AVENGERS BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS VOL. 5 (Marvel, 2013; Hardcover)
Collects Avengers Nos. 31-34, Avengers Annual No. 1, and New Avengers Annual No. 1 (cover dates November, 2011- January, 2013)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Gabriele Dell'Otto, Brandon Peterson, Mike Mayhew, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, and “jamming” by Mike Deodato, Walter Simonson, and others
This is it. What I've waited for eight long years for...the end of Bendis' run on the title, and here it is! There are two arcs collected in this book, the first being the two Annuals. Wonder Man has lost his mind and is blaming all of the world's problems on The Avengers. He ends up assembling a team and doing damage to the city, ultimately battling the Avengers to a standstill.
In the second arc, we see Wonder Man trying to make nice with the team, but they aren't having any of it, and for good reason. Mild spoilers ahead. Bendis fixed Doctor Strange and the Vision, and now has one more broken toy to fix before he leaves the sandbox for good: the Wasp, who was seemingly killed at the end of Secret Invasion. It turns out that she shrunk down and something went wrong, sending her to the Microverse, home of the Micronauts. While we don't get to see any of them because of rights issues, it is very cool to see this referenced nonehteless. Why on Earth doesn't Marvel use that Disney money to bulldoze the rights holders so that we can get some Micronauts Masterworks? Come on!
Lord Gouzar, ruler of whichever planet in the Microverse that the Wasp was stranded on, looks a lot like a hybrid of different Micronauts toys and is totally badass. So the Wasp's beacon is received, and four Avengers, conveniently three founding members (Thor, Giant-Man (who was Ant-Man when the team was founded) and Iron Man) and another early adopter, Captain America (whom so many people erroneously consider a founding member even though he didn't appear until issue 4) go to investigate the source of this signal. Lots of cool battles happen, and Lord Gouzar even comes back to Earth with them for the “comic jam” portion of the final issue. End spoilers.
Bendis did good on this book, worlds better than the final New Avengers hardcover. So that's it, everything is right and well with the world and the characters are no worse for the wear, right? Right? Oh. I welcome the new creative teams on all 50 Avengers titles that have just been launched under the Marvel Now banner. I just can't believe that we can have Wolverine on 12 teams but no one can use It! The Living Colossus on any of them. Sheesh.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- The cost of these Premiere Hardcovers keep ticking upward while they keep getting thinner. Bad combination.
The covers for issues 31-34 are all shrunk down to show you the complete image, since all four covers form one image. Also, the variants are included, but the final four issues are presented as one giant block of story with no covers inserted as chapter markers. Stop the madness! Covers should be placed before the issue as Godzilla intended. Anything else is unnatural, evil, and must be destroyed.
Paper rating: 3.75 out of 5. The paper used in these Premiere Hardcovers keeps getting thinner and thinner...just like my hairline.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Glued binding. It's a thin book, so don't get your panties in a bunch, folks.
There is terrible gutter loss throughout the book, as the double page spreads are sucked right down the middle. This is another huge step backwards, as Marvel used to re-size these double page spreads so that this wouldn't happen. I guess that we are expected to upgrade to the inevitable Omnibus so that this can be rectified. I do not upgrade Bendis. Sorry. It's bad enough that my completist OCD has compelled me to buy this title during his run even though I disliked much of it.
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