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Month of Cool Avengers/X-Men Comic Book Moments – The Avengers Cut a “Deal” With J. Jonah Jameson

All month long we will feature brand-new Cool Avengers and X-Men Comic Book Moments in celebration of their fiftieth anniversaries this month. Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far over the years.

Today we look at New Avengers #15 and how the Avengers cut a deal with J. Jonah Jameson…

New Avengers #15 was written by Brian Michael Bendis and was drawn by Frank Cho. The issue featured the public debut of the New Avengers roster, including Spider-Man’s first time as an active member of the team. Naturally, then, the Avengers were a bit concerned about how the media would handle this news…

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Awesome moment.

Almost makes you think that THAT is going to be the moment, right?

Then the introduction of the team…

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And, of course…

Classic. Although re-reading it now, I guess I don’t like how Robbie Robertson says he’ll quit if Jameson says no and then obviously doesn’t quit when Jameson not only says no, but puts the Avengers on full blast. In addition, even as I’m writing this, would Robertson really push for something like that? Exclusive access in exchange for laying off of Spider-Man? I mean, I guess yes because Robertson was never a fan of getting on Spider-Man in the FIRST place, but making such a trade seems kind of iffy from an ethical standpoint, no?

Anyhow, really well handled moment by Bendis and Cho. First the striking handshake and then, well, the twist. Good stuff.

22 Comments

All of the images cut-off.

I don’t see why not. I didn’t take it as “You will never report bad stuff about Spider-Man even if he commits axe murders” and more about Jameson’s deranged slant. Robbie probably saw it as a win-win.
I remember there was one of the Marvel Spider-Man novels from the 1990s that said Jonah’s anti-Spidey editorials were such a joke to New Yorkers that they’d become a staple parody on SNL. I can totally see that.

What exactly is the “Spider-Man Clone is a Menace” headline in the 2 page spread referring to? I never read much of the Clone Saga stuff, but I was under the impression that it would not have been general knowledge that there was a clone of Spidey running around.

Yeah, I think that as much as Robbie doesn’t agree with Jonah’s viewpoint on Spidey, he wouldn’t be willing to surrender the right to criticize the Avengers as necessary just for exclusive access. It’s not like any of the OTHER anti-Spidey headlines and stories have driven Robbie to quit.

I don’t really like that Jonah shook hands with Spidey either. I don’t see Jonah as someone who’d say one thing, like seeming to agree to this here, and then turn around and cover it differently. I’d think he’d tell them off and show his ire at them for trying to “buy him off” right then and there. It’s sorta Jonah-ish, what he does here by sticking it to them later, but I think JJJ has a bit more integrity than that.

Is Bendis trying to make JJJ into the dick here, because I don’t see it. I see where Tony’s getting set up to be the dick in Civil War because Tony’s essentially a rich guy who expects everyone to kowtow to him, and here has the gall to be annoyed at someone who won’t be bought off. It’s a bit disturbing that Cap is willing to go along with this plan, too, instead of adhering a bit more to that pesky little First Amendment thing we’ve got.

Issue 15 and the team is JUST going public? Oy.

I agree with Travis’s critiques. Also, Bendis’s Spider-Man voice just feels so, so wrong. I always read his Spider-Man as an extra-annoying Chandler Bing from Friends, which just feels wrong to me. He writes him as the annoying tag-along kid brother of the group.

What I thought Bendis was going for was to have Jameson technically stick to his agreement and leave Spider-Man alone, but then proceed to bash the other Avengers mercilessly in his op-ed while staying mum on Spider-Man. I thought it would be one of those “be careful what you wish for” moments because he technically would be honoring their agreement by not bashing Spider-Man. Wwhen confronted, he could then say “I never said anything about not calling the rest of you menaces.” That’s what I thought was the punchline when Luke Cage started reading. However when he reached the point where he still bashed Spider-Man anyway, then it became an issue of Jameson just straight up lying to their faces, which bugged me.

