Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Enough is Enough-- The Not Avengers

Something is killing me here. I can't put my finger on it.
Wait, yes I can. Two things actually:

1. Moon Knight comes out as a regular in April. I love to see the props that the Essential is getting. The suspense for this is slowly killing me- in a good way.

2. One of the best super team books in history, the book formerly known as Earth's Mighties Heroes, now supposedly called the New Avengers, now nicknamed the Not Avengers, is killing me- in a bad way.

Now, there are two or three approaches this can be looked at. I am focusing on just two:
Writing and characters.

I wasn't going to drink tonight. But then I read Chris' review, and I just had this urge to ruin a pretty decent day and shred the Not Avengers. And I decided I needed to drink tonight because of this.

Anyways, I think the biggest beef that I have with the Not Avengers, and that most people have, is the writing.
Mr. Bendis, the man who bored us to tears with the House of M, the man who has written the most acclaimed Daredevil, and the man who just cannot get a grasp on the Not Avengers.

Now, to be fair, the series actually started with a bang. All the characters, lots of action, great dialogue. It did, it really did. I was hyped. I was a tad concerned about the team, but, that is next, so I'm not going there yet.

First, Sauron. Gimp. Took them all down. With a little help, I know that. Sauron took them all down. Gimp. We get more SHIELD stuff.

Then, the Sentry arc hit. Yes, the picture does not start the arc, but it is a good shot of Sentry. Then, boredom set in. And then, worse than that, it took over half the team to deal with said one Wrecker. Over two books. One Wrecker. ONE!

Now, don't get me wrong, he and his crew have gone toe to toe vs. the Avengers, and mano y mano against Thor, but over multiple books? So, my question is, if this team struggled with JUST him, this is the group that is supposed to protect the Earth from invasions, from mass insurgencies of AIM, Hydra, or even the Brotherhood of Evil? Don't even try to give me the crap argument that neither Iron Man nor Captain America were there for the fight. Hell, I remember the day when two Avengers, namely Wasp and Ant Man, took down the Absorbing Man and Titania, on their own, in one whole book.
And now FOUR Avengers can't take down one Wrecker? Uh huh.

After said Sentry Arc, we then come to the Ninja Arc. Ninjas. Avengers. Does anyone else see something silly here? Ninjas. Avengers. I just had to repeat that. And all that this really does is show that SpiderWoman is SHIELD is Hydra is Not Avenger. Oh, and we get to see Ron.....err...Echo. I won that bet Chris- you owe me something. I don't know what yet. Get me a beer or something.
I am having a very hard time resisting the urge to tear into the actual team.
Patience Randy, patience.

And finally, a book with all the Not Avengers on the cover, and none of them in the actual book. Not one. Unless you count the Head of Tony Stark. I don't. And, Alpha Flight got wiped in the blink of one panel. One. And you are telling me that the Not Avengers are going to do any better? Granted, its Alpha Flight, but come on man, they are not that pathetic.

Mr. Bendis, if you want to write a book on SHIELD and conspiracies, why don't you go do that? Quite honestly, that is all I have seen in this series so far. I honestly think that you would write a rather excellent series on that topic. It would give you loads of time to just write your heart out, put lots of dialogue and conversation because that's what SHIELD and Hydra apparently do, and here and there you can get to do a sneaky piece of covert ops stuff. Think of all the plot development that could be done. The long tedious moments, that I am sure you could stretch out for like four issues, of one operative's stakeout of an AIM facility. Or one SHIELD operatives preparation to take a leak.
The government angle has been done throughout the history of the Avengers, thank you Mr. Gyrich. Now, you want covert government stuff, take your SpiderWoman and go have some SHIELD/Hydra fun.

You want a book that depicts what the Avengers have umm...almost always stood for, then give us back a book with a team that can stop world threats, that do have issues amongst themselves that are resolvable, that can take on the bad guys with partial teams, that treat each other with respect, dignity and banded for the right reasons.

