I guess you could figure out that I’ve been on an Avengers kick as of late. New Avengers: Volume 2 collects issues 7-13 of that series by Brian Bendis, and there is a lot that’s going on to this group of Earth’s mightiest heroes.
This takes place around the same time as the Fear Itself crossover, and there is a bunch of fun stuff that happens in the first half, ranging from the team convincing Dr. Strange to join their ranks (with art by Stuart Immonen) to why Luke Cage and Jessica Jones can never have an evening to themselves (with art by David Acuna).
The best part is the second half has Bendis and Mike Deodato putting the Avengers on a botched raid of a H.A.M.M.E.R. storage depot. Following this, the group deals with it seeming more and more that Victoria Hand is a double agent that tipped off H.A.M.M.E.R. about the raid, and Mockingbird is gravely injured. As this happens, there are flashbacks of Nick Fury’s Black Ops Initiative (which gets further explored in Avengers 1959) tracking down a briefcase that was in the Nazi remnant’s possession–and later in that H.A.M.M.E.R. warehouse.
So what was it? It was a Nazi-made mix of the Super Hero Soldier Syrum that made Captain America and the Infinity Syrum that keeps Nick Fury eternally young. This could possibly save Mockingbird’s life, and there is a great scene with everyone argues over the moral implications of how it could either kill her instantly (since it was a Nazi knockoff, after all) or grant her unwanted immortality.
Really, this was a lot of fun on its own, but it was put over the top with the fifties flashbacks drawn by Howard Chaykin. That reminds me, I still have the final issue of Avengers 1959 that I’ve been meaning to get around to reading.