A few brief notes on the last six or so issues of Marvel’s The Uncanny Avengers.
This week was Chicago’s huge comicon, and Marvel had a panel on the X-verse, where Uncanny Avengers’ author Rick Remender described the current storyline in which Archangel and Pestilence’s twin children, “The Apocalypse Twins,” were raised in a future timeline by Kang the Conqueror and have no returned to resurrect new four horsemen: Banshee (Lorelei’s brother), Sentry, Grim Reaper (Wonder Man’s brother) and Dakken (Wolverine’s son). Remender at the panel said, and this is a quote: “This sounds like I’m sitting in my house playing D&D by myself.”
Yes, Rick, it does. And that’s the problem.
Ever since Chris Claremont revived the series and turned it into the biggest moneymaking franchise in comic book history, The X-Men have been very “soap opera” like, and have had an extremely wide and complicated family tree. It’s what made them special to people who liked them, and impenetrable to more casual fans like me.
In stark contrast, The Avengers has always been a book that is self-contained. Apart from the occasional cross-over and with the exception of a few brief periods, the book is about adventures within the title itself. This was by necessity, since often half the team had solo books that needed to have their own continuity.
With Marvel Now!, this has been flipped on its head. Brian Michael Bendis has brilliantly created two X-books that can be read together or alone, and that require little to know knowledge of the characters’ backstories (apart from knowing about the Schism). But Remender has now created an Avengers comic that is both maddeningly decompressed and complex at the same time. Usually, decompression gives the reader time to catch up, but the characters and convolutions are so extreme that this isn’t happening. And usually, complexity rewards careful readers, but all I seem to get out of it is that if I didn’t read the Apocalypse Sage, and I didn’t, then I should just give up. Nobody except Rick Remender seems to understand the story–or care about it.
Which is what I’ve done. For the first time since the comic book launched in 1966, I have no interest in reading The Avengers.
Okay, other C2E2 news, movie news, etc., after the break.
FREE CALVIN AND HOBBES! And free Peanuts! And free Garfield! And Dilbert! And Boondocks! And FoxTrot! And Doonsbury! And even the great Cul De Sac! Just install Universal Uclick’s GoComics on phone/iPad. I found this very surprising, since the “trade” versions of these books are always steady sellers.
TMNT UPDATE. Lots of casting news on this movie lately. Most recent: Danny Woodburn, the angry little person/sidekick to Kramer from Seinfeld, will be playing the voice of Splinter the rat. Is anyone looking forward to this Michael Bay orgy of crap?
SUPERMAN BELONGS TO D.C. The Siegel/Schuster estates’ lawsuit was turned down on appeal, vesting interest solely in Warner Bros for the world’s first superhero.
SHAZAM! The only reason to still buy Justice League is ending with #21, when the Shazam back-up feature concludes. It was pretty good—and much more of an interesting, true “reboot” than just about any other new 52 title (except maybe Action Comics and Wonder Woman). DC will anthologize all the 8-page features in a trade volume—and that’s one DC title I will actually recommend.
MERLE IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. In casting news for a film I’m more hopeful about, Michael “Merle on the Walking Dead” Rooker will play Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy. Yondu is the one with the fin on his head. And Ophelia Lovibond was also cast, in an unannounced role. But something tells me a chick like that won’t be playing Groot.
DAREDEVIL. I’ll be launching a “panel from every issue” review of Daredevil soon, but in the meantime Mark Waid’s current run has—impossibly—actually gotten better. The current arc, in which someone is trying to duplicate the accident that created Daredevil, is genius, and issue #25 is the single best issue of any comic put out in 2013 so far.
MONSTER. Naoki Urasawa’s manga series is being developed by Guillermo del Toro for HBO.
DEADPOOL VIDEO GAME. It will include Domino, Cable, Mister Sinister, lots of expected X-men, and Psylocke.
ITTY BITTY HELLBOY. A new series, coming in August from Dark Horse, to recognize the character’s 20th anniversary. It basically looks like Tiny Titans with Hellboy.
TRINITY WAR. DC’s summer event will finally bring that Pandora storyline from Justice League #1 (talk about a slow boil) to the forefront, as all three JL teams (Dark, vanilla, and America) will meet for the first time in the new 52. There will be lots of spin-off books and a giant sucking sound.
AVENGERS ARENA. More of a note than news: I really liked the idea of this book, but it’s kind of starting to meander. I assumed it would be an 8- or 12-issue series, but it’s going beyond that…To a “boss level” with issue #14, in which the surviving young gladiators get a chance to strike out at Arcade. I still like the book a lot, but it needs to move toward a conclusion.
SPIDER-MAN 2099. Miguel O’Hara will be joining the cast of Superior Spider-Man. I never read any of the Marvel 2099 stuff—it’s on my “to do” list—but I’m at the point where I trust Dan Slott with anything Spider-related. He’s a real unsung hero of the capes-and-tights genre. Everyone talks about Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Brian Bendis, etc., but few people recognize that Dan Slott killed Peter Parker and turned the book into something even better than it was before.
SHIELD. Apparently, Marvel plans to wrap up Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver’s mind-blowing historical fiction interpretation of Marvel’s super spy agency. Problem is, it’s been so long between issues that most people have forgotten what happened—and it’s an incredibly rich, complex story. I suggest to all my readers that you wait and buy the complete trade edition. That way, you won’t be buying an unfinished story, but you also won’t miss out on some very good writing and some of the best comic book art I’ve ever seen.