Friday, November 16, 2007

New Avengers #36 Reviewed

"Is Marvel Asking for It?" - my comic book review of New Avengers #36, by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Yu, is now online at Avengers Forever.

It’s raining Venom, New and Mighty teams together, Luke and Jessica share pillow talk, and Wolverine and Spider-Woman have an, ahem, encounter - check out my review here:


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1 comment:

  1. Here’s most of what I posted on a Web site:

    The basic problem with NEW AVENGERS #36 is a severe lack of plot content. Much of the issue summarizes events in as yet unpublished issues of MIGHTY AVENGERS, and includes the resolution to that plotline. Since the transformation of NYC inhabitants into Venoms largely replicates the transformation of some Grecian villagers into Hulks in Busiek’s AVENGERS #38-#40, and the resolution is now known, there’s no point in publishing the intended MA material. None. Any subplot developments could be handled on a text page.

    As it is, the summarization of the MA material shows how empty the intended plot is, since the transformed NYCers apparently don’t menace each other, or cause much property damage. They just run around aimlessly, like zombies without brains to eat. In devoting space to the mop-up operations, Bendis focuses on details that were minor in Busiek’s plot, since Busiek had the Avengers actually confront the situation and develop a solution. Bendis glosses over the solution to the Venom problem and goes to the next (MA) issue’s (?) plot: confronting Dr. Doom. In focusing on mundane mop-up details, Bendis also shows how little substance there is to the MA-NA feud, which is all about compliance with the SHRA.

    Busiek’s storyline had a reason, good or bad, for Grecians becoming Hulks: A Diablo homunculus wanted to divert the Avengers’ attention while it sought an object in NYC. Bendis’s plot casts Dr. Doom as a mere terrorist.

    There’s a fair amount of space devoted to Cage and J. Jones discussing the threat (?) of the Skrull invasion, and how freaked out they both are about it, but their actions (lying in bed) don’t match their concerns. Jessica Drew is also freaking out (“The world’s coming to an end, Logan. The human race is my team.”) as are Stark and the other Mighty Avengers. However, in having characters talk about how freaked out and panicky they all are about the Skrull invasion, instead of doing something about it, the effect is one of mere self-congratulation--Bendis telling everyone how proud he is of his plot. Or he could just be filling page space with pointless dialogue, but would there be any difference?

    There are minor plot concerns, such as Bendis exaggerating the “unbreakable” nature and protective qualities of Cage’s skin, and Strange failing to protect himself from transformation, and then failing to use the Eye of Agamotto to erase the NYCers’ memories of transformation.

    The material concerning the Hood is either trivial or the meat of the issue, depending on one’s perspective. The dialogue concerning the Wrecking Crew shows the reader how enamored Bendis is of the thugs.

    Overall, the issue shows how dysfunctional Marvel Editorial is. To have NA more than a storyline ahead of MA, and to have Bendis apparently insist on following his plan of having the two series integrated, when the proper thing to do would have been to separate them--Bendis and Brevoort are at least as responsible for the ongoing editorial farce as Frank Cho is. Compare the existing situation to the one circa 1976, when AVENGERS #151 ran an editorial apology to the readers concerning the use of reprinted material in #150, etc., and vowed to do better (there were office politics and editorial differences involved). What the reader gets now is self-congratulation and narcissism.