Or – “I’m Starting To Wonder If I Can’t Cull My Pull List…”

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Each month, Marvel puts out three Avengers titles. (I mean this in the ideal sense, as Mighty Avengers is actually more of a bi-monthly or quarterly title in practice.) I really don’t like the underlying premise of Avengers: The Initiative, nor do I have much use for many of the primary characters. Mighty Avengers is beautifully drawn, but the story so far has been a series of inexplicable happenings marred by duplicitous thought balloons and the fact that we haven’t been given any reason to like the heroes. New Avengers, on the other hand, has had several interesting plots since the end of Civil War, none of which have yet to actually END. The conflict with Iron Man is still up in the air, Spider-Woman is missing and may be a Skrull, and speaking of Skrulls, whassupwitdem? We don’t know. Now, we’re apparently setting off on not one but TWO new plotlines, each of which has it’s own inherent problematic issues, but are they fatal to the story itself?

NAv1.jpgPreviously, on New Avengers: After the Civil War, Luke Cage and his New Avengers ran to Japan to fish Echo out of hot water, and in so doing, discovered that Elektra Natchios, headmistress of the hand (which is better than being a handmaiden in the head, I suppose) wasn’t an undead Greek ninja hottie, but something slightly less unbelievable: a shapeshifting alien bent on world domination. In defiance of the laws of time, space, and good plotting, the team returned home only to find that Ultron had created an electromagnetic pulse that made Iron Fist’s jet crash, and Spider-Woman escaped with the Skrull infiltrator’s body. The remaining team members went through a strange magical hazing ritual that revealed that Luke wants his silk shirt back, Fist thinks he’s Conan and the rest of the team is pretty much of sound mind and body. When a plot by The Owl leads to an assault on Mighty Avengers headquarters, (which seems to place this plot BEFORE World War Hulk, since the tower was destroyed in that storyline) the New A’s decided to race in and save them, only to find that most of New York City was overrun by symbiotes of Venom’s race. (By the way, the cover is symbolic and no Venomized Wolverine [nor any Wolverine, nor even a single active member of the team] appears in the issue.) Instead, we focus on the man who I suspect is the only recurring villain of The Punisher, the idiot called Jigsaw. Jiggy is busy with minor theft, trying to raid a safe (the art is so muddy that I can’t tell if it’s a store, a warehouse, or what) but the night watchman swears that he doesn’t have the code to the safe. Suddenly, a voice rings in from off-panel. “Hey, the guy said he don’t have it…”

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Tigra attack! She takes Jigsaw down, just as the police arrive and… try and kill her? What? Are you serious, Bendis? The woman is a human tiger in a string bikini! She’s been an Avenger for YEARS! She’s FREAKING ORANGE AND FURRY! But, the officers nonetheless open fire, allowing Jigsaw to escape by stuffing himself in a dumpster. After the heat is off, Jigsaw climbs out of the filth, and heads back to his makeshift home, living in a storage locker. As he breaks into tears at his own failure, Jigsaw suddenly notices a letter on his army cot.

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The room is filled with minor super-villain idiots (with Boomerang being one of the bigger names in attendance) all of whom are listening to the villain equivalent of a self-help speech. I suspect that the reason we’re getting this plotline is that Parker Robbins, the Hood, has the same last name as Tony Robbins, notable self-help guru. Either way, Parker explains his new plan. “They call me the Hood. You know, because I have… a hood. And I have a vision for the future. A vision that includes all of YOU.” He explains that half the heroes are goose-stepping to the Iron Dictator, while the other half are hiding out, and it’s time for all of them to take advantage. He gives them all 25 thousand dollars, what he calls ‘seed money,’ to get them back on their feet.

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Parker teleports directly behind the Griffin, and explains that they didn’t have HIM before. Blackout (the minor Ghost Rider villain) asks what happens if they just take their money and run, and Parker snarks “Well, if you think your life is only worth 25 g’s… Then you go ahead.” He tells them all that he’s talking REAL money, the kind of power that nobody has had since Capone, the kind of organized crime that will make the body of J. Edgar Hoover sit up out of the dirt to claim they don’t exist…

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Cut to Greer Grant, the woman known as Tigra, walking home to her modest apartment. Leinil Yu makes her look exactly like Jessica Drew in her human form, by the way… She laments that she’s going to be transferred to Arkansas because of the Fifty-State Initiative, and I sigh at how incredibly stupid this all is, when suddenly the stupidity is broken by revulsion. The Hood appears, smashing her across the face with a gun, then slamming her head into a mirror. He repeatedly bludgeons her, tearing away her clothes in a manner far too suggestive of rape for my tastes, before shooting her in the knee.

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The Hood then calls her mother on the phone, telling her that if she ever again touches one of his men, he will kill her mother, then kill her, and then he clubs her in the face with his gun…

We’re going to step away from the story for a moment, and take into account what just happened here. Tigra has super-powers. The Hood has super-powers. That notwithstanding, this was NOT a super-hero/super-villain fight. This was a brutal home invasion and assault. This was a man beating a woman down, ripping away her clothing, leaving her exposed, and then threatening her innocent mother, all for the sake of making Parker Robbins seems like a bad-ass. Worse than that, they used Tigra, one of Marvel’s only superhumans known for flaunting her sexuality, as the victim, making the leap from villainous action to rape that much quicker in my mind. I think the intent was to leave us shocked at The Hood’s actions. Instead, I’m more than a little bit sickened and completely shocked that nobody in editorial asked if this might not be just a bit much. But that’s not the ONLY reason I’m disgusted… Wanna know what makes it worse?

