ALBO'S PICK: New Avengers: Illuminati #5 (Pages 1-8)
This series is at its best when it’s just the guys (Iron Man, Professor X, Black Bolt, Namor, Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic) sitting around and chatting. There’s a great group dynamic that comes out of their distinct personalities and it’s been a blast to read each month (or so). This issue takes that dynamic and turns it on its head a bit, because now these characters have come through the Civil War and Stark has alienated everyone, especially Doc Strange who has gone underground and created his own Avengers to rival Iron Man’s. Also, World War Hulk saw them forced into brutal gladiator-style fights with one another, and Namor’s empire recently crumbled around him without any of these guys offering help. And as if all that wasn’t bad enough for their friendship, add to the mix that there is a Skrull invasion and any of them might actually be a Skrull, and you get a very tense—and entertaining!—conversation. The end of these eight pages provoked an audible gasp from me, something I’m not sure has ever happened to me before while reading a comic.
Read Albo's shocking pan after the jump...
ALBO'S PAN: The rest of New Avengers: Illuminati #5
And then a goofy-looking Super Skrull with Black Bolt legs, Namor Arms, and Cloak of Levitation-patterned Iron Man armor appears and our heroes beat him up and kill him. And then two more goofy-looking Super Skrulls show up and our heroes beat them up and kill them too. And suddenly, what began as a gripping study in trust and friendship becomes another comic with angry guys punching each other. At the beginning of the issue the Skrull threat is a scary, mysterious, amorphous thing, and by the end it’s just another fistfight. What a waste.
Read AHR's review of Lucha Libre #2 at Pop Culture Shock's Picks & Pans.