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"Black Bolt is laughing at you in his mind": Graeme gets illuminated, 8/1.

Graeme McMillan

The opening of NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI #4 is out-of-character, cheap schtick that plays to fanboys even as it parodies their favorite characters with mundane dialogue full of fantastic concepts, as each member of the Illuminati talk about their shitty love lives (“You can leave your body and go to the astral plane… Why are you online?” “I can’t get hockey scores in the astral plane”). It’s also completely awesome, and easily the best part of what is otherwise a dull, plotless pile of Eh.

Illuminati is turning into a weird series. There’s something purposefully disjointed about it, with all of the jumping back and forth in timeframes, but outside of that, there’s still no sense of anything within the series having any real weight or continuity; each issue seems to have nothing to do with the ones on either side of it, and as a result, the whole thing kind of feels like a super-hero sit-com without the com – each episode is interchangable and easy to rerun in whatever order you want.

It doesn’t help that the body of each issue tends towards the unnecessary continuity implant – Who really wanted to see heroes attack the Skrulls after the Kree-Skrull War, or a pre-Secret Wars II appearance by the Beyonder? Or this issue, with Grant Morrison’s Marvel Boy getting beaten up in the name of turning him into a good guy? Yes, Bendis may be stealthily introducing the next Marvel Event and everything that comes into it (Anyone else expect Marvel Boy to become a new Captain Marvel when Mar-Vell goes home, after the end of this issue?), but that’s not enough to make each individual issue exciting or even worthwhile in and of itself.

That said, go and read the first four pages of the comic and wish that the rest of it had been like that.

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