With a close watch on Reed Richards, themes of loss and emptiness appear in a comic that builds toward Secret Wars. New Avengers #29 offers:
- Large foreshadowing toward future Marvel events
- Panel choices that show depth. References to Blankness throughout the artwork.
- Themes of loss and emptiness built from Reed Richards actions and emotions combined with artwork choices.
This Review Contains Spoilers for New Avengers #29
White Gravestones, an empty, cube shaped prison cell, and an abandoned empty universe appear. Panel choices for the scenes where Doctor Doom explores the empty universe are effective.
It’s only a short panel, but Reed Richards and T’Challa standing in front of white gravestones, a field that expands far away in front of them with rows of perfect white blocks, strikes a bleak moment for the characters. Placing this panel at the start of the page sets the tone: sterile, pared down to colourless emptiness.
Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four appears often throughout this comic. In several long scenes, he answers the question: what chance have the heroes of Earth have against the multiverse collapsing from Incursions?.
Doctor Doom also makes a key appearance. Bleak and white images introduced into the artwork early in the comic, associated with Reed Richards, appear again, but associated with Doctor Doom.
The two men are rivals, and this artwork choice links them together.
Panel choices for the scenes containing Doctor Doom capture a sense of depth. Doom and the Molecule Man descend into the depths of an abandoned, blank, and empty universe In this scene. They search for the source of the Incursions.
Reed Richards is the main character of this comic. The most affecting scene flashes back to his last attempt to save the Marvel Universe, and the memory of almost losing his son Franklin Richards.
In front of the gravestones, Richards says “There’s not much else left” when he and the Black Panther count their remaining friends, and remember the fallen. Last issue advanced Black Panther’s story. This issue sheds light on what Mr. Fantastic has been planning, and what he has been with and planned for confronting the incursions.
Incursions are two parallel universes colliding. The point of the collision is Earth. Richards has tried many stratagems against this universal catastrophe. The price he paid to stop the universe tearing itself down through collisions plays out in New Avengers #30.
The most affecting scene depicts a recent event, where Richards and his son – Franklin Richards – attempt to create a new earth to escape to. The attempt did not work, and Franklin’s life was threatened in the process.
It’s possible that Franklin attempted to recruit his latent, reality changing powers, and create a new planet to safeguard everyone from the Incursions.
Franklin was gravely injured, possible almost killed, by the attempt. Richards shuts his eyes at the memory of almost losing his son. These four panels show Reeds’ descent into the blank, emotionally blank state he remains in during New Avengers #30.
Blank spaces culminate into themes of loss and emptiness. The blankness foreshadows the future of the Marvel Universe, and points toward Reed Richards emotional state. He is a super hero character at his lowest point, having faced the most untenable circumstances. What happens beyond this state is approaching in Secret Wars
There’s a culmination of the blankness shown in two instances throughout the comic on these final pages. By focusing on Reed Richards near loss of part of his family, and Doctor Doom descending into a blank, quiet universe, the themes of loss and emptiness become clear.
Early in the comic, a literal loss happens, when Tony Stark is gone from his cell. The blank, white square shape is empty of it’s contents.
Images like this in the artwork, combined with the gravestones, and the empty universe that Doctor Doom visits – where the white panels on the page create more empty squares – all add to the theme.
Adding this theme to the comic foreshadows approaching events in the Marvel Universe. Specifically, the Secret Wars, and what might follow afterwards.
Apart from this large foreshadowing of an approaching blank state for the Marvel Universe, associating the images with Reed Richards comment on what results from a character losing what he cares about: the Earth, his friends in the Illuminati and SHIELD, and his family. The Avengers and New Avengers comics have focused on what happens to heroes when the circumstances become untenable, and their values are pushed aside. Richards is facing the brink – the lowest point – now. What happens beyond that is approaching, but in Marvel comics being published in 2015.
New Avengers #29 is published by Marvel comics ($3.99 USD). Jonathan Hickman (W.) Kev Walker (P.) Kev Walker and Scott Hanna (I.) Frank Martin (C.) VC’s Joe Caramagna (L.) Cover artwork by G. Dell’Otto.