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Avengers #11 (Calm in a raging sea Spoilers)

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Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Fri May 10, 2013 10:29 am

Given my well-documented problems with Jonathan Hickman and his propensity for overly pompous drip-fed meta-plots, it should come as no surprise that when he delivers a smaller-scale, more character-focussed issue, I’ll like it a lot more than when he goes all ‘architecture of human morality’ on our collective asses. This issue makes the best use so far of the expanded roster and smaller mission crews within that roster by sending a select few Avengers to Asia to investigate an AIM auction, and by giving each of them a chance to shine.

First off, you’ve got Captain Marvel, who plays Poker with the AIM chief in some very well-written scenes that are filled with tension. Then there’s Sunspot and Cannonball, who instead of fighting AIM, get drunk with them and make friends with them, whilst at the same time finding out crucial intel. I loved this stuff with the former New Mutants, it fit their role as younger, more laid-back characters and also was something you weren’t expecting. Not unexpected however was how Black Widow dealt with the various crime-lords she and Spider-Woman were dealing with, she shot them all in the head point-blank. It was hardcore and it was awesome, I really like Hickman’s take on Black Widow in this book, she is one deadly motherfucker.

Then, last but not least, you have Shang-Chi, who gets into a kung-fu battle with a new group of evil Ninjas, the Chimera. I’ve always been a big fan of the idea of Shang-Chi, but never really read anything about him that lived up to how cool he could be. That Ellis/Aja issue of Secret Avengers was kind of like that, but I think Hickman could be on to something with the Master Of Kung-Fu. His narration was very interesting, as I can take a bit of Hickman pontificating coming from a Zen Warrior, and I also like how he’s moved on to using weapons, he’s no longer just the Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu, he has nunchuks too! Electric nunchuks!

So yeah, this was probably my favourite issue of Hickman’s run so far, yes it is part of his big plan, but it worked as a standalone story and it also had actual character stuff, which is cool, I like it when the heroes aren’t just cogs in some big cosmic plan, but seem like actual people. Throw in some very good artwork from Mike Deodato, and you’ve got yourself a winner. If you’ve been wavering on this Avengers series, this may turn you around.
User avatar

habitual

Silly French Man

Postby habitual » Fri May 10, 2013 10:58 am

Punchy wrote:Not too many words and enough purdy pictures to keep my attention.


Fixed!

Hab
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Amoebas

Son of Stein

Postby Amoebas » Fri May 10, 2013 2:51 pm

Frankly, I detest what Hickman has done with Natasha. She's... she's.... the only word I can come up with right now is psycho evil.

Hawkeye once found himself on trial by the Avengers for accidently killing Egghead. And now Black Widow flat out kills four or five people???

These are supposed to be the Avengers - Earth's Mightiest Heroes, not Earth's Mightiest Murderers.
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Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Fri May 10, 2013 10:19 pm

Amoebas wrote:Frankly, I detest what Hickman has done with Natasha. She's... she's.... the only word I can come up with right now is psycho evil.

Hawkeye once found himself on trial by the Avengers for accidently killing Egghead. And now Black Widow flat out kills four or five people???

These are supposed to be the Avengers - Earth's Mightiest Heroes, not Earth's Mightiest Murderers.



Someone Quote this, because I seriously want to breach Amoebas' cone of silence here.

You mean do things that an actual spy/secret agent does, like kill actual psycho evil people?

Hickman is brilliant. I wish Hickman or someone like him was writing Legion right now.
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Stephen Day

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby Stephen Day » Fri May 10, 2013 11:06 pm

Juan Cena wrote:

Someone Quote this, because I seriously want to breach Amoebas' cone of silence here.

You mean do things that an actual spy/secret agent does, like kill actual psycho evil people?

Hickman is brilliant. I wish Hickman or someone like him was writing Legion right now.


Except she's not acting as a spy here, but as an Avenger. Sure she's killed when she's been acting as a spy, but never when she's been in the role as an Avenger. In the second role she has always been shown to respect the code that Avengers don't kill. Seeing her casually kill people with none of the other Avengers even saying anything isn't consistent with past portrayals of her or the other characters present in any way, shape, or form.
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Keb

<( ' . ' )>

Postby Keb » Fri May 10, 2013 11:14 pm

Not gonna violate the tos but I will agree. I think he's definitely setting the stage for a great divide between avengers.

Widow has killed in other comics, particularly in the Richard K. Morgan minis. Not a surprise to see.
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Keb

<( ' . ' )>

Postby Keb » Fri May 10, 2013 11:28 pm

Also gonna say that to all you old "these aren't my avengers wahwahwah" peeps, part of what Hickman has been doing here and did in the F4 story is show that heroes in Marvel comics (or just superhero comics since watchmen) don't always make the morally sound choices when it comes to stopping baddies. Like in Avengers 8 when Cap orders they contain Starbrand by beating the crap out of him, or in this case where Widow handles a covert infiltration operation like a covert infiltration operation and kills people. Its part of where we've come to in superhero storytelling nowadays. There needs to be a connection to the everyday and one way is to reflect the way humans take seemingly immoral or untowards actions to contain a threat. We saw it in the very first story of Hickman's F4 with the Reed Richards gang. Its just a matter of how you approach it. If you read anything by Hickman especially his creator owned stuff, you know that he wants his readers to think. You can't really just expect mindless entertainment with this title because there is a lot of thought going in to each issue.
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Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Fri May 10, 2013 11:53 pm

Stephen Day wrote:
Except she's not acting as a spy here, but as an Avenger. Sure she's killed when she's been acting as a spy, but never when she's been in the role as an Avenger. In the second role she has always been shown to respect the code that Avengers don't kill. Seeing her casually kill people with none of the other Avengers even saying anything isn't consistent with past portrayals of her or the other characters present in any way, shape, or form.


