Review by Karl Verhoven
Revolution opens with a distinctly offbeat look at two characters not seen since Brian Michael Bendis began his run on Avengers by dismantling what they were in Disassembled. Hawkeye’s rather surprised to find he’s been dead, but is okay now, and he wants to find the Scarlet Witch. “I doubt that what you will find will make you fell better about what’s happened”, warns Doctor Strange portentously, “and you may feel worse.” Alex Maleev had obviously been looking at Gustav Klimt before drawing this, and it leads to an oddly decorative interpretation of a slight, but engaging, story.
The events of Civil War split the Avengers, and from the point the dust settled two teams used the name, each occupying a series of graphic novels, and occasionally interacting. The team who agreed with superheroes registering with the government can be followed as The Mighty Avengers, starting with The Ultron Initiative, while the remainder, and frankly more interesting characters continue to be spotlighted in New Avengers. Next up is The Trust.
In Secrets and Lies the identity of Ronin was adopted by someone in order to infiltrate Japanese gangster cartel the Hand. What with everything else that’s been going on the Avengers appear to have forgotten them, but now Ronin is back, but, oddly, there are two of them. And Doctor Strange and Iron Fist are now on the team.
Bendis tells this story well. The above puzzle is just one of several examples of how he creates constant tension by switching back and forth through time at appropriately dramatic moments, entwining three separate narratives. During the course of the book we learn how these renegade Avengers come together, see them on a couple of rescue missions, and frustrating the official Avengers in an inventive manner. In neat symettty it’s also revealed in the final chapter who the new Ronin is.
This is all amid some spectacular art from Leinil Yu, formerly Leinil Francis Yu, who’s not one to stint on full platoons of ninjas or S.H.I.E.L.D. agents attacking the team. His pages are so packed, and generally so well drawn (some cheesecake Spider-Woman illos notwithstanding) that he must work at some speed considering there are no fill-ins during his run.
Among many fine scenes and a dramatic conclusion, Iron Man and the official Avengers come calling on Danny Rand accusing him of being with the renegades, and are stymied at every turn by lawyer Jeryn Hogarth: “We have an appeal in the federal court to define exactly what is a power…”, “I hope you’re prepared to have all those files and that technology subpoenaed by the highest courts in this country…”, “Speak up. We’re digitally recording this meeting.”
Revolution is a complete thrill ride that’s the best book since the opening volume, Breakout. It can also be found with all preceding volumes of New Avengers along with some associated content in the hardcover New Avengers Omnibus.