I also agree with Travis’s critiques about not being able to see Captain America and Robbie going along with the whole thing. But then again, Bendis had a few issues earlier a scene where Iron Man and Cap are discussing why they should recruit Wolverine, and they basically say they may need someone who can “go where they can’t,” implying they may need him to commit murders on their behalf. After that ultimate WTF out of character moment, any other out of character moments in Bendis’s run pale in comparison.

T:”Also, Bendis’s Spider-Man voice just feels so, so wrong. I always read his Spider-Man as an extra-annoying Chandler Bing from Friends, which just feels wrong to me. He writes him as the annoying tag-along kid brother of the group.”

Spot-on, T. Bendis’ take on Spider-Man always felt “off” to me, too. For that matter, I didn’t really care for Cho’s art in this issue. Seriously, drawing Spider-Man hugging himself like some kind of emo teenager?That’s not Spider-Man. Go back and read the Ditko-Lee run, and you’ll see that there was a lot of anger in Peter Parker. He was never a passive whiner. To the contrary, he was always worried about his rage breaking loose.

trajan: Sorry to come off like I’m defending one of my “pet heroes”, but I don’t see how any of that is Cho’s fault. Obviously, neither of us has seen the script (well, I assume on your part), but I doubt Bendis just wrote “Spider-Man is there”. He most likely described what he was doing, and even if he didn’t, that body language fits what Bendis wrote for him.

Full disclosure: Frank Cho is possibly my favorite current comic artist.

Trajan, I agree. Spider-Man under Lee/Ditko was never so deferential or meek around other heroes. His jokes around them were more irreverent and dedicated to taking the piss out of them. This is a guy whose first interactions with the Fantastic Four and Human Torch was to taunt them, fight them, then flip out on them before leaving in a huff. He was very much a hothead and even though he joked a lot of his humor came from a dark, frustrated, angry place.

I think the problem is that a lot of modern writers grow up watching an inordinate amount of TV and movies by the time they hit their 20s, much more than people of generations past. So they have more experience with tv and movies than real living and breathing people when compared to people of several decades ago. That causes them, when they write modern media, to write everyone as a familiar 2-dimensional TV trope than trying to write a human being. So because Spider-Man makes jokes, the character himself must be a joke, comic relief of the group. Bendis seems unable to grasp a more complex take on the character that transcends screenwriting 101 tropes.

trajan, TJCoolGuy, I have read several places that Bendis writes full-script and not with the Marvel Method, so I think it’s probably not his fault. Especially because I’ve seen him draw Spider-Man under other writers and it was nowhere near as emo.

Bendis’ characters either A) All sound the same or at the very least B) Don’t sound like the character always has. This scene only reinforces my opinion for myself.

I’ve found it helps to read Bendis’s comics with a laugh track. Specifically one from a late ’80′s sitcom such as Married with Children.

Agreed on Bendis’s dialogue. It’s sometimes clever as a thing in itself, but he really doesn’t seem to care about characterization or who says what. It’s downright bizarre to read his dialogue for Emma Frost now, for instance. Other writers sometimes make her a parody of herself with all the “If I must X, I shall simply Y,” but Bendis doesn’t make her talk any different than Carol Danvers or Jessica Drew or anyone else. It’s like he’s never read an X-Men comic.

@fraser: That would be a fair reading, but not in the same story where Spider-Man is having so much angst over the matter. Cap is taking it seriously as well, to the point of inviting Jameson there to vouch for Spidey.

I really have to agree with what everyone here said about J. Jonah Jameson acting out of character. I mean, the guy is arrogant & greedy, has some hugely glaring moral blind spots, and possesses a majorly skewed take on reality when it comes to anything having to do with Spider-Man. But Jameson has always regarded himself as a man of integrity. I just cannot see him giving the Avengers his word and then immediately going right back on it. Rather, JJJ would look Cap and Iron Man right in the eye, arrogantly tell them “There is no way in hell you’re going to buy me off,” and then indignantly storm out of the building.