JIGSAW. TAPED. IT. And then, they broadcast it to a bar full of cheering villains…

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Oh, goody. Torture porn. If the intent is to show that Marvel’s villains are all disgusting sonsabitches who need to be taken out with all due haste, mission accomplished, fellas. As Chemistro brings the Owl’s actions (the results of which were seen LAST issue) to The Hood’s attention, leading to the killing of Leland Owlsley and the Deathlok plot that brought the New Avengers into the streets last time ’round. Once in possession of Deathlok’s body (and this is the original, by the way, Luther Manning, not the Michael whatsisface version seen in the recent “Beyond” miniseries) they decides that Owl’s plot has no upside, and they decide to use him as a diversion to knock over the richest bank in the United States…

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All the villains realize what a sweet deal the Hood has going, and Chemistro deals with suddenly becoming independently wealthy, but Madame Masque’s phone call is even more important. It seems that New York City is overrun by Venom symbiotes (for which I blame The Sentry… Remember when he killed Carnage in the upper atmosphere? My theory is that the Carnage guts were floating about in the sky until Ultron made her power play in Mighty Avengers, changing the weather patterns, and causing bits of Carnage to fall from the sky like rain. Just my ten cents worth, mind you…) and Parker Robbins smiles sinister, like.

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Normally, this is the place where I would go over the merits and flaws of the book, and weight them out on the Major Spoilers star rating scale. This time, it’s a moot point. The sequence with Tigra made the whole point moot. Whether or not I liked anything else that happened in this issue, that sequence killed it for me. I’m not a believer in ratings systems, nor do I believe that every comic book should be suitable for all-ages. I don’t mind violence (see my comments re: World War Hulk and Black Summer) and I don’t think that female superheroes need to be treated substantially differently than the males (see my comments re: Birds of Prey.) Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joey The Q has been quoted, in regards to diversity, that if you want to see female/gay/non-white/whatever superheroes, you have to be willing to see them get beaten up by the villains, and I can appreciate that, to a degree. But that sequence was beyond reprehensible, and I can’t help but think that they wouldn’t have written it that way with a male character.

This felt like an issue of “Powers” to me, and while I would normally consider that to be a compliment, it most assuredly is NOT here. Tom Grice recently wondered when the Wrecking Crew (usually shown to be a bunch of brainless buffoons) became a group of sadistic freaks, as seen in the recent Omega Flight mini, and I have to wonder the same thing here. The Hood, in his previous appearances, been most a neer-do-well, a schmendrik who fell upon great power and used it for selfish means. Now, he’s become a power-mad jackass, and I sincerely hope that Tigra gets to gut him in retaliation… Either way, this issue gets a disgusted 1 out of 5 stars and mandatory sensitivity training from me.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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43 Comments

  1. October 14, 2007 at 8:55 pm — Reply

    I think you may be overreacting. Last issue Wolverine was shot in the “little Logan” and no one complained. (I mean, anyone would complain a lot if the Hood shot a regenerating female hero in HER sexual organ). Just like Tigra may be a “sex symbol” for Marvel, Logan may be seen as an “example of masculinity”, and he was shot down there. This issue made me fear the Hood, and I think this is what Bendis was aiming at. The Hood is no pushover: you mess with him and he mess with your dignity and your family and your pets. Of course Bendis is not making the Hood a likable villain.

    – Tiago José “Deicide” Galvão Moreira

  2. October 14, 2007 at 9:30 pm — Reply

    I’m speechless.

    Thank you for this. I was almost curious enough about the New Avengers to pick up the title and the back issues, but reading this review let me know not to bother.

    I have questions…
    1.) When was Griffin actually given back intelligence, last I remember he was a ride for Namor.
    2.) Since when did Madam Masque slum? What happened to the Maggia?
    3.) So does this take place before or after Avengers: The Initiative #6? Tigra conflicts.
    4.) Why not set this obvious upcoming Legion of Doom-esque story up in it’s own little mini instead of essentially making a filler issue?
    5.) Lastly, can someone just wake me up when the maddness stops? I really miss looking forward to reading comics about heroes.

  3. October 14, 2007 at 9:53 pm — Reply

    I think you may be overreacting. Last issue Wolverine was shot in the “little Logan” and no one complained.

    I don’t see any comparison. Wolverine’s schtick is healing, the only thing Parker damaged was his pride… Tigra, on the other hand, was brutalized, terrorized and manhandled in a very suggestive fashion. I try really hard not to cry sexism at every stupid character moment in comics (for one thing, I just don’t have that kind of time) but this one was too obvious, too brutal, too pervy, and too unapologetic about it for me to walk away.

    As always with my recaps, your mileage may vary. I make no pretense of impassivitiy in these things, championing Bouncing Boy, mocking Alex Ross, even opining that the goddamn Batman is NOT an example of humanity, but in fact a superhuman with the best power of all (writer complicity) going for him. You don’t have to agree with me, and I’ll always respect alternate opinions, but as a man