Overall- (sigh...)Well, I guess I should read this comic, if only to get it over with... Reading Brian Bendis' work is like taking a trip to the dentist to me. You really don't want to, but in the end, you know you have to do it. Oh well, let's get this over with, so I can move on...
Eh, this wasn't as bad as I had prepared myself for. Nowadays, before I read ANYTHING that has Brian's name attached, before I even open the cover, I sit back, take a deep breath and prepare for the absolute worst possible outcome. Usually, if I'm expecting it to be horrible, it won't be as bad as I've prepared myself for. This comic deals with Luke Cage using Norman Osborn in order to find Skrull Jarvis and his daughter. Long story short, Norman manages to locate Skrull Jarvis for Luke, and Luke confronts Skrull Jarvis. After hearing Luke out, Skrull Jarvis ultimately hands Luke the baby, with no fuss. After Luke gets his kid, Bullseye blows Skrull Jarvis' head off with a sniper gun, without Luke's knowledge or consent.
Well, killing Skrull Jarvis, especially after Skrull Jarvis handed the kid over without any trouble really pisses Luke off, and after Luke gives the baby over to his wife, he attacks Bullseye and Venom, before he tells Norman he'd never work with a scumbag like him. With that, Luke hops out Norman's window and we next see him hanging out with the rest of the New Avengers at Bucky's hideout... Huh? Why did Norman allow him to just stroll away? That was... Unexpected. Anyway, the comic ends with the New Avengers watching Norman introducing the Dark Avengers to the media. Needless to say, Clint Barton(Ronin, but formerly Hawkeye)is pretty pissed off at the thought of Norman dressing up people as him and his friends and calling them Avengers. Clint tells the team to get ready to go after those imitation Avengers.
Like I said earlier, my main problem with this comic is basically Brian Bendis. I just hate the way he writes the Avengers. It's that simple. In my humble opinion, this comic shouldn't even be called the Avengers. Brian killed the Avengers, if not with Avengers: Disassembled, then with the Civil War/Death of Captain America. Call this comic/team the Defenders, the Thunderbolts, call them Unnamed Random Group of Super Heroes for all I care, I just don't see "Avengers" when I look at Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spidey, etc. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Namor, Wasp, THOSE are Avengers, not the cast of characters in this comic.
Besides that, I've become really tired of Brian's writing in general. Recently, I've found myself just scanning the dialogue, because it's all just time-wasting filler. Brian's dialogue consists of characters just rambling on and on, without any real substance. You can tell a Brian Bendis written comic book right away, just look for a lot of words with very little meaning. It seems like Brian is trying to cram as many words into as little space as possible. Here's an example of what I mean. This is after Luke gives the baby over to Jessica.
Jessica Jones: You did it.
Luke Cage: So we're clear...
Jessica: You did it. You did it. You did it.
Luke: This gets me out of any naggy wife stuff. For life. I leave a light on or the toilet seat up... You just handle it.
Jessica: You wish.
And this conversation then continues for the rest of the page! We get it! Jessica saying thank you, or a kiss would have had the same effect! ARRRGH! Brian takes what could be accomplished in one panel and drags it on for several pages. Sorry, bad dialogue just drives me crazy. All of Brian's characters speak with the same voice. They all talk like Ultimate Spider-Man... Everyone repeats themselves, stutters and fills the page with inane prattle.
Anyway, I think I've bashed poor Mr. Bendis enough for one night... This story was loaded with holes, and wasn't great, but did accomplish getting Luke his daughter back, as well as reuniting him with the rest of the New Avengers. Plus, this issue sets up issue #50's big battle between the New Avengers and the Dark Avengers. Score-wise, I'll give this comic a 5 out of 10. It was readable, but like everything Brian writes, it just annoys me.