New Avengers was one series that hit a bit of a slump coming out of Jonathan Hickman's mega-event, Infinity. The book went through a short phase where it lacked direction, a phase which happily to is coming to an end. New Avengers #14 has some very interesting moments which make me once again excited for the future of this series. With New Avengers #14, Hickman continues his exploration of the colossal threat that are the incursions - an eight hour window where two Earths from different universes are brought together, and ends with either the destruction of both Earths or the sacrifice of one. It's a very complicated concept, and so if you are new to the series and wanting to get on board I would say this isn't the issue to do so. Instead wait for the release of New Avengers #16.now in May, which should prove to be a much better jumping-on point due to its inclusion under the All-New Marvel-Now banner. For those of you who have been reading this issue since the first issue however, New Avengers #14 should prove to be an entertaining read from Hickman. While his alternate earth scenes can initially be confusing, there is a clear sense of understanding by the end of the issue. With these scenes, Hickman is building up to the New Avengers' first meeting with the ultra-powerful beings from a world which refuses to be sacrificed, and if the scenes are any indication it will be a devastating battle for the team. The only complaint would be the lack of details about these beings, which have been teased for numerous issues now. But, laying all the cards on the table has never been Hickman's style admittedly. Additionally, the stunning and somewhat creepy Doctor Strange scenes are worth the price of admission alone. Hickman is doing some seriously interesting things with the character who previously hadn't had a huge role in this series. Now though, it's looking like Strange will become one of the main players, and the events of this issue alone will have a big, lasting impact on the character going forward. Why did Doctor Strange not get an ongoing under All-New Marvel Now? The events of New Avengers may hold the answer. Additionally, artist Simone Bianchi does some truly excellent work in this issue - with the Doctor Strange segments being some of his strongest moments as well. Bianchi's artwork is detailed and some of his panel layouts are very interesting indeed. It was never certain whether Bianchi would be able to reach the heights of previous New Avengers artists Steve Epting and Mike Deodato when he became the regular artist last issue, however this issue has crushed those doubts definitively. Overall New Avengers #14 is great, and one of the strongest entries in this series for some time. The alternate Earth scenes are sometimes confusing, and the lack of elaboration on the new villains on a course for Earth feels a little strange. However, the villains are interesting in their mystery nonetheless, and the outstanding Doctor Strange character work and art more than redeem the issues minor flaws. It's a shame that this series isn't more new-reader friendly as it is one of the best in Marvel's library right now. If you're yet to jump on, then don't miss the opportunity when #16 now releases in May.
David Craig is a writer who lives in the UK and spends most of his free time trying to figure out how many comics he can afford that week. It's a hard life, but you can make it easier by following him on Twitter @_david_craig to hear those thoughts of his that managed to escape his prison of a brain.