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The Avengers #1 Project: Avengers Finale #1

Written by Jerry Steinhelper on Sunday, June 06 2010 and posted in Reviews

Either the a shining ending for the Avengers or a slap in the face. 

Two polar opposites (Richard & Jerry) go a full 180 each on the topic...

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

Avengers Finale #1
January 2005
Published by Marvel Comics

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by David Finch, Alex Maleev, Steve Epting, Lee Weeks, Michael Gaydos, Eric Powell, Darick Robertson, Mike Mayhew, David Mack, Gary Frank, Mike Avon Oeming, Jim Chueng Steve McNiven & George Perez
Inking by Danny Miki, Eric Powell, Mark Morales & Mike Perkins
Lettering by Albert Deschesne
Colors by Frank D'Armata, Brian Reber, Morry Hollowell, Andy Troy, Pete Pantazis & Justin Ponsor
Edited by Tom Brevoort
Cover by Neal Adams


Twiglet & I decided to have it one day and the results are as follows...

Love Letter.

The dictionary defines it as a “personal letter to a loved one expressing affection”. To Brian Michael Bendis, he defines it as Avengers Finale.

After the Avengers “Worst Day Ever”, the team reunites just long enough to say goodbye. It's a beautiful and thought provoking experience as these characters exchange the lessons they've learned over the years. Never has a book had so much heart.

And if anyone is buying this bull I've also got a bridge for sale.

Three months after Avengers Disassembled, the surviving core members of the team meet at the rubble that was Avengers Mansion. They talk. And then they talk. And then for a change of pace they talk some more. Quicksilver stops by to talk, and after he leaves the gang talks some more. And then they talk about reminisces. Then they reminisce about talking and then finally they get to the booze where they toast and talk.

And then they quit. The Avengers just quit.

Brian Michael Bendis' controversial Avengers Disassembled was the first arc in what has proven to be a seven year epic story, which in my opinion has led to the Avengers franchise being stronger than ever before.

In Avengers Finale #1, Brian Michael Bendis proves not only does he know how to handle writing his new breed of Avengers, but he had quite a grasp on the old crowd as well. Featuring art by some of the greatest talents in the business, Avengers Finale #1 is a great comic to end the Avengers franchise, and usher in a new period of Marvel history.

By the end of the issue, old Avengers favorites like Giant Man, Wasp, She-Hulk and Falcon all decide to move on from the Avengers, but instead of the quick frantic pace of Avengers Disassembled, we get a slow paced character piece, which is very moving, and written exceptionally well.

The Avengers didn't just quit, they went out in style.

Avengers Finale #1

So, I’ve got the issue here, how about you?

Yeah just got it here. Great issue.

We’ll see. The book opens with a single panel of Avengers Mansion post Avengers Disassembled. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne walk towards the Mansion amidst the ruble. Interesting that the Mansion looks completely different from the first page. I guess Maleev didn't have a photo reference and just winged it.

It's a different artist’s interpretation, if something that minor and petty bothers you in a book where there is an ensemble of different artists, then I guess you'd never finish any book with a lot of different art styles, Maleev is a great artist and the wreckage from the first page portrays the damage from Avengers: Disassembled great.

An editor's job though should be to keep some consistency, but more on Brevoort later. Can you explain why the Mansion is still smoldering after three months?

No, and you can't explain something like that. But that’s a minor point, the mansion smoldering and the starkjet still there indicates the powerfulness of what happens. It's there to show you where Hank Pym and the Wasp are. I think it's a great opening splash, and the lack of dialogue with the wide spread of the building, is a great opening to the finale of the Avengers.

Well it can be explained (editor mistake) and since the status of the building is a talking point later in the book I think its fair game. Script wise I also find it odd that the Wasp finds all the destruction "beautiful" when Bendis went well out of his way to sell the horror that Disassembled as "The Worst Day Ever". But errors aside it is a good opening scene.

I'm glad we agree there. And I don't think it's weird for the Wasp to say that at all, it's said she finds it beautiful in a "weird way" and in a way the Avengers Mansion does look beautiful, especially in that Maleev opening. But yeah, seeing the start of this issue through Janet and Hank was a great move, especially after they were there from the very first Avengers #1.

The next page featuring the Avengers is done by Finch, and as a person very heavily associated with the Avengers in recent years, I think he has a great interpretation to the characters. And whilst Bendis' dialogue isn't for everyone I think it's used well here.

The Avengers gather inside the wrecked mansion. There are plenty of sad faces. It's interesting that some show up in costume while others are in civvies (weird that Ms Marvel does both).

I don't know, the ones that show in costume, like Iron man, Captain America and Wonder Man all seem willing to continue with the Avengers. She-Hulk, the Pyms, and Falcon seem to want out. It's a good way to show how the characters are feeling visually.

Good observation (I guess that means Carol was undecided (even though she's the first to quit)). I also see that Bendis puts Tony Stark on his future path with his infamous 'Please don't lie for me but would you please lie for me' speech. Followed by his 'I'm broke and we must stop being Avengers' spiel. Bendisspeak is in high gear as he talks and talks and ultimately just says a bunch of malarkey. The Avengers are so much more than Tony Stark's money. I know Bendis wanted to end 'this' Avengers and get on with his, but ending the team because Tony can't afford it is a joke. There's any number of Avengers that could fund them (T'Challa is probably more wealthy than Stark for instance. Janet is a multi-millionaire, Namor could spend an afternoon treasure seeking the ocean floor, etc)...

The thing is though; it's not just Tony is it? I mean you say they "speak a bunch of malarkey" but they all give valid reasons for wanting to leave. Wanda is gone, Thor, Vision, Ant-man, Hawkeye and Jack of Hearts have all just died in front of them. Can you see why people like She-Hulk wouldn't want to remain on the team? And when you're taking away all those dead, She-Hulk, the Pyms etc etc, you can see why for the moment, the Avengers doesn't seem to be a worthwhile concept. All humans would have doubts about their worth when something like this has happened, and eventually as you see, most of these people return.