Rather than skim thru the 90's Avengers, look back at the 80's and before, when the Avengers really were Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Check the teamwork, check the foes, check the proudness of what it means to actually be an Avenger and to preach it. (Skip the Black Widow, Herc, Sersei, Crystal, Black Knight years. Though rather good, they really were a ragtag bunch.)
So I ask you kindly Mr. Bendis, with regards to your take on the Avengers, give us back what we all want- Avengers. The heroes who can stand up to foes such as Kang, Thanos, Loki, the Brotherhood of Evil and hell, even the Hulk. Not the heroes who struggle with the Wrecker.

Now, if I wanted to be fair, they only formed to track down all the prisoners that escaped from the jailbreak. But honestly, 42 villains? That will not take, rather should not take too long. However, what is one of their first big missions? The upcoming "threat from space" that wiped out Alpha Flight. I'm thinking that is not one of the villains that escaped. Now, the Not Avengers could certainly go reclaim those 42 villians. Dont' get me wrong, they are capable of that. But, Mr. Bendis has them not passing Go, and jumping to an alien threat (or not really alien, who knows) which they should not be able to handle- judging from "blink", oh, Alpha Flight got wiped. Stick to the 42 villians, and you are ok. Any real threat, as already mentioned above, and the Not Avengers, are OUT!

Mr. Bendis, you are an excellent writer. Otherwise, all of us schmo's would be writing books. Please don't get me wrong on that. But, know your strengths and weaknesses. The Not Avengers is not a strength. Avoid the team/group books. Your solo hero stuff has been exceptional.

Alright. Writing topic covered. I am sure I missed some stuff. But I want to hit the team next.

1. Captain America- I am shocked that you even have him in your Not Avengers.
2. Iron Man- I am shocked that you even have him in your Not Avengers.

I have no beef with these two. They should be, and always will be, two of the BEST ever Avengers, regardless of what differences they may have.

3. SpiderMan- You know what, he is not a bad fit here. He can hang with the big boys. He always has. However, doesn't he have like 8 books out there to keep him busy. SpiderMan makes a much better stand in his own books and, regardless of what I have seen Mr. Bendis write, SpiderMan has been VERY successful flying solo. Anyone to disagree?

4. Wolverine- I did not like Wolverine as an Avenger when announced. However, he actually is not all that bad. He too has taken on the big foes, and could be a powerhouse here. BUT, he is way too entrenched in the Xmen books. When the Beast was an Avenger, he was not nearly so entrenched in the mutant books so it was easy for him to be on the team. But Wolverine is I think on two of the Xmen teams, err books, and his own books, which has him crossing the globe. If not for these two factors, I would love to see him stay.

5. SpiderWoman- Also, not a terrible fit as an Avenger. But all this spy stuff, she is here for all the wrong reasons. I would swear this is a duplicate of a past Black Panther arc in the Avengers.
She is just too messed up with the wrong people to be here.

6. Ronin- Do I really need to go here? No purpose served, totally useless character. I would have preferred Murdock in the costume, even though that would have been silly. But at least he is a PROVEN hero. Who the fuck is Echo? None of these heroes know here, that is for damn sure. So why should she be on this team as a complete unknown? Untested?

7. Luke Cage- He's a good guy. He's a Hero for Hire. However, he is just outclassed in the Not Avengers. Within this group. Now, if he were on a typical Avengers team, he could fit very well. I could get used to Cage being on the team, with a far better team, where they currently don't need to rely on him to be "strong guy."

8. Sentry- Sentry has fast become the most useless character in the Marvel Universe. And previously I have given that title to Photon/Capt. Marvel. This rip off of Superman that has psyche issues? He's in all the books, but hasn't done shit except for like ish 2 or 3. Oh wait, I"m sorry, he found "himself" in a cave. Over three books. Mr. Bendis, if you needed a powerhouse, why not look to Ms. Marvel or She-Hulk. They've been there, they know how to do it, and everyone knows how they operate. Sentry, strong guy, could go flippant at any moment. Poll: Anyone want that kind of liability on their team "saving the world?" Fuck no. Can you say poor thinking here? Hell, I would rather see Namor here- at least they know when he is going to lose it. Please note I omitted Thor, since he is currently not in the Marvel U, it is not fair to include him in this discussion.

