a secret deal that will leave your mouth on the floor!
All this and the secret of the Black Swan….
Cover- Bianchi does a good job this month with the cover which illustrates Dr. Strange levitating with multiple arms reminiscent of the Hindu god, Shiva. The backdrop this time is a demonic horde. I love every inch of it so much so I would send the poster version back in time to my teenage self.
Art- Thank the heavens this book is proving to be more like Bianchi’s work on Green Lantern than Astonishing X-men! Everything works. Every freaking thing! Bianchi’s art is detailed, somber, foreboding and evocative of all the good vampire/supernatural shows that have come before. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural and True Blood all come to mind. Keep this up Bianchi and I’ll be a very happy camper!
Adriano Dall’alpi must also get his props because his delicate yet striking colors complimented Bianchi’s line work with delicate kisses that send chills up my proverbial spine.
Action- The map makers vs the other dimensional Illuminati gave us just enough blood, guts and sweat to keep everyone happy.
Story- These glimpses into other worlds our heroes are getting are pretty scary. Every glimpse more terrible than the last, they see themselves and loved one eviscerated, killed, skewered.
Villains- The Map makers make an appearance at last and we also realize that they are tied into the blue incursion events. While they lack the scare factor of the Black Priests but still manage to prove their power by vanquishing Dr. Doom, Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther and others.
The Sinners Market- Easily the greatest part of this issue. Dr. Strange, puppet during INFINITY does the only thing he thinks he can, increase his power exponentially. Just like last issue I’m getting a decidedly willow circa Buffy season 6. Dr. Strange is arguably the most powerful member of the Illuminati already. As was pointed out in previous New Avengers tales by Bendis Stephen must concentrate or needs his hands to really use his abilities. INFINITY pointed out power is not all. He was mind controlled by Ebony Maw and lead to the formation of the Mighty Avengers by summoning Shuma Gorath. Having more power may make him a bigger threat. Also what are the ramifications of losing one’s soul? For Madelyne Pryor she became a puppet for demons and went insane. For other they lose all sense of right and wrong……sure Stephen is getting godhood…….but what are the consequences to said power? Is it godhood like Thor…or Godhood like Zues and Odin? Hickman has me by the hang lows once again.
Black Heroes- Black Panther/T’challa makes an appearance.
Emotion- No comic book is perfect without some emotional resonance. Watching Stephen walk through the sinners market and what he was willing to barter with shows just how far he’s fallen. How much his recent shortcomings weigh heavily on soul. His inadequacy as sorcerer supreme lead him to lose the mantle. Doctor Voodoo took over and was killed because Stephen kept the secret of the Eye of Agamotto from him. And despite his power he became a pawn during INFINITY. To say he has emotional baggage is an understatement and their are details I’m deliberately leaving out for he sake of brevity.
Ear- Ok while I loved the entire package, Mr. Fantastic’s ear on the opening pages had this romulan/elf like pointy tip that had me scratching my head.
Great art, great cover, simply edge of your seat, mouth dropping emotional stuff from start to finish. We give New Avengers (2013) #14- 5/5