Well, to be honest, I don't hate Bendis. I hate the way he writes. I've never met Bendis, although I have been at 2 conventions where he was a guest, and heard and watched him speak once. His smarmy smile irritates the hell out of me. I've read several stories by Bendis and never been blown away by any of them.
I used to read Comics Internationale. I bought it for several years. It was loaded with reviews. And what I noticed was that, for the most part, when a book got a review of 8 or better, it was usually a book that I bought every month. If the review was a 7, it was a book that I just sorta enjoyed. If it was a 6, it was something that I had already dropped.
I don't think I have ever read a Bendis book that I enjoyed enough to rate it at 6. That's just how little enjoyment I get from a Bendis-penned book. So let's start at 6 and see where it goes from there.
SPOILERS, BTW. Although I don't see how spoilers matter with this book.
On pages 1 and 2, I find the first thing (I'll list many) that irritates me: the coloring. Green is my favorite color. But I have never been in a room that is lit in green. The color is tinted yellow, bluish-white, or reddish-white. Incandescent lighting is yellowish, older fluorescent lighting is bluish white, and the newer fluorescent lighting is reddish-white.* I really hate it when rooms are colored in greenish tint in comic books. There few instances where green lighting would apply, yet in comics it is every fragging week. Bendis trope #1: countless word balloons on a 2-page sequence that say little. Ares and Ozzy Osbourne endlessly yammering on.
Page 5 : Clint Barton screaming at everybody, everybody standing around looking timid/afraid of Clint. I don't know about you, but I don't have conversations with people who scream like that. Even when my friends are angry, they seldom even raise they're voices like that. I wooda punched the jerk in the face had I been in that room.
Page 6: repeated panels. This is another trope that's getting overused these days. I understand that it is sometimes used so the artist can take a day off, but at $4 a book, I want my money's worth.
Page 7: Spider-Man using air quotes. Gahhrrr.
Page 9: Spider-Man giving Barton the father to 8-year-old son speech about life ain't fair. Gahhrrr.
Page 17: Clint is standing outside a window. A man is sleeping inside the room. Clint grabs the guy and throws him out a hole in the window. How did the hole get there? The hole is at least 6 feet in diameter, more likely 8 feet. That's a big hole. Where did the glass go? Reading further in the story, it is supposed to be a secured room. It must have been very thick glass that would be very heavy, yet the guy in the bed didn't hear Clint entering the room. Perhaps 1 of the first 10 pages of talking heads could have been sacrificed to better tell this part of the story.
Page 17: It is revealed that the guy in the bed was Venmom. Who is Venmom? Another permutation of Venom? It says right there on the page, "Venmom tried to escape!" (Okay, I get that it's a typo, but WTF? This is a Disney book. I expect proofreading in Disney books.)
Page 19-20: Clint shoots "Hawkeye" (at least 5 times), saying, "Too bad you'll heal." Then "Hawkeye" heals in the next panel, growing Wolverine-type claws and revealing his Mohawk (which would fit the character of "Hawkeye"), then is called Daken by Clint. Who is this "Hawkeye"/Daken, the new Super Adaptoid? Yes, I see after further examination that "Hawkeye" is really Bullseye because I can see the trademark bullseye on his forehead, but this is confusing stortytelling on the part of the writer AND the artist. The top of Bullseye's head is never shown, thus hiding his hair style, then Daken magically appears in the panel with the Mohawk hair, but his forehead is not shown at any angle to indicate it is not Bullseye.
Page 21: Clint shoots Daken in the head with an arrow. The sound effect is 'CHUCK', which is used 3 times on another page. Is this the only sound effect Bandis knows? Obviously not, as he uses others in this story. Did Bendis lose a bet with a friend named Chuck and the payoff is getting the friend's name in the book as much as possible?
Page 21 and 22: A woman named Karla magically shows up. Clint calls her Karla, and tells her to get her Moonstone. Is she Moonstone or another character who uses the Moonstone. There is no way to tell. On page 21, she blasts Clint with what appears to be flame or a force blast. Magically, it doesn't hit him, as he is saved by a force field, which Ozzy Osborne orders in the next panel. Lucky Clint, he is inside the force field; Karla is outside and can't blast him again. And how did Karla manifest her powers if she didn't have her Moonstone? Unless it is also a Personal Massage Device. She obviously didn't have it ON her -- perhaps IN her?
Pages 23 and 24: Even with the 'Security Lockdown' alarm flashing in the background, Clint manages to get into Osborne's meeting room. We know it is a meeting room because of the tacky plastic chairs. Apparently Sharon Osborne decided that too many force fields would be tacky, so Clint walks right in. There is a dramatic pause while Osborne and Clint stare at each other. Then Clint shoots Osborne. But, NO! Personal force field! Clint is made of fail! Then Clint says he is going to throw Ozzy out the window.
Page 25: Magically, Ares appears. He throws Clint through the window Oh, the irony! But wait (even again)! The window doesn't break. Guess Clint's threat to good old Ozzy was just bluster.
There are too many 'wait' moments in this story. Too many 'luck' moments. And way too many characters who are NOT introduced. Not introduced by name, and not being any part of the story except to magically appear at the moment Bendis needs to make a story change or point.
Who is the woman Clint sleeps with? Is it Mockingbird? Who are the characters who make appearances in the story, yet go un-named? Which Captain America is this? Spider-Man and Spider-Woman are obvious. Is Ms. Marvel still calling herself Ms. Marvel? Who is the flying guy with the 'S' emblem? We know it can't be Superman. Superman is published by DC, not by Disney Comics.
In writing adventure stories, it is a cheat to have chance favor the protagonist. It was a cheat to have the fire/energy/whateveritwas blast not hit Clint because the force field just happened to happen just then. It was also a cheat to have Clint still have the lucky break of still getting to Osborne after the force fields went up. Just as it also was a cheat for Ares to sneak up behind Clint on the penultimate page.
"Every comic is somebody's first comic." So said someone years ago. If this was my first comic, I wouldn't see any reason to come back for more. Wouldn't know who or what about anything. Even with prior comic book experience, if this was someone's first Disney Comic story, they'd be lost. And if someone hadn't read any Disney comics in 5 years, they'd still be totally lost as to what is going on. This is pretty poor storytelling.
Start at 6 (because it's Bendis, remember; I normally start at
. Subtract 1 for crappy storytelling by the artist through most of the book (although he did a pretty good job on pages 13-16. Subtract 1 for the annoying green coloring on pages 1 and 2. So 4.
4...a pretty lame comic book. Unless you are a Bendis fan, an Avengers fan, or a Marvel zuvembie, you don't need this comic.
Norman Osborn is in no way related to Ozzy Osbourne. The name Ozzy Osbourne was used here for comedic effect; I found it funny, even if you didn't.
This review was originally intended to be posted 24 hours ago, but I'm old, man. I got tired and took a nap.
*Standard fluorescent tube lights are size T-12. The newer fluorescent tube lights are size T-8. The number after the 'T' is the number of eighths-of-an-inch, so T-12 equals 1.5 inches, and T-8 equals 1 inch. (US measurements, naturally.) For some reason, the newer lighting gives off more red light. If you have a sunburn, it looks horrifically bad under the new lights.
I was perfectly content before I was born.