So, in all actuality, only two of them really have absolutely NO business being there. Ehh...maybe three...I'll throw in SpiderWoman there too.

Am I going to give you my dream team? Nope. I always appreciated the slight rotational basis, as a team book should. Just, this time around, don't include every Tom, Dick and Harry that claims to be a hero be an Avenger. I mean, don't be elitist, but still, have some passion about who has demonstrated the values of what it means to be an Avenger. Heh, that may even cut Wolverine out of the running.
I will say this. Thor is coming back to the Marvel U. You know it, I know it, anyone reading Archie comics knows it. Since his solo book has really been hit or miss, and usually on the miss, you can NEVER go wrong with Mr. Avenger Number 3.

I'm going to go do something else now. I'm tired after all of that.

Have a lovely day all



Blogger Chris said...

What Randy said.

Word verification: ofikuk

"Ofikuk's sake, it's another crappy issue of New Avengers!"

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Randy on almsot everything about the "not-Avengers", I think Spidey sould be on the team, it's just Ironic that there were some avengers adventures...Just in Spidey's Amazing Comic ^_^;; [They Did Take on Hydra's own "Avengers" and a Very Scary Missle that Spidey Himself disabled just before the other arch].

I Just Feel if they are serious about Spidey in the Avengers [When it becomes the Avengers again], they should cut back on the Spidey Titles [Oh who are we kidding?].

I just think that for such popular charaters as Spidey and Wolvie, Bendis' "Writing" just hasn't used them to there full potential.

Spider-Man could have been used during that ninja arch to show that they belong in the Avengers [Well by kicking the crap about of that horde of Ninjas like he's very well able to.]

and Wolverine could have been used while fighting the Wrecker, Logan [Or is it John now?] has Fough the Hulk one-on-one many times before, I think he could handle the Wrecker.

Loga--John could be a desent Avenger, but he'll have to leave the X-Men to do it, and I just can't see that happening [and with Rumors that Ares, the Greek god of War joining the Avengers, that may throw the balance of the team off].

Again, Outside of Spidey, I pretty much Agree with Randy about the not-Avengers.

--Captain Pollo

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Todd-el said...

"(Skip the Black Widow, Herc, Sersei, Crystal, Black Knight years. Though rather good, they really were a ragtag bunch.)"

Well put. Not the model to emulate.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

The team (outside of Wolverine, who simply looks out of place) really doesn't bother me. There have been worse Avengers lineups before. But the execution is botched on pretty much every level.

It's frustrating, too, because you know there's a good book hiding somewhere in this series. #4 is particularly frustrating in that regard, cause it was a great, fast-paced issue that was a blast to read. Funny, action-packed, and it moved the plot along significantly. If every issue was like that (instead of, oh, only one or two of them since then even coming close), it'd be a fantastic book.

But it's plagued with bad pacing, silly dialogue that doesn't ring true ("wearin' a Hydra robe and doing the robot"? What does that even mean?), ample plot holes, reckless disregard for continuity, and the general problem of just not feeling like the Avengers.

Supposedly there's a second Avengers title in the works, and I'm hoping that it'll A) star some of the classic Avengers not getting used right now, like the Wasp, Wonder Man, Falcon, Hawkeye, etc., and B) be written by someone other than Bendis.

At least there's Young Avengers, which will satisfy your classic Avengers craving. It's got the Vision, the New Avengers written better than they are in their own title, references to classic Avengers lore, and much better pacing.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I agree Patrick. Somewhere in here I know there could be a good book. Also because I really do want it to be a good book, and I think that is the only reason I continue to buy it. I don't want to buy anything consistently just to rag on it- that is valuable beer money I would just be squandering.
I have been pondering picking up the Young Avengers series. Chris has the first 8, so I may give that a try.

