Sunday, November 25, 2012

Retro Review: New Avengers Vol 1 #16

Well after most of a decade, Bendis is leaving the Avengers books. I have very mixed feeling about what Bendis has done with Avengers over the years, which I'll get into more here in a moment. But with him leaving I thought it would be worth looking back at one of his issues.

This issue starts with a mysterious energy source crash landing in Alaska. It turns out it's a glowing man. We cut to the SHIELD helicarrier where Maria Hill is having a video call with Tony Stark about the Avengers having recently reformed. The two have a back and forth in which it's clear neither likes nor trusts the other. Tony is by the way the only Avenger who appears in this issue. We cut back to glowy guy running through Canada and Alpha Flight tries to stop him and the team is killed off panel. Hearing this Hill reluctantly calls the Avengers.

And that's fucking it. This comic starts out with 8 fucking pages of splash pages. One of which is a two page spread. This entire issue could have been told in 3-5 pages tops. I know there's a delicate balance with comics. You don't want a comic too full of text for example. But 8 pages in a row of splash pages is fucking ridiculous. Also the last page is a splash page bringing the total up to 9.

I was a big fan of New Avengers when it first came out. I thought making Spider-man a full time Avenger was a great move and long over due. While I was initially against Wolverine as an Avenger I have to admit I think he's fit in quite well. Hell, I think he's been used better than Spider-man has by both Bendis and other Avengers writers since. I had been an Avengers fan since the beginning of Vol 3, and before New Avengers I would have laughed at the idea of Wolverine as an Avenger, but now seeing him next to the big three, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, looks right to me. Same with Spidey, although I always thought he belonged with them. Also you have to hand it to Bendis for making the Avengers the center of the Marvel Universe.

So while I'm basically happy with much of Bendis' run on the franchise, and while I was absolutely in love with this book when it first started, this is the issue, and the story arc, when the honeymoon was over with me and New Avengers. I mean I know Bendis writes at a slow pace, but this issue was a fucking waste of money. And killing Alpha Flight off was pointless. So pointless in fact when I first read it I assumed they were just injured and unconscious. It didn't even occur to me a writer would kill them off in such a nonchalant way. I mean I know Alpha Flight aren't exactly A listers, but they deserved a little more respect than that.

And the villain, the glowy guy, he turned out to be the cluster fuck of a X-character Xorn. If you don't know who Xorn is I fucking envy you. I only sorta know what his deal is and wish I could forget. I say sorta because his story is such a mess, I'm not sure any of the writers even fucking understand him. And mind you this book had already seen a bunch of X-villains like Silver Samurai and Sauron.

The other problem Bendis had is he couldn't really keep pace with all the events. His story telling style is so slow and decompressed we never really got to enjoy or explore any status quo with the team before another Civil or Secret War would come along and change things up.

If you never checked out Bendis' Avengers run I would definitely check out the first story arc, Breakout, and there are a lot of other good story arcs in his run, but this one you can definitely pass on.

1 comment:

  1. I gave up on Bendis after the first New Avengers arc. The heroes never seemed to finish anything. I didn't even buy the last issue of Secret War, because I didn't care anymore by the 4th issue (which was pretty much entirely "the heroes fly to Latveria. coach.").