That was of course in the Pre-9-11 "comics are for kiddies" days, when that kind of "no-killing" stuff was as much for getting the Comics Code seal of approval as it was for any kind of holier-than-thou superhero sanctity of life.

I'm just gonna assume that all those mass-murders surrounding Spider-Woman were either trying to do something or about to try to do something bad with her.
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Stephen Day

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby Stephen Day » Fri May 10, 2013 11:56 pm

Keb wrote:Also gonna say that to all you old "these aren't my avengers wahwahwah" peeps, part of what Hickman has been doing here and did in the F4 story is show that heroes in Marvel comics (or just superhero comics since watchmen) don't always make the morally sound choices when it comes to stopping baddies. Like in Avengers 8 when Cap orders they contain Starbrand by beating the crap out of him, or in this case where Widow handles a covert infiltration operation like a covert infiltration operation and kills people. Its part of where we've come to in superhero storytelling nowadays. There needs to be a connection to the everyday and one way is to reflect the way humans take seemingly immoral or untowards actions to contain a threat. We saw it in the very first story of Hickman's F4 with the Reed Richards gang. Its just a matter of how you approach it. If you read anything by Hickman especially his creator owned stuff, you know that he wants his readers to think. You can't really just expect mindless entertainment with this title because there is a lot of thought going in to each issue.


To me it's not a "these aren't my Avengers." If there had been some sort of explanation for why Natasha suddenly decided to act differently than she has in the past I'd have no problem with it. That's the problem though -- there wasn't one. Yes she's killed, but she's also always, up until now at least, avoided killing when acting as an Avenger. I could care less what Natasha did in panel two of page ten in Avengers #165. I do care about a character acting in ways they haven't before with no explanation for the sudden change.
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Stephen Day

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby Stephen Day » Fri May 10, 2013 11:59 pm

Juan Cena wrote:.

I'm just gonna assume that all those mass-murders surrounding Spider-Woman were either trying to do something or about to try to do something bad with her.


Well, Spider-Woman shouting, "Unnecessary!" would suggest that that assumption may not be a safe one to make. :smt102
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Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Sat May 11, 2013 12:21 am

Stephen Day wrote:
Well, Spider-Woman shouting, "Unnecessary!" would suggest that that assumption may not be a safe one to make. :smt102


Seeing as they were mass-murders/terrorists, I'm really not gonna lose too much sleep over it.

Also, I'm going to assume that Widow receiving a attache case from that courier with a gun in it was pretty much implying that she was under orders from SHIELD to kill them.

In a lot of ways, this story was about adaptation to the times. You have Shang-Chi using a weapon, you have Widow killing the killers. You have Sam and Bobby partying with the A.I.M. flunkies instead of fighting them, etc.
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Stephen Day

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby Stephen Day » Sat May 11, 2013 12:24 am

Juan Cena wrote:
Seeing as they were mass-murders/terrorists, I'm really not gonna lose too much sleep over it.

Also, I'm going to assume that Widow receiving a attache case from that courier with a gun in it was pretty much implying that she was under orders from SHIELD to kill them.

In a lot of ways, this story was about adaptation to the times. You have Shang-Chi using a weapon, you have Widow killing the killers. You have Sam and Bobby partying with the A.I.M. flunkies instead of fighting them, etc.


If that turns out to be the case then there will be an explanation for Natasha's behaviour and then I will then have no problem with it.
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Stephen Day

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby Stephen Day » Sat May 11, 2013 12:28 am

Juan Cena wrote:
Seeing as they were mass-murders/terrorists, I'm really not gonna lose too much sleep over it.

Also, I'm going to assume that Widow receiving a attache case from that courier with a gun in it was pretty much implying that she was under orders from SHIELD to kill them.

In a lot of ways, this story was about adaptation to the times. You have Shang-Chi using a weapon, you have Widow killing the killers. You have Sam and Bobby partying with the A.I.M. flunkies instead of fighting them, etc.


I do have to note that I have no problem with either of these as neither is inconsistent with how those characters have always been portrayed.
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Keb

<( ' . ' )>

Postby Keb » Sat May 11, 2013 12:41 am

Stephen Day wrote:
To me it's not a "these aren't my Avengers." If there had been some sort of explanation for why Natasha suddenly decided to act differently than she has in the past I'd have no problem with it. That's the problem though -- there wasn't one. Yes she's killed, but she's also always, up until now at least, avoided killing when acting as an Avenger. I could care less what Natasha did in panel two of page ten in Avengers #165. I do care about a character acting in ways they haven't before with no explanation for the sudden change.

It's Hickman. Explanations take time. Things need to work themselves out.

I did notice that she and Shang Chi both got the same type of case. Don't know if hers also said "resilient" on it though.
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Stephen Day

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby Stephen Day » Sat May 11, 2013 1:02 am

Keb wrote:It's Hickman. Explanations take time. Things need to work themselves out.



In truth, I am willing to wait for an explanation. I didn't jump into this conversation until Nac's post. He seemed be saying that even if no explanation ever comes Natasha's actions would still be in character. All I was doing was pointing out that I don't believe that to be true.

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