Friday, March 29, 2013

Review- NEW AVENGERS BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS VOL. 5

NEW AVENGERS BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS VOL. 5 (Marvel, 2013; Hardcover)
Collects New Avengers Nos. 31-34 (cover dates December, 2012- January, 2013)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Michael Gaydos (31), Carlos Pacheo (32), Michael Avon Oeming (33), Mike Deodato (34), and assorted inkers and “jam artists” for issue 34.

Brian Michael Bendis has, without question, made The Avengers the stars of the Marvel Universe during his tenure as writer. He has written or co-conspired every Marvel event during the past 8 years. Bendis has written some of the top-selling books during that era. I'll give credit where credit is due. I'll even go as far as to say that many of his story ideas are creative and clever. It's his snarky, everyone's-a-comedian dialogue that has driven me batshit crazy over the years. His super-decompressed storytelling style also pisses me off. You can't make that claim about his stuff over the last year or two, but prior to that you could fly through his books. He tends to put more story in each issue nowadays. 
Artwork by Michael Avon Oeming. Not my cup of tea.
In issue 31 we see the Son of Satan conversing with a demon posing as Victoria Hand. A spirit* who is, of course, snarky. As is the Son of Satan. I recall all of those Bronze Age Horror comics filled with snark, don't you? No, me neither. Issue 31 also contains a double-page spread of the breakfast table conversation and 3 pointless pages of Doctor Strange and Iron Fist conversing while trying to meditate. That Bendis is so witty!
(*SPOILER Brother Voodoo END SPOILER*)
Wow! A double page spread of a breakfast table conversation. 
Issue 33 has cheesy, extremely cartoony artwork by Michael Avon Oeming. Art is subjective, so I'm sure that someone somewhere loves this guy's work. That someone is not me. Issue 34 sort of wraps things up, with Doctor Strange once again assuming the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme and the New Avengers breaking up. The “comic jam” sequence, where artists jump in for a page or so and then pass it off baton style, is interesting. Some of these artists are really good, each with their own interpretation of the characters. That segment was pretty interesting visually. The worst part of this series finale is a repeat of the back-patting that Bendis gave himself in one of the Avengers books at the end of Secret Invasion, where they reminisce about all of the things that they did. The worse part about this particular double-page spread is that they show one of those breakfast table conversations! Come on! One of the worst aspects of Bendis' run, shown here in all of its “glory” for posterity. 
Bendis' greatest hits. Note the breakfast table conversation on the right hand page.
Much like fans of the Detroit Lions, I have never lost faith in “my” team, The Avengers, even after eight. long. years. of losing under coach Bendis. I've weathered this storm and lived to tell the tale. There were a few good moments along the way. I'll admit that I've liked a few of his arcs. Bendis would make a better editor/plotter/line coordinator than he does a writer. I'm sure that many people will miss Bendis and yearn for these “good old days”. I will not be one of them. I welcome all of the new creative teams on all 50 Avengers titles.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2 out of 5.

The OCD zone- The cost of these Premiere Hardcovers keep ticking upward while they keep getting thinner.
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.

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