While technically an event tie-in, the most recent volume of The New Avengers interfaces with Civil War II in only the most nominal of ways.
The plot is a complex roundelay between the New Avengers, a/k/a Roberto DaCosta’s “Avengers Idea Mechanics,” the mysterious W.H.I.S.P.ER. (and its leader, The Maker, a/k/a the evil Reed Richards from the Ultimate Universe) and S.H.I.E.L.D. (driven by psychotic cyborg John Garrett). Roberto’s intricate plans from across the series come to light, the extended cast comes to a variety of crossroads and Roberto sets up his team for its next chapter.
Writer Al Ewing uses this concluding arc to provide a satisfying wrap to the story he’s been building to since the first issues of this iteration of The New Avengers. He pitches it as a battle of wills and strategies between Roberto and Maker, with plenty of action surrounding them. Maker sets a new Revengers squad against the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. complicates matters considerably. Ewing brings readers back to key moments from across the series to peel back the layers of plans and counter-plans that brought the story to its present boil.
Despite the plot chaos that surrounds them, Ewing manages to do some strong character work in the arc. Roberto and Sam Guthrie/Cannonball, cement their places as adult superheroes, coming a long way from their New Mutants days (their old friends make a memorable cameo). Characters like Songbird, Pod and White Tiger reach important crossroads in their journeys, while fan favorites Wiccan and Hulkling get the comic book equivalent of a happy ending. It’s a satisfying resolution for the series, giving readers a crowd-pleasing finale that ties things up effectively while setting up the next phase of Ewing’s story. Most fans will find it odd that Marvel has chosen to market this arc as a Civil War II tie-in. While the events of that series are reflected here, it’s mostly in the background, with the most significant impact being its explanation of the sudden exit of cast member Hawkeye.
The team of Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov handle the art chores for most of the arc. Their bright, energetic take, heavily influenced by cartoons and manga, is a good fit for Ewing’s madcap plot. The artists infuse a lot of energy and wild style into the proceedings, come up with some inventive layouts and visual motifs. They really nail the balance between big ticket action and dark ’n’ murky espionage. The simpatico Carlo Barberi steps in for the final issue, keeping the same sense of visual energy going. The artists are onboard with what Ewing’s trying to do with this arc and contribute to the sense of fun and adventure the writer is pushing.
That’s ultimately the real hallmark of this volume of The New Avengers. The creators want to give readers something outrageously entertaining and mostly succeed. The prior two arcs are necessary to properly enjoy Civil War II, but for those who have stuck with the book, it’s a winning, entertaining conclusion.