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You Decide – Which Avenger Was Brian Michael Bendis’ Best Addition to the Team?

In the latest You Decide, tying in with Brian Michael Bendis’ final Avengers issue, we ask which character that Bendis added to the Avengers did you think was the best addition (and yes, Spider-Man and the Thing were both technically Avengers before, but never to the extent that they were under Bendis)?

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31 Comments

Luke Cage, easy. He took an ill-used character and turned him into one of the more interesting peeps in the line.

Worst is even easier – Sentry.

I’ll second Rusty: Luke Cage. He pretty much was the core of Bendis’ Avengers. I like Bendis’ approach, which was to take Marvel’s biggest names, the “heavy-hitters” and make them Avengers. That was kind of the original idea in the beginning wasn’t it?

Ares and Iron Fist are the only Bendis additions i felt worked well.

CAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ‘NUF SAID!

It’s hard to dispute the success he had with putting Cage on the team, especially after New Avengers stopped trying to be the “real Avengers”, and turned into Cage’s “Underground Avengers.” Iron Fist was also a good addition, and Dr. Strange wound up working oddly well on the team after he lost his Sorcerer Supreme mantle. Also, while Bendis never did much with him, exploring the ramifications of Spider-Man being an Avenger was really rewarding for the character in his own book.

Depends on definition of “best”. Undoubtedly the one that gave me most pleasure was Jessica Jones… the conceit that she was once an Avenger was an important part of Alias, a series I really liked.

Conversely, making Wolverine and the Thing Avengers never actually amounted to anything – the Thing especially, since at least Wolverine being on the team was part of the “heavy hitters” remit. I LOVE Ben, but he’s not going to bring sales in. But at least it didn’t actually HARM the characters, like the true worst of the worst of the worst, the Sentry. He never got to actually DO anything, as his power meant he had to be tabled at the outset of nearly every arc, and the simple idea behind the character was torn inside out, and became SO badly confused when each new “revelation” about his powers and origin only led to more conflicting questions that when he died in “Siege”, it was like a big red flag that said “Yes, we realise this character was so overwhelmingly terrible that he became a representation of everything bad about Bendis’s tenure on the Avengers, and as we are treating this story of the culmination of most of what he has done on the book, we are killing him to highlight that.”

I did not think Ben Grim, did not join the Avengers in WCA Hawkeye never closed the deal before he went back to NEW York

I have to say, much as I disliked Bendis’s Avengers, my favorite moment by far was the one panel in New Avengers of Nighthawk saying, “I don’t get it! Clearly you guys are the Defenders, but you’re calling yourself the Avengers? I mean, is it me? Am I the crazy one?” It’s funny because it’s true.

IRON FISTS & STRANGE BEST IDEA EVER

Luke Cage, for all the wins!

I loved Bendis on Avengers. Easily as good as Busiek’s run, though clearly very different. The problem is, if you don’t go a different way, you beck e watered down so a Busiek clone was not the right choice. Bendis was. And S it turned out, so was Cage, Spidey and Wolverine.

I think Bendis did a lot for the Avengers franchise. And as much as some of his decisions – and aspects of his writing style – really get under my skin, I found a lot of his work entertaining. In particular – and I might be in the minority on this – I thought he did a pretty decent job of writing the main book when The Heroic Age launched a few years ago. The under ground Avengers were fine because they served a specific storytelling purpose during the build up to Secret Invasion and its aftermath.
But to me that portion of the Bendis era just never read like the traditional Avengers stories that made me fall in love with the team and concept in the first place.
Sooooooooooo….
I’m going to say that in that context, I really enjoyed Bendis’ use of Red Hulk and Marvel Boy (The Protector).
That being said, of the characters who fared best under Bendis, yeah, Cage is obvious. Maybe followed by Spiderwoman for the exposure, although there’s a bit of an asterix there ’cause for half of his run she was a Skrull.
Sentry was an interesting story telling device. I think other writers could have made him work on the team. But clearly Bendis wanted to use him as this tragic, emotionally-fragile character.
What’s funny is that we know Hickman is going to be using Hyperion, who was Marvel’s version of Superman BEFORE The Sentry, in his upcoming Avengers run.
I have a feeling that a few issues into Hickman’s run, a lot of readers will suddely think, “Now THIS is an Avengers book. Bendis who?”

Michael Howey, you posted while I was writing my first post.
I agree with your observation. Bendis’ and Busiek’s styles were very different.
There were times I thought Busiek’s run was too mired in prior continuity and worried about fixing or connecting to past stories. At the same time Bendis sometimes appeared too cavalier in his decisions to discard continuity for story telling purposes (making Scarlet Witch crazy when she had dealt with the loss of her kids a few decades ago under other writers, rebooting the Sentry’s origin, ignoring the fact there was a whole story in West Coast Avengers about Hawkeye believing Avengers DO NOT KILL, then having him try to assassinate Osborn) And, as I said, some of Bendis’ run never felt like it belonged in a book titled Avengers.
I’m grateful that Marvel has now decided to counter Bendis with Hickman, who, based on his other Marvel titles, is the BIG IDEAS/HIGH CONCEPT guy that the book has been lacking.