Just look at that scene from Uncanny X-Men #346 that was spotlighted in the “Top Five Guest Appearances by Non-X-Men Related Marvel Characters in the Pages of X-Men” a few days ago. Yeah, Jameson absolutely does not trust the X-Men, or most any superhumans. But he sure as hell doesn’t trust Bastion, either. And rather than accepting Operation Zero Tolerance’s files on the X-Men and exposing the mutants’ secrets to the world in the pages of the Daily Bugle, Jameson destroys the computer disk without even looking at it, telling Bastion that he’s going to find out the facts on his own, rather than just accepting them on blind faith from someone with a hidden agenda. Now THAT is how you write J. Jonah Jameson.

I always thought it was weird when Spider-Man got so much bad press while Captain America and other heroes who everybody loved hung out with him on a pretty regular basis. But eventually it was just JJJ who was hating on him.

Same thing with the X-Men. You’d think that Cap, Thor, whoever would stick up for them in the press. “Uh, yeah, the X-Men just saved the world eight times in a row, guys. Maybe the anti-mutant thing is stupid.”

T:”Trajan, I agree. Spider-Man under Lee/Ditko was never so deferential or meek around other heroes. His jokes around them were more irreverent and dedicated to taking the piss out of them. This is a guy whose first interactions with the Fantastic Four and Human Torch was to taunt them, fight them, then flip out on them before leaving in a huff. He was very much a hothead and even though he joked a lot of his humor came from a dark, frustrated, angry place.”

Yeah, that’s a good analysis of Spider-Man’s use of humor, T. There was always an aggressive edge to it, as though the jokes were a kind of substitute for physical violence.

TJCoolguy:”trajan: Sorry to come off like I’m defending one of my “pet heroes”, but I don’t see how any of that is Cho’s fault. Obviously, neither of us has seen the script (well, I assume on your part), but I doubt Bendis just wrote “Spider-Man is there”. He most likely described what he was doing, and even if he didn’t, that body language fits what Bendis wrote for him.

Full disclosure: Frank Cho is possibly my favorite current comic artist.”

I like Cho, too. He’s one of the few contemporary artists with a good grasp of female anatomy. Given T’s comments about Bendis’ use of a full script, I agree that it is likely that Cho was just drawing what he was asked to draw.

Okay guys, you’ve convinced me. And no, it’s not like Jameson to go back on his word. Heck, even when the Kingpin dragged him and told him to shut up about organized crime, Jameson’s response was “go to hell!” not to bluff.
And as far as Spidey being deferential, he certainly got his shots in at Jonah over the years too.
I love the scene in Busiek’s Amazing Fantasy 16 where Spider-Man’s just going down under an army of goons when to his own surprise he starts finding a well of smartass wisecracks inside himself (“Hey, this is not how you play Twister!”).

For me, the perfect example here of Bendis’ dialogue making all the characters sound the same is that Tony Stark doesn’t know the word “asset.”

He’s Marvel’s captain of industry. And he doesn’t know Econ. 101 vocabulary?

Bendis only writes one Spider-Man, and that’s Ultimate Spider-Man. It doesn’t matter if it’s 616 Spidey or Ock Spidey, it’s all just Ultimate Spider-Man to Bendis.

I thought it was weird that Tony didn’t know that the opposite of a liability is an asset. I know he’s not a hands-on business man, but that struck me as Bendis trying to be funny and not quite hitting the mark.

“Beltsville” on Wolverine’s T-Shirt….A shout out to “Liberty Meadows”, Cho’s AWESOME series!…..

I’ve found it helps to read Bendis’s comics with a laugh track. Specifically one from a late ’80?s sitcom such as Married with Children.

I often feel like Bendis is trying to be Aaron Sorkin meets David Mamet meets Larry David and just failing miserably, oh just so miserably.

I never understood how he basically took over Marvel. In a sane world, Bendis would be a mid-level hack at best, coming up with the plot for a few filler issues, but with someone else scripting.

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