New Avengers: Illuminati #1
Issue(s): New Avengers: Illuminati #1
Despite what was implied in Avengers #97, it seems the Skrull Emperor Dorrek isn't dead...
...and he's already planning a new invasion of Earth.
The Illuminati show up on the Skrull homeworld to demand no further attacks on Earth.
When that doesn't work, Black Bolt screams, causing a major explosion of the Skrull's mothership. However, when they try to escape the planet they are captured.
Tony Stark escapes, using fighting techniques taught to him by Captain America, and frees the others. The team escapes, but Dorrek indicates at the end that he has acquired what he wanted of them.
We'll learn during Secret Invasion that the Skrulls used the opportunity of the group's capture to collect genetic material that will be the basis of a new Super-Skrull program.
Bendis is a divisive creator. He was generally acknowledged as a good indie writer whose focus on crime sagas made him a natural fit for Daredevil when he first came to Marvel. His Ultimate Spider-Man was generally well received as well. But when he moved on to being Marvel's top writer, starting with a reboot of the Avengers, the online reaction got ugly.
Just to put my cards on the table, i'll admit that i like the guy. I think his Avengers run has been one of the best; certainly it was a major breath of fresh air and the best to come along since the end of Kurt Busiek's somewhat disappointing run, and his changes brought the Avengers to the forefront of the Marvel Universe, where they belong. But we'll get to that much later.
As for the Illuminati concept, i really like it. The idea that the super-groups would try to coordinate with each other makes a lot of sense, and the idea that they would keep it secret from the rest of the heroes (including the Invisible Girl and Captain America) fits broadly with the characterization of these particular characters. Professor X (the whole Z'Nox invasion set-up, for example) and Mr. Fantastic were always keeping secrets from the rest of their group, and Iron Man is the most likely candidate to represent the Avengers (certainly it's not something Cap would go for). This issue in particular adds a nice coda to the Kree-Skrull War; the idea that the Earth doesn't just move on to the next thing so soon after the big Kree-Skrull event makes sense.
Bendis' greatest strength is tempered by one of his flaws. He writes enjoyable, natural dialogue. Unfortunately, he's not great at using dialogue to develop characterization; a lot of the time it really doesn't matter who is saying what because all of the dialogue is written in the same voice. I don't really have that complaint about this issue, and in fact in this series in general Bendis writes a fantastic Namor that plays up his nasty Golden Age side.
Generally speaking, i think this is an interesting issue, with nice art by Cheung.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place shortly after the Kree-Skrull War. The Skrulls are no longer frozen, and Iron Man has had time to return to Earth and pick up the other Illuminati.
Continuity Implant? Y
Reprinted In: N/A
The Illuminati DO call themselves the Illuminati in Iron Man Legacy 6-11 (and claim that it was Tony's idea) but those issues have a lot of problems when it comes to continuity.
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