The idea of a Busiek clone is scary, since he was such a clone himself. It becomes like a xerox of a xerox of a xerox. I’m not saying Busiek is a bad writer. I’ve read many great things by him. But on Avengers it was just too derivative for my tastes, down to the faux-Roy Thomaslike dialogue.

Bendis was very flawed in many ways, but he really did a great thing by doing a 180 from the Busiek style. I at least found Bendis’s Avengers readable.

Spidey – ‘Bout damn time!

Luke Cage was my favorite addition under Bendis’s pen. I actually like the additions of Wolverine and Spider-Man also, just not when Bendis was writing them. Bendis got both of their voices horribly wrong, especially Spider-Man, who he seems to envision as a try-hard, unfunny amalgam of Chandler Bing and Conan O’brien.

However when other people wrote the Bendis-era team it was actually pretty good dynamic.

The best additions were Cage and Spiderwoman, because those were the only characters Bendis seemed to care about. With the exception of a few arcs here and there, Bendis’s run was not enjoyable for me. Although he claims that “Avengers” was his first comic-book love, he didn’t develop into a writer who did epic heroics very well. He’s much better off on titles with individual heroes — Daredevil and Spiderman being the clear examples here, though I’d be interested to see what he would do with Wolverine’s solo title.

Spiderman was the worst addition, oddly, because it was clear Bendis didn’t know what to do with him. He became the second banana of the series more than anything else.

Oh, where to begin–?

I was against Spider-Man from the start, even though he’s one of my most favourite characters. He just doesn’t belong on teams. I know a lot of people have countered that he almost always did well in team-ups, but that’s not the same thing. His life is just usually too chaotic to commit to any regular team, especially one as regimented as the Avengers usually are. And revealing his identity to the rest of the team (Twice!!!) was simply wrong in every way. Spider-Man was always the most secretive about his identity of any major Marvel character, and Bendis ruined that just as he did with Daredevil.
Wolverine just didn’t belong either. He might’ve been tolerable if he’d taken a leave from the X-Men in order to join, but after Logan on multiple X-teams and multiple Avengers teams at the same time made no sense at all, especially when they were located at oppostie ends of the country. But I was mostly offended by the reason Iron Man gave for putting him on the team in the first place. (We’re too ethical to kill people, so let’s ask this guy to do it for us. What kind of morally-stunted sociopath considers that to be an ethically acceptable position?!?)

But mostly I agree with everyone else here that the Sentry was absolutely the worst.

But moving on to the actual topic at hand, i e… which character is best?

Well, I have to agree with everybody else and say Luke Cage, who was never this great before. And even more so with bringing Jessica Jones (whom I’d never heard of before) along with him. I really love her now.

And I really loved the addition of Squirrel Girl, though I’m not sure if she counts as an actual Avenger. She’s more of a Jarvis.

I did really like what Bendis did with Spider-Woman early on. But then the revelation that it wasn’t really her kind of ruined it all.

Did Wolverine actually do anything as an Avenger? I’m sure he brought sales up a bit. But I can remember a half-dozen scenes of him sitting at a table making snarky comments, but no actual important Avenging moments.

I liked that one who made little jokes about everything, and spoke in incredulous tones, and repeated things that other people said.

No, not that one.

No, not that one either.

No…no…no…

Gee, it’s almost like everyone was written with the same voice.

(Hey, this is true in the Avengers FCBD from ’09, where they fight Osborn’s Dark team and some Frost Giant or whatever. It may not be true for the Bendis run as a whole, but since I’m a jerk I make the silly jokes.)

Ah, Bendis. I’ll give him this. He’s the man who somehow convinced a significant portion of the comics world that superheroes having huge, epic adventures where they used their powers cleverly, worked as a team, and acted like heroic individuals successfully was somehow boring and outdated. I wish I could pull some 1984-esque mind control on that level.

Travis:

Totally! My favorite was that character introduced with a lot of fanfare who spent the next 6 issues standing in the background.

Jidasfire:

Indeed! On the nose, sir.

I wonder how well Bendis’s run will age — not only is his dialogue rather samey when you read lots of issues in a row, but he ended his run by putting almost all of the characters back to the status quo they had before he started.

I voted for Luke Cage, the obvious choice. If you’d told me in the 90’s that I’d be reading a book with Cage as the heart of it I’d have laughed at you.

All in all it was a good run. As much as I enjoyed Busiek’s run, Bendis’s run is my favorite.

It’s sad that given how little I’ve read of the Bendis run how well I apparently nailed it. I suppose seeing things on the internet about it and then having it confirmed with my own readings helped.

Ares. Absolutely, especially how he was used in Incredible Hercules.

I’m telling you, Omar, a few issues in to Hickman’s run and it will be like “Bendis who?” and this is from someone who enjoyed much of bendis run. Just the early pencils for Hickman’s run look far more imaginative than anyof Bendis’ issues.

I’m with Travis, Jidasfire and Mike. Knocking Busiek for Bendis seems like it should be in a DC comic, because it’s Bizarro world.

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