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Spoiler free!

“Inhumanity” by all accounts, should be (and is) a disaster. It’s the changing of the status quo (for the worst). It’s turning the Inhumans into the X-Men of all things. And that really doesn’t work in any noticeable sense because then you have two groups of characters both occupying the same niche space when it only works in particular for one of the groups. When I saw the “Inhumanity” tie-in label, referred to here as .INH, I dreaded the worst. I hate event tie-ins that screw with the ongoing story more than anything, so when New Avengers #13 came out, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that its contents barely referenced “Inhumanity”. Hickman seems more concerned with his own ongoing story, which is finally starting to take shape in the form of actual plot progression.

Typically, both of Hickman’s Avengers titles eschew character development for massive build-up and developments of an epic in the making, but New Avengers #13 is a more character-focused piece in twenty pages or so than before. Although there is development of the plot in the form of Hickman-creations known as the Black Priests, there’s a lot more about character here. Reed’s ego is bruised, Black Swan remains as mysterious as ever, and Dr. Strange can’t help but feel helpless as he delves deeper into the depths of power that the Blu’dakorr (or blood bible) holds. I am extremely excited to see where the Dr. Strange story goes and what the Black Priests will do. Basically, New Avengers #13 sets its sights on creating the individual character arcs for everyone in the Illuminati while still teasing us of future stories to come.

Simone Bianchi’s art style is a welcome change to the title. Whereas previous art felt like a collection of standard superhero fare (even if said former art was extremely well done and never delved into the realms of confusion and stupidity). While not as smooth as some of his earlier art, the jagged, rocky sense of line work gives the book a mythic quality akin to some sort of ancient, arcane work of architecture. The coloring is really off though and hinders the look of the book. The inking really contrasts with the art as well, its free-flowing form not particularly meshing well with the harder lines.

New Avengers #13 barely ties into “Inhumanity,”  and rather continues Hickman’s work at forcing the Illuminati into making increasingly difficult decisions. And this is a good thing for those of us not following the next big thing every 2 months.

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