Page 45 Review by Stephen
Previously in NEW AVENGERS BB CC VOL 1:
The New Avengers learned that they have a problem with S.H.I.E.L.D. - the high-tech espionage unit that's supposed to safe-guard America and the rest of the world it approves of against the parts of the globe that it doesn't - in that it had been infiltrated and so corrupted. What they didn't learn is that they also have a problem with H.Y.D.R.A., the high-tech cult which is particularly partial to just that sort of infiltration and corruption.
They've even managed to infiltrate the New Avengers.
Meanwhile back in SECRET WAR (about illegally invading sovereign nations in retaliation to terrorism) everyone concerned learned that they have a problem with Nick Fury - former head of said S.H.I.E.L.D. - who's since gone underground.
Whose side is who on? Okay, but whose side is who really on? Oh, you'll think you've got it figured out, but there's reversal upon reversal ahead, and CIVIL WAR approaches.
But first: a trip to Japan to gawp blissfully the cherry blossom.
Finch delivers the first chunk of the art and does so to spectacular, muscular effect, including a chaotic fight with a hoard of ninja way up in one of Stark's rooftop penthouses. Whoops, there goes another Ming vase.*
You may have begun to suspect that a certain degree of additional reading / homework is required. You're not wrong, for the rest of this whopping tome heavily references both Grant Morrison's three-volume NEW X-MEN, Bendis's own HOUSE OF M (in which you'll learn what became of Wanda) and relies entirely on you reading the original CIVIL WAR before this book's final act.
There you'll find four short stories including one with pencils by Leinil Yu in which Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and their baby are threatened, in their own home, by Iron Man. It is a blisteringly impassioned piece.
Lastly we move on to 'The Confession', a poignant two-part reprise in the wake of CIVIL WAR and THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA in which Iron Man addresses Captain America, and Captain America addresses Iron Man under very specific circumstances which I cannot impart for fear of spoiling the first half's punchline or the end to CIVIL WAR itself.
All I will say is it was typical of Bendis' instinct for unorthodox storytelling that they are presented in the order they are, and quite rightly so for hindsight is a very cruel mistress courting dramatic irony like she or he was the last lady / gent in town.
DAREDEVIL 's Alex Maleev delivers it directly and you'll note that although in the first half - the actual, honest, titular Confession - Stark takes off his helmet, in the second sequence Iron Man keeps his mask on throughout even though the two former friends are alone. The effect is a stony silence, Captain America's words effectively bouncing back off the intransigent, impassive metal as if unheard or at least unfelt.
King Pyrrhus is referenced with good reason.
* Yes, yes, I know my Chinese ceramics. Call it another invasion / occupation / appropriation reference. It's far from inapposite as you'll see further down the line when SECRET INVASION kicks in.
Lord, but you have to read a lot of other books to keep up with this series!