12:50 PM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

I really felt this book started off well. I liked the idea that Cap and Iron Man form this team to catch the villains that escaped, and to deal with other threats that pop up along the way. But I have no use for the Sentry, or Ronin, and those stories were dead weight.

For whatever reason (incredible stupidity?) I'm giving Bendis the rest of this story to wow me. If he can't well I've got other team books with actual fight scenes I can be reading.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sentry is goddam stupid.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Bored_Yesterday said...

Can't wait for Bendis to move on so this book can get moving.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get the "New Avengers" lineup at all. They want to stock the Avengers with Marvel's "iconic" characters so it can mirror DC's JLA. But then they put Sentry and Ronin on the team? Does that make sense to anyone else? It sure doesn't to me?

And I agree that this team is weak, power-wise. Sure, Luke Cage is strong. So is Spidey. But neither of them are Thor, Hercules, or Wonder Man-level strong. Sentry probably is, but in my mind he's a placeholder for Thor. Or Herc or Wondy. Or any combination thereof.

If you want a true "iconic" Avengers lineup, here it is:

Captain America
Iron Man
Silver Surfer
Doctor Strange
Namor the Sub-Mariner
The Human Torch
Possibly Iceman and Firestar (for people who remember 'Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends')

Those are the "iconic" Marvel heroes. Not non-entities like Ronin and The Sentry. "Avengers Disassembled" was spin-doctored as Marvel taking their flagship team and making it more like the JLA, but really it was a total dismissal of everything that went before in The Avengers, clearing the deck in an ill-conceived storyline that turned the Scarlet Witch from a powerful heroine into a fruitcake and made the rest of the team look like idiots.

By the way, I thought Tony Stark couldn't fund the group anymore, and that's why it folded in 'Disassembled'. How are they still operating? How can they hope to beat the likes of Ultron and the Masters of Evil with their current lineup? How will they stand a chance against an alien menace that took down Alpha Flight, which, honestly, is a much more powerful group (Featuring powerhouses like Sasquatch and Guardian, the speedy Northstar, the light-projecting Aurora, the invulnable Puck, the magic of Shaman)? So many questions.

10:47 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Mr. Bendis, if you want to write a book on SHIELD and conspiracies, why don't you go do that?
To be fair, he did, every issue came out late, and no one bought it. It starred Wolverine, Captain America, Luke Cage, Spider-Man and Daredevil (before he became a crossdressing ninja), and Bendis isn't just brazenly continuing it under the Avengers name, no siree.

Wolverine's actually in all three "core" X-teams, as well as his own solo series and a second solo series coming this year. But apart from time-keeping, I don't mind him as an Avenger. I'd much rather see Beast return though.

And yeah, the Sentry must be the biggest lame duck in Avengers history. Even Gilgamesh is more interesting and useful. I say they use Gladiator instead; make him part of a Shi'ar cultural/diplomatic exchange or something.

At least there's Young Avengers, which will satisfy your classic Avengers craving. It's got the Vision, the New Avengers written better than they are in their own title, references to classic Avengers lore, and much better pacing.
Oh my, yes. Young Avengers is leagues ahead of its sluggish and stupid parent title. Well put.

12:37 PM  
Blogger joncormier said...

I dropped this series the moment I realized the group formed to catch a bunch of escaped criminals and did everything but catch a bunch of escaped criminals.

That's an easy plot and an interesting plot (hey it's straight forward and could be fun). Whatever, I have more money for black and white reprints and e-bay collections.

2:35 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

It's an excellent point; when are the Not Avengers going to get around to going after some of these escaped criminals they're supposed to be going after?

Imagine if it'd taken the original lot this long to go after Loki...

3:53 PM  

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