Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ninvengers Dissemble!


The New Avengers, inexplicably still fighting ninjas in Tokyo, spend this issue fighting more ninjas. Ninja ninja ninja. Then, in a mind-bogglingly stupid development, we see that Spider-Woman has been working for Madame Hydra for awhile because Mme. Hydra was the one that gave Jessica her powers back, or something. Apparently Hydra-Babe blackmails Jessica into taking her into custody with the promise of releasing her whenever she says so. Finally, the New Avengers show up at Ninja Theme Park HQ, where they are confronted by…sigh…Silver Samurai.


There are so many problems here I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll fall back on bullet points.

  • Did I mention that three-quarters of the book is the NA fighting ninjas? As has been stated elsewhere, this is patently ridiculous. I can see Avengers v. Ninjas taking thirty seconds, max, and that’s if Iron Man’s armor isn’t charged, Captain America has dysentery, Luke Cage takes some cough syrup, and Spider-Man is concentrating on picking horses in the 5th at Belmont.
  • To be fair, during the entire fight scene the Avengers themselves are all treating it as one big joke themselves, so maybe that’s Bendis winking at us, which is creepy on many levels.
  • The whole Viper/Madame Hydra/Spider-Woman thing is so blatantly a setup or tie-in to Jessica Drew’s ongoing series (shockingly, written by Brian Michael Bendis!) that I can’t bring myself to care.
  • So, after Viper tells SW to blast her and take her in, the Avengers happen upon this bit of stageplay and berate SW for running off by herself. For which her justification is essentially, “Well, in S.H.I.E.L.D. we just get the intel and then act immediately on our own!” Um, hon? S.H.I.E.L.D. is a spy organization that is so top-down heavy-handedly managed that Captain Freakin’ America has to get clearance for missions. Hard to believe they fired you, Jess. Sheesh. Continuity 0, Bendis 353.
  • Silver Samurai? This is what we’ve been leading up to? Avengers versus the Japanese Mafia? Bears repeating.

  • Thanks for the wasted page of showing Luke Cage in the elevator for four panels doing nothing.

So yeah, not the strongest effort from Bendis here.

Best Moment: Iron Man and Spidey talking about how Dr. Doom is smelly. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Worst Moment: The ninja battle. The Avengers somehow morph into the Marx Brothers, what with the snappy dialogue and all. All that’s missing is the Sentry showing up to honk a horn and play his harp. Come to think of it, that would actually make the Sentry interesting.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. I’m being generous solely for the art, which isn’t amazing but gets the job done, and because the optimist in me wants to give Bendis the benefit of the doubt on this whole fight scene thing.


Anonymous Dave said...

New Avengers is one of those books I buy wanting to like, but don't like, but then repeat the whole process the month after.

12:01 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

So many Worst Moments, but surely the most noisome was Captain America doing his "See? I can tell jokes too!" bit during the ninjafight. Cap telling jokes? Bad Bendis! Dirty Bendis! In your bed!

12:58 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Ah, Dave, you're exactly in the position that I'm in! My deep and abiding love for Cap/Iron Man and the Avengers keeps me buying it in hopes that it becomes fun again.

Still waiting, by the way.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Aya Ayuvara said...

How about giving the New Thunderbolts a try then?

5:19 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

Well they were fighting a metric tonne of ninjas... and they were The Hand which are supposed to be the baddest Ninjas on the planet, so that might go towards explaining why the Avengers didn't just wipe the floor with them. But all that aside, Can't we just enjoy a fun ninja brawl? I bought the issue for that very reason, so i could see tons of ninjas fighting. Aren't these books supposed to be fun? I thought this was fun. But I guess that boat has sailed for some comicbook readers.
And what's wrong with Silver Samurai? Is it only alright to like resurrected kitsch characters in the DC Universe?
MY question is, why in the hell is The Sentry still appearing on the cover when he's nowhere to be found in this arc?

12:58 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

craig, the problem isn't that ninjas aren't fun. The problem is that ninjas just aren't an Avengers-level threat, even for this lacklustre team. Luke Cage is indestructible, Cap's the best fighter in the MU, Spidey's faster than any ninja, and Iron Man is bloody Iron Man. It's no contest, and how much fun is that, especially when Bendis tries to put it forward as a cliffhanger.

For Pete's sake, Daredevil beat more Hand ninjas than these And Wolverine not too many months ago on his own...

Ditto the Silver Samurai. How is he supposed to be a threat, let alone a cliffhanger threat? It's not that he's kitsch that's the problem. The problem is that Power Pack would have no problem putting him down, so putting him in a double-page spread just comes across as cretinous.

And I love fun comics, but seeing the Avengers occasionally fighting enemies well below their level (when they're not spending four issues at a time talking about sod all) just isn't fun.

5:03 PM  
Blogger markus said...

to follow up on kelvin's point.
Daredvild did, Wolverine did, Elektra did.
Now this could have been fun if we'd seen the New Avengers literally wiping the floor with these guys, tossing them around, doing all kinds of weird and crazy shit and generally having a good time with an enjoyable little workout.
The dialogue certainly was going for that sort of comic relief, but the art undermined it by always showing the Avengers knee deep in enemies and fighting hard. And that's just defies belief.
To further clarify, if e.g. we'd have seen Spidey playing a bit of ninja bowling, Luke Cage finishing his drink while a dozen ninjas try to cut into his back and say Cap spending several panels figuring out the perfect angle to beat Spidey's nine in one with a tricky shield throw and Iron Man doing nothing but saving his expensive furniture, then yes, it could have been fun in a goofy kind of way.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

haha, point taken, fellas.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just shows why Amazing Spider-man has become the unoffical Avengers book. well until it was hijacked by the Other

10:58 AM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

While i didn't think it was a great read, I would say I still liked it more than you. The way I figure it, it was somewhat difficult because a) lots of enemies in an enclosed space, limiting the Avengers manuevering space, b) they still haven't got this teamwork thing down (witness Iron Man trying and failing to get them to fall back so he can just blast all the ninjas.) Most of these people aren't used to team stuff, and c) Bendis is underpowering some of these people, particularly Spidey. I mean, you're right, Spidey should be faster than ninjas, and he's strong enough to have pummeled the Firelord into submission, but all he does in jump, web, talk. Let the man throw a punch!

You know what? I think you're right. This was disappointing, though I'll keep buying in the hopes that it improves. Though I wouldn't mind if The Sentry stays out (I don't like Silver Age Superman in DC, I sure as hell don't want him in Marvel).

11:10 AM  
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7:29 PM  

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