The Avengers #10 - Untitled - Bendis, Romita, Janson and White
Story - I guess it's time for me to accept it. I am in the minority when it comes to Bendis' Avengers. Even though I love it, it seems that most people hate it. Now either I'm crazy, or everyone else is. Which is more likely?
Yeah, that's right, everyone else is fuckin' bat-shit. This issue was a fine old time. It was a story in the spirit of the Avengers' rich history, but also very much Bendis' own modern take on them. It utilised classic Marvel Universe paraphernalia, but in an actually new way, and was perhaps the best expression for why Bendis took over and relaunched the Avengers in the first place.
That reason? It was Mark Millar, you see, back when he was a wee Bairn growing up in a deep-fried Scottish council estate, instead of buying copies of Action Comics and Detective Comics, he, instead bought Justice League, because it featured all the superheroes, and was better value for money. This may be a typically Scottish sentiment, but it was the reasoning as to why New Avengers featured big hitters like Spider-Man and Wolverine, and why this issue of Avengers features absolutely everyone.
I take a very childlike pleasure in seeing all these heroes together, you've got all 3 Avengers teams present, plus some assorted Illuminati dudes, and even Red Hulk. This kind of gathering normally constitutes some epic crossover, but it's happening just in a regular issue of Avengers, and it's a lot of fun to see Secret, New and plain old Avengers rub shoulders. It reminds me of Grant Morrison's run on JLA, in that every story arc was like a massive event, and touched on different parts of the DCU.
And boy does this issue touch on some parts of the Marvel Universe! But not in a that way. The Infinity Gems are one of those great ideas which are all too often over-complicated and too tied up in the baggage of past stories. Bendis is using the Gems, but without all that excess gubbins, no Thanos (as cool as he can be), no Infinity Watch, just scary shit of unimaginable power, and a new threat intent on using them. Having the Hood go after these Gems rather than one of the Usual Suspects adds a fresh edge to them, and is something that is typically Bendis.
And yes, this issue is typically Bendis, it has all those individual stylistic tics that you either love or loathe, in particular a couple of those rambling back-and-forth discussions which are so contentious. I of course love them, particularly Ant-Man bugging the hell out of Iron Fist, which was perfectly in character. I know some people hate these, but hey, I love em.
Even with that, Bendis does step outside of his comfort zone a little, with a largely dialogue free sequence with Namor, Thor and Red Hulk in the deep of the Ocean.
In the end, I really enjoyed this issue, just like I have pretty much every issue of Bendis' Avengers since he started way back in 2005. It just hits my groove. I don't feel the need to nit-pick it, I don't feel the need to take it too seriously. This is widescreen superhero comics, this is JLU, this is Morrison's JLA, this is the entire Marvel Universe in just one book, this is the ideal book for any tight-fisted Scotsman.
In short, you are crazy.
Art - JRjr is experiencing a kind of critical backlash at the moment, which I suppose is only fair, he'd been working consistently for like 30 years before he started to get shit, Hickman and Spencer only managed 30 minutes! I still love JRjr, he's perfect for a book which encompasses the whole MU, seeing as he's drawn every part of it separately in his career. This book is like a greatest hits, reminding you of how good JRjr's Spider-Man was, how good his Iron Man was, how good his Wolverine was, how good his Thor was. I personally didn't see anything particularly different in this issue than how he worked 'back when he was good', he's the same. Although his Cat Beast does look freaking weird.
Best Line - I liked this particular little exchange 'I'm on the Covert Ops Avengers team' ... 'You probably shouldn't be telling people that'
Plus, this issue had a free copy of Heroes For Hire #1 in it, how is that not a good thing?