Picking up directly where New Avengers Annual #1 left off, Commander Rogers has been made aware of the attack on Luke Cage’s team. The Avengers arrive on the scene and help with the clean up and fill the team in on what they know, when they see Atlas climbing and destroying Avengers Tower. The real danger, though, just might be coming from the press conference Wonder Man has called as he exposes the problems caused by the Avengers to the world.
Where the beginning of this story was one very long and exciting throw down, here we get a lot more meat in terms of story. Bendis goes into detail allowing Simon to reveal his motives and what fuels them, which effectively gives this story a much stronger base. Sure, the Avengers get a rematch against the Revengers and win, but Bendis uses this to show us the reasons each member actually joined up with Wonder Man in the first place. Longtime fans will enjoy that Bendis touches on the fact that Beast and Simon have a very long history and he’s one of his closest friends. Their talk is one of the strongest parts of the issue, and it would make the most sense that these two would have this discussion together instead of Cap or Iron Man. There was also a little nod to Kirk and Spock’s touching moment from The Wrath of Khan, which was pretty nice.
Just as in the New Avengers Annual, Dell’Otto handles the artwork here and it has a much different feel. The first chapter illustrated a great long fight scene and the artwork played to that quite well. This issue, however, is more emotion, and Dell’Otto’s style changes up a little to get that across more than trying to impress us with cool and stylized fights. His art reflects Simon’s rage, and the book couldn’t look better.
Bendis is making sure the Avengers teams have their hands full in 2012, and this is the story I’m most looking forward to. Sure, they’ll be going up against the X-Men soon enough in a huge cross-over, but things are always better when a betrayel from within causes problems like this. Wonder Man as a villain has become a lot more interesting, and Bendis is making this much more than just a revenge tale. Though we’ll have to wait and see how this story further develops, this was a pretty strong Annual that reminds me of how good they used to be and what they were used for.