which doesn't gel with the continuing female guise here.

I've already mentioned in #54 what Hood does between then and now, and Madame Masque comes straight from there.

Norman Osborn has done a lot since #54, most recently in DAv#10-12, where the DAv were last seen, and Init#28-31(the early part).

Some of the villains weren't in #55.
All but Slug were present when Hood recruited his gang in #35. Slug didn't join until #50, the previous big battle between the gang and the NAv, and appeared since then in the Dark Reign: Hood mini.
Jigsaw hasn't been seen since #50.
Blackout since #50 was in DR:Made Men /6.
Armadillo has been in a few gang apps (not #50) ending up in DR:Hood.
Mr Hyde has been busy both in and out of the gang, last time in-gang in Punisher v8#5.
Mentallo seemed to avoid the gang since #35, and was last in Fantastic Four #558.

All chars here will be in #57 except Sentry who won't be back until #59.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers #56 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Image from New Avengers #56
In the last section of last issue the New Avengers went to confront Chemistro (Calvin Carr) who was making a mess of Times Square. But something made their powers fail, and now only non-superpowered Mockingbird is left to face the villain.

She defeats him with a little help from Captain America (Bucky Barnes)' shield and gun. She wrecks his alchemy gun and wrist blaster. Unfortunately she's then faced with Wrecker and his Wrecking Crew - villains who've gone toe-to-toe with Thor. Spider-Man recovers enough to trip them up with some webbing. But he can't stop Wrecker using his magic crowbar to whack Bobbi Morse out of the Square.

Thunderball uses his ball and chain to knock Spidey down again. Bulldozer and Piledriver throw a truck to persuade a SWAT team to back off. Luke Cage struggles to his feet and challenges Wrecker to stop him pawing unconscious Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers). But Dirk Garthwaite realises Cage is having a heart attack and does his best to make it worse. Until Ronin (Clint Barton) attacks him from behind. (I don't know why Clint, who also has no actual superpower, was affected at all by the power drainer the villains used. But it explains why he's recovered so well.) However Wrecker easily disposes of him.

Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) is here too but spends this issue just lying unconscious.

The villains weren't really after the Avengers anyway. They were just trying to attract the attention of Norman Osborn. Now they get it in the form of his most powerful of the Dark Avengers, the Sentry. Hovering Sentry's blast scatters them. But then he falls to the ground transformed into Bob Reynolds (but still in the now ill-fitting costume), who doesn't seem to know how he got here.

Then Osborn as Iron Patriot arrives with the rest of his DAv - he and Ms Marvel (Moonstone) flying, Spider-Man (Venom) by webline, and Ares, Daken and Hawkeye (Bullseye) on flying discs. Ares tells his teammates to hold back while Osborn negotiates with villains who are supposed to be working for his Cabal member Hood.

The negotiation takes a surprising turn as Jonas Harrow hacks into IP's armour to talk to him. After buttering Osborn up, Harrow explains that he now has the power to negate superpowers, and he wants to renegotiate the deal he believes Hood had with Norman. Normie wants to talk to Parker Robbins, but Jonas reminds him how Hood lost his demonic power in #54. He doesn't know where Hood is now ...

... but we find him with Madame Masque and the female Loki in Cuba. (Loki reverted from female to a male body in Thor #602, but the Marvel Chronology Project has to have him still appearing female in some later issues. But then he can look like whatever he wants, and Hood only knows him as female.) Loki has brought Hood here for the replacement power she promised him in #54, and has graciously allowed his lover Whitney Frost to tag along.

She leads them to a church and a box 'guarded' by a skeleton. Parker opens it and finds inside the Asgardian Norn Stones. Loki explains that when the Asgardians were scattered across the Earth after Ragnarok (the end of the 1998 Thor series), other Asgardian stuff was scattered too - and this is where the Stones ended up. She says they will give Hood whatever power he wants.

Back in Times Square Jonas Harrow has made his deal clear. If Osborn will deal with *him* rather than Hood he will give Norman the tech that has enabled him to depower the New Avengers while leaving his own men unaffected. But NO turns him down, so Jonas thinks he needs another demonstration. He takes the Dark Avengers' powers away and uses his hacking abilities to strip Osborn of his Iron Patriot armour. And Norman finds himself facing a much bigger contingent of Hood's old gang.

The extra villains at the end here are recognisably:-
Armadillo, a Blood Brother, both Brothers Grimm (Percy Grimes must have recovered from his mauling by Tigra in Initiative #26), Crossfire, Cutthroat, Deathwatch, Mandrill, Mentallo, Mr Hyde, Razor-Fist, Scarecrow and Tiger Shark.
There seems to be unanimous agreement that 3 of the background figures are Blackout of the Lilin, Dr Demonicus and Slug. Suggestions for other such figures are Corruptor and Jigsaw. These identifications are supported by clearer views in other apps of Hood's gang.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Stuart Immonen
Wade Von Grawbadger
Dave McCaig
Stuart Immonen (Cover Penciler)
Wade Von Grawbadger (Cover Inker)
Dave McCaig (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(James "Bucky" Barnes)
Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)

(Loki Laufeyson)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)

(Karla Sofen)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Clint Barton)

(Peter Parker)

(Jessica Drew)

(Mac Gargan)

Plus: Chemistro (Calvin Carr).

> New Avengers: Book info and issue index

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