This brings up the whole concept of them quitting. This is quite simply, something that Avengers do NOT do. It's spitting in the eye of all who have fallen for them over the years. Can anyone imagine Hawkeye, who lived and breathed Avengers, what would he say to them for quitting because he got blown up? He'd smack Cap in the face for the very thought of it. When you fall off the horse you get back up. You don't cry in your soup and leave the Earth unprotected for 3 months (and soon another 6 months before the team gets back together).

But the thing is look at what the Avengers have gone through, who would the Avengers have left? She-Hulk ripped the Vision in half, it wasn't in half, but imagine what that does to you! No wonder she wants to quit. What has Pietro got anymore? Hawkeye might slap them for doing it, but it's hard to do something what someone would want you to do, when they're not there. If someone close to you died in real life, imagine how you'd feel, you wouldn't get right back into the swing of things, especially if you doubt your own actions. This version of the Avengers had just seen friends kill friends, and each of their lives had been torn apart. Bendis here shows enough reasons for the Avengers to end.

I know it's jumping to the very last page, but as the team walks out to the mass of people in candle light vigil outside the (no longer smoldering) mansion what do they say to them? "Hi, thanks for coming. You love us for being your heroes but we're stopping now so go home and support the FF instead." “Ah Cap, keep the team together – do it for Hawkeye!”. “No – we’ve decided that we’re done”. Yeah, right.

The Avengers have seen their share of comrades fall. They didn't quit then (but then they had writers who understood the core concept). Avengers do NOT quit. But apparently Bendis's Avengers do.

But Captain America didn't quit. Neither did Iron Man. And Ms Marvel carried on as well. It's just they weren't prepared to work under the Avengers name for the moment. I think that's fair enough.

I'm not saying the individuals heroes quit, I'm saying the Avengers quit. Ever since Roy Thomas knit the team together way back when, the Avengers are almost a unique persona unto itself.

Well if they were needed together, I'm sure they would join back up, the fact is though that they've seen their friends killed in front of them, and for some they need a break. I think that's entirely human. I can't fault it at all.

And I'd agree with you if these were normal people, but they're not. They're Avengers. That's something completely different. They know they are better together than they are solo, the whole "to fight the foes no single hero could withstand" bit wasn’t just an empty phrase. It's just pure dumb luck that the Earth wasn't invaded during those 9 months I guess. But moving on...

I guess we're getting to the main part of the book, which is where this book really shines. The Avengers recall their favorite ever moments, in some beautifully drawn pages.
Artists like Gaydos, Robertson (what happened to him) Oeming and Cheung are some of the best in the business. Oh and someone named Perez who I think you like shows up as well.

But you missed all the silliness with Carol hating Wanda (even though they were best friends), Pietro (in what I think is the best scene of the book) trying to find the words (Bendis finally learned less is more) and the Beast asking a ton of questions as to what Disassembled was all about (funny that Bendis recognizes he has holes in his own story).

Yeah sorry. Carol hating Wanda is understandable. Imagine your best friend, whom you'd trusted turned crazy and kills some other people you love. There's only so much you can take. Pietro’s scene is great, (what a great character).

The reminiscing pages are for the most part beautiful. Particularly strong are the Powell, Mack, Frank & Chueng pages. The Oeming page is the weakest of the bunch.
With those double pages comes much Bendisspeak with the Avengers recalling their most memorable times with the Avengers. For some odd reason the majority of them all pick moments that they weren’t present for. Hank Pym best Avengers moment was the Kree Skrull War that he wasn't even there for? This while the scene where he finally beats Ultron is for some unknown reason the Falcon's favorite. Huh?

I think that fits perfectly with the whole theme of Bendis Avengers book. The thought of being an Avenger is much better than being one. Whilst Captain America is the best of the best, these people like the Falcon and Hank Pym had greatness thrust upon them, and look where they've ended up. I think it says a lot about them.

The book ends with the best of all the artists involved. George Perez is simply stunning (as usual). His 6 pages are the best part of the book (to look at).

They are great in all fairness

The toasting scene works so well (and George took care to make sure Tony and Carol didn't hit the wine like the rest).

George took care, or Bendis took care

Bendis couldn’t get it straight that Wanda knew about her kids. No this was either George (who drew Carol during her drunken years) or Brevoort.
The final scene is heartbreaking. So many people have come to show their support for the team. To have them quit is still wrong after all these years.

Knowing what we know now about what comes next, I think everyone with any taste can say it was worth it. Really is the start of something beautiful.

In Summary - This book works because of the humanizing of the Avengers. Bendis realizes the silver age of comics worked in absolutes, and that making the characters more humane and humble, would vastly improve the Avengers line.

My summation - this books falls flat because of its misunderstandings what the core concept of the Avengers were about. Sure Bendis would do something very different but he could have done that with the Defenders or Champions name. He didn't.

The art is 50/50 and it bugs me to this day that the closing chapter on who the Avengers were only had one ex-penciler attached to it (not counting Adam's cover). Buscema, Byrne, Tuska, Hall, Cockrum, Epting, hell even Milgrom would have been cool. Why close the door (or slam as the case may be) with new artists?

Because as much as this was about the end of the Avengers, it was about the future as well. Finch is now also heavily associated with the Avengers, and other artists in this book like McNiven, Cheung and Maleev are some of the best in the business.

And here I think is the key difference. I see this as an ending (hence the quitting and word “finale” in the books title) while you see it as a birth.

The birth of something oh so beautiful

(insert 'roll-eyes' here)


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