Comic Review – “New Avengers: Illuminati Special”

The first of the Civil War reviews is up. It’s not
bad, but probably won’t generate much excitement.

General Information

Title: New Avengers: Illuminati Special

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator(s): Alex Maleev

Original Publication Date: Copyright May 2006, though
it was released
in early April (or late March; I don’t recall the
exact date).

Cover Price: $3.99 US, $5.75 Can

Past comic reviews can be found here.


After the Kree-Skrull War, Iron Man formed a meeting
of various
leaders of super groups to form a planetary protection
team. Now, in
the wake of Disassembled and Planet Hulk, the
forthcoming Superhero
Registration Act makes the Illuminati the first
casualties of the
impending Civil War.

High Point

“Well, I have to go home and fight with my wife about
this for the
rest of my life.”

Low Point

This feels like an entire issue of Iron Man telling us
what’s going to
happen over the next seven months. We know that’s
coming. We know
teammates will fight each other. In a summer event
like this, some
hero(es) always die(s), though they tend to get better
in a year or
two. It feels like it’s just taking away some of the

The Scores

This feels original because it was the first
title published
that revealed what the Civil War was to those who
don’t read press
releases. On the other hand, those of us who do read
it know that the
idea was spearheaded and planned by Mark Millar, and
this title came
in later. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork uses less “copy and paste” than
most of Maleev’s
work. (At least, less than most of the Maleev work
I’ve seen.) There
is one part that really bothered me, though: Black
Bolt doesn’t have a
“Y” sewn into the fabric of his cowl, he has an
ANTENNA that directs
the energy of his voice when he does speak. It
doesn’t take much
research to find that out, and yet, Maleev apparantly
didn’t know. I
give it 3 out of 6.

The story is, well, pretty much four
conversations. Namor
loses his temper and picks a fight, of course, but he
wouldn’t be
Namor if he didn’t. One conversation is about forming
the group, one
is Bendis’ patented “conversation recapping a more
conversation we don’t get to see,” one is about
straining them with
the Planet Hulk thing, and the last is about tearing
them apart for
Civil War, but it’s still three conversations with
very little
plot. This is hanging off of stories being told
elsewhere. I give it
3 out of 6.

The characterization is fairly good. It’s
mostly Iron Man
talking, Namor bellowing, and others listening, but
they’re all saying
exactly what I’d expect them to say, right down to
T’Challa seeing
further ahead than the group’s self-proclaimed
futurist. I give it 5
out of 6.

The emotional response is weak in the story
proper. (There’s
a preview of Civil War #1 in here as well,
but I’ll save that
review for the actual issue.) Conversations can be
interesting, but
when we already know where they’re going, they lose a
lot of impact.
I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow is never smooth, in my opinion, when
Maleev is the
artist. It shouldn’t be hard to make a continuous
story when there’s
this much talking, but Maleev has a hard time with it.
His characters
just look too static. They look like charcoal or
pencil sketches in
still life class, with “still” being the operative
word. Even in
combat, there’s no sense of motion. I give it 3 out
of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent issue that serves its
purpose of
setting up the Civil War. It just feels like a comic
that is trying to
create a need that needs filling, rather than a comic
that is trying
to fill an existing need. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, New Avengers: Illuminati Special
receives 26 out of 42.

Civil War Review Checklist

The following block will appear with each Civil War
related review,
and will be updated with links to the reviews
previously written.

  • New Avengers: Illuminati Special
  • Amazing Spider-Man #529-531
  • Fantastic Four #536-537
  • Civil War #1-7
  • Civil War: Frontline #1-10
  • Amazing Spider-Man #532-537
  • Black Panther #18
  • Cable/Deadpool #30-32
  • Captain America #22-24
  • Civil War: Young Avengers and Runaways #1-4
  • Civil War: X-Men #1-4
  • Daily Bugle: Civil War Edition
  • Fantastic Four #538-543
  • Heroes for Hire #1-3
  • Iron Man #13-14
  • Ms. Marvel -8
  • New Avengers #21-25
  • Punisher: War Journal #1-3
  • She-Hulk #8
  • Thunderbolts #103-105
  • Wolverine #42-47
  • X-Factor #8-9