Captain America meets up with Daredevil to discuss the Silver Samurai's escape from the maximum security prison called the Raft. Cap believes that the ninja organization called The Hand had everything to do with his transportation from the states back to Japan, with their intentions on reviving the clan to reclaim their place in Japan's underworld. Daredevil believes that the Samurai's own clan Yashida may have something to do with it because they're in total disarray just like the Hand, and both organizations may be searching for a strong leader. Captain America wants to keep them unfocused and in disarray. Together with the New Avengers, Cap leaves to Japan to confront these organizations. -summary
Brian Michael Bendis original New Avengers run had been amongst my favorite series since its 2005 debut. I have plenty of reasons on why his storytelling just ropes me in, and like the previous two volumesBreakout and Sentry, New Avengers Vol 3: Secrets and Lies still holds my full attention even now. This book collects New Avengers 11 - 15, and the lead in story to Giant-Sized Spider-Woman #1.
The plot kicks off when The New Avengers station themselves in Japan and are attacked by a large wave of ninja assassins from The Hand. This later leads them to the doorstep of the Silver Samurai who is clad in his armor apparently ready for battle. In addition to this, the terrorist organization Hydra, whom is being lead by Madame Hydra, appears seeking an alliance with The Hand and the plot twists soon begin leading to new questions and unearthing characters hidden motives.
While the book does have its fair share of action. It's Bendis character interactions along with plot twist that steal the show. I don't think I'll ever get tired of commenting on Bendis mastery over dialog. His interactions between the characters overshadows the action. His back and forth's between the group members are too entertaining and never reach into the realm of being an annoyance. He's awesome with Spider-Man, he made Luke Cage cooler than he has ever been, and he even had Captain America showing off a sense of humor which I don't recall him ever having. It's all around fun without a heavy reliance on over the top violence. Even the serious interactions are fun to read; I still remember how roped in I was from the very beginning of this book, when Captain America and Daredevil were trading thoughts on The Hand. Some really good stuff here.
I have many favorite moments with this book, but I think my personal fave was Bendis making Spider-Woman relevant again. He took this character who hasn't meant much since the 70's and turned her into a fan favorite. This book delves into her origin on how she got her powers back, the price she has to pay for them, and how the fallout of Nick Fury's Secret War effected her. It sets up the foundation for future stories. This batch of stories also reaches into the territory of Captain Marvel and Daredevil keeping readers up to date on what's going on in their neck of the woods.
David Finch pens issues 11-13, while Frank Cho handles 14-15. There's a world of difference between the two. Finch's artwork feels more fine tuned and serious with a darker personality to his artwork. I like it a lot; the backgrounds, character designs, they're all done with a finesse that describes how proud Finch is of his work. Cho's appears to have a more cartoony side to it. It's not at all bad, and he has his good points as well. He does a great job making the females like Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel sexy as possible. The action panels are alright at best with a good amount of fisticuffs, and a quick, cool battle between Ms. Marvel and Klaw, that actually felt a little too much like Klaw's face off against Dazzler back in the 80's. I'm not mad though.
Outside of the action taking a back seat to story development, and the new character of Ronin not being interesting at all. I don't really see anything about this book that can motivate one to skip it. I even think it can work as a jumping on point for newbies, but I would still recommend backtracking to the first two books though.
Pros: -Solid storytelling and artwork
Cons: -Minor issues but nothing serious
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