The Illuminati a secret society consisting of 7 of the greatest minds in the Marvel universe. Scientists, sorcerers, mutants, and even kings are counted among their number. Each bringing their own special skills to the elite cabal, but what happens when this once secret organization is forced to come from the shadows to protect the world?
Here is the summary from Marvel:
To prevent the collision of our universe with another, the Illuminati, led by the Black Panther, must assemble NOW! It’s the most powerful and brilliant team in the Marvel Universe—The Black Panther, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Mister Fantastic, Namor the Sub-Mariner and The Beast—against an infinite legion of parallel realities.
Despite what Marvel’s description might say, the main focus of this 1st outing of the NEW New Avengers is all about the Black Panther (With an insightful yet opening page featuring Reed Richards). This doesn’t make the book bad (quite the contrary actually, T’Challa kicks some major ass,) but compared to it’s counterpart Avengers (review by yours truly HERE ), this outing is pretty tame. We get a look at what is to come with the 1st arc, with alternate realities converging on one another, and T’Challa calling on the members of the Illuminati to help him with the imminent crisis (albeit reluctantly).
Jonathan Hickman certainly wants to give this book a certain fell, but it is not exactly clear what feel he is trying to convey in this 1st issue. I get the vibe that since he is writing both Avengers & New Avengers, that he is giving them the same dichotomy as when he wrote Fantastic Four & FF at the same time. We get a glimpse of what is to come in later issues, and we also get and antagonist? it is unclear whether the woman introduced in the issue was the main threat, or just a minor nuisance. As stated earlier this 1st issue focuses mainly on Panther, we see in the beginning his thoughts on the Illuminati when they 1st formed, we get a bit of a look into some of Wakanda’s history, and we also get a feel for T’Challa’s hesitation when he calls on the Illuminati members, especially Namor (who decimated Wakanda during AvX) who he calls “the Devil himself”.
I do like that Steve Epting is back on a major Marvel title, I LOVED his pencils in Captain America a couple of years ago and his art is certainly a highlight in this comic. The way the man draws action scenes simply can’t be ignored, showing off just how BADASS of a character Black Panther is. The panels also flow pretty nicely along the pages, no real spreads here, but that’s not a bad thing as Epting really shines when there are multiple events happening in one scene.
While not as grandiose or epic feeling as Avengers, New Avengers still has enough good moments to deem it a worthy read. Jonathan Hickman obviously has a certain agenda with this comic and the 1st issue does a decent job of setting up the threat posed in it, and the cast of characters is diverse enough to form some interesting team dynamics. There is a good story bubbling to the surface, it will just take an issue or two for it to really shine through.