Monday, December 17, 2007

Earth's Mightiest People Who Mostly Just Talk a Lot

from volume 1, issue 1, mid-October 2007

New Avengers #32-35

Written by Brian M. "Anyone Remember Jinx or Goldfish?" Bendis
Drawn by Leinil Francis “King of All Wolverine Artists, Forever” Yu

So. The Elektra who was running the Hand, the elite ninja clan of Marvel Japan, was actually a Skrull. For those of you who just fell off a truck full of turnips straight from Super Mario 2, a Skrull is a skuzzy green alien who can shapeshift. So Elektra was a Skrull. What does that matter? It means anyone could be a Skrull. It means the New, non-Initiative Avengers can’t even trust each other now. Hawkeye—really back from the dead, or is he a Skrull? Doc Strange—has he really had a change of heart about how involved he should be in the world—or is he a Skrull? Luke Cage—is he really black or is he a SKRULL?! Okay, obviously if I were one of these heroes I guess it’d seem a bit more ridiculous than it does to them right now. But still, they’re a good group and I hate to see them distrust each other. But I do have my doubts. I love Hawkeye. Alongside Cyclops he’s my favorite Marvel hero. But his method of returning from the dead is questionable at best. And Dr. Strange—if you’ll notice, he manages to beg off of having to use his talents as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme to save the heroes’ asses a few times, when you’d think that keeping an airplane from crashing wouldn’t be beyond him… then again, it could be Bendis just doing a lame job of humanizing uber-powerful characters. You never know with that rascal. So yeah, in issues 32 and 34 we’re faced with that menacing question, leading to the “Secret Invasion” event they’re touting on for next year. Meanwhile, in issue 33 and 35, street-level villain The Hood starts gathering other second-rate supervillains like the Wizard and Madam Masque to form a new supervillain syndicate (NOT AT ALL what Luthor did in DC during Infinite Crisis, not one bit). So I’m subjected to a bunch of Mamet-esque bickering about “the take” and “you gotta problem, you come ta me” et cetera. I’m not totally against it, I’m just saying it’s amusing that Bendis has written himself into this corner with five or seven years of superhero comics, and now he realizes he misses his old noir stuff.
I love the team itself. Even Wolverine, whose secondary mutation seems to be appearing in every Marvel book at the same time. Seeing Luke Cage and Iron Fist together is great. Hell, seeing Luke Cage at all just warms the cockles of my heart. Yeah, I said cockles. Deal with it. I still like Spidey being on the team, despite whatever bullcrap the “One More Day” story is slinging his way. And I’m praying like hell that Hawkeye isn’t a Skrull. Which I guess is what Bendis wants me to do, and in that, he succeeds. All in all, I enjoy this book. I hate this whole post-Civil War Marvel world; heck, I’ve hated Marvel since the Scarlet Witch said “No more mutants,” which really meant “no more Grant Morrison playing in Bendis’s sandbox,” but this one book, along with the mysterious urban legend known only as Astonishing X-Men, keeps me from saying “screw it all, let the Ultimate line take over for good”. And I guess that’s an accomplishment.
That said, get to the effing Skrulls!!!

Rating: Three Vodka Collins.