X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
The Avengers franchise offers two jumping on points; will I stick around for the ride or get off at the next stop?
I’ve never been much of an Avengers fan (unless Jeff Parker was writing them), but I’m open to giving them a shot. Let’s see if the latest jumping on points for Marvel’s current top franchise can win me over.
Dark Avengers #1- I’ll admit; I only bought this because I had some spare money in my comics budget for the week and wanted to do this tandem review. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it; I mean, the name alone makes me roll my eyes. I’m lucky I haven’t read much about it, or I might have a seizure.
That said, I thought this was a solid first issue. It was purely “a gathering of the team” story, but Bendis did it in a pretty engaging way, I thought. People who say nothing happens in Bendis comics can certainly jerk their knees with that reaction and not to be too far wrong (given that the story begins and ends with the same scene). There’s not much action to speak of, but I did find Osborn’s interaction with the rest of the cast interesting here. He doesn’t come off as a pure villain to me here (although Iron Patriot? Seriously?)
Also, Bendis deserves points for eschewing much of an attempt at Dr. Doom dialogue; he gives him one (pretty great) line. That’s noteworthy, if only because the internet can find another thing to be annoyed by in superhero comics/make memes out of.
Thematically, this is the original premise of Thunderbolts, but with characters who can’t possibly be redeemed, so I can agree with Hibbs that this lacks any kind of hook that would make it sustainable beyond Dark Reign. Of course, we are one issue in, so maybe expecting
hints at a new direction is a bit early.
Maybe this is a case of the book overcoming my low expectations. I mean, it didn’t give poisoning or stab me; it must be great! But it worked for me more than any of Bendis’s other Avengers work (although, to be fair, I’ve only read a small sample size of his run thus far). I’m not going to follow it monthly (especially at $4 a pop), but I’m more inclined to pick up the inevitable trade now.
Where DA was an impulse purchase, I intended to pick up Dan Slott’s first issue of Mighty Avengers when I went to the shop. From She-Hulk to his issues of Brand New Day Amazing Spider-Man, the man’s been the most consistently entertaining writer in Marvel’s stable for years. He writes comics that capture the spirit of the best of the company’s history without being tediously old school (well, for my taste, at least). If anyone could get me in to an Avengers comic that doesn’t involve the team being Modoked, it’s him.
One issue in, I’m not head over heels in love with it, but there was a lot to like about this issue. If nothing else, Slott writes a good Herc and Cho, so that goes a long way in my book. There’s a lot going on here plot wise, with the team being gathered as the big, possibly biblical, threat establishes itself (by appearing to kill the New Avengers at one point), and that’s always a plus. I also like the way he handles Wanda’s return. There’s even something close to a “fuck yeah!” moment in there.
If there’s one stumbling block for me here, it’s the same as Sims; I’m not really emotionally invested in any of the characters except for Herc and Cho, and they already have their own comic. Pym as the lead is especially troublesome. Not because he’s been so tied to being “the superhero who beats his wife” since Mark Millar brought that back to the forefront in Ultimates, but more because I’ve always found him terribly boring, and giving him an inferiority complex to Iron Man doesn’t change that. He’s fine in what I’ve read of Slott’s Avengers: Intiative, but that’s an ensemble book. He’s a main character here, so that could be a stumbling block , even if I am interested in seeing someone “rehabiltate” him, just for the challenge there. Especially after his most recent screw up involved being seduced by a Gwen Stacy Skrull. Seriously, what was that about?
That said, I enjoyed this more than he did. I could see following Slott’s run here, although it will likely be in trades. I need to start reading less monthly superhero comics, not more, and even if I didn’t, it would be a borderline book as a monthly.
So, I found both of these books to be solid first issues. I’ll probably check out both in future collected editions. That is actually the highest praise I’ve ever given any (non-Jeff Parker written) Avengers comics, so keep that in mind.
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