These wrap up the last of the Infiltration issues. These will also be collected in next week’s “Secret Invasion: Infiltration” trade paperback, which also includes “New Avengers 31-32,” “New Avengers: Illuminati #1, 5” “Mighty Avengers #7,” “Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1” and “Fantastic Four #2,” all of which have now been reviewed. (See the link below for the relevant URLs.)

General Information

Title: New Avengers #38-39

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator(s): Michael Gaydos (issue 38) and David Mack (issue 39) both had their work coloured by Jose Villarrubia.

Original Publication Date: Cover dated April and May 2008

Cover Price: Each issue cover priced $2.99 US, $3.05 Can

Detailed coverage of all applicable issues of all Secret Invasion related titles can be found at this address. I plan to have plot summaries of all of Bendis’ Avengers work up this weekend.

Premise

After discovering that Elektra is a Skrull and dealing with the Hood’s crew of organized super-criminals, the New Avengers are pretty lost. Jessica takes her baby and registers in hopes of protecting themselves, and the Skrulls make a move to replace a member of the team.

High Point

The confrontation in front of Avengers Tower.

Low Point

It’s hard to describe this without spoilers: I’ve suspected Echo was a Skrull, because there are times she seems to hear conversations when she’s not looking at someone’s lips, or when they talk through a mask, such as the end of New Avengers #36. Either that was inconsistent writing or art in the past, or this was a case of Skrull trying to replace Skrull to throw Wolverine off the scent, in which case it would be more useful to gang up and replace Wolverine himself. End spoiler.

The Scores

Coming out of the “Trust” story arc, this doesn’t feel that original. Again, it’s a matter of dealing with the impending invasion. Big and interesting decisions are made, but it feels like set-up rather than execution. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork from Gaydos is better than I saw from his Daredevil or Alias stuff. There wasn’t nearly the same degree of “copy and paste” art or inappropriately molded patterns applied. Mack’s work was also strong, staying as grounded as his early Daredevil work that introduced Echo, rather than her abstract solo arc later. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is well told. It covers the characters and their interactions well, setting up the coming event. It serves its purpose in that regard, but don’t expect this to be an interesting read without the Secret Invasion to cross over with. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is the entire point of these stories. We know what people are thinking and where they’re headed, as well as how they see each other. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is good. As I said, we’ve seen these kinds of decisions from characters before, but they’re still interesting due to the vested interest I already have in the characters from the previous issues. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow within each issue works well. These are individual stories linked by a theme more than events, so there’s not a smooth flow from one issue to the next. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, they’re decent issues, which fit into a larger whole. They seem primarily intended to establish the New Avengers status quo before the main event. That it does, but it’s unlikely to generate interest in the New Avengers or Secret Invasion if this is your first read. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, New Avengers #38-39 receive 31 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

Replacing a New Avenger at this point seems pretty late in the game. Perhaps they had a more timely plant on the team who is no longer present; see the theory presented in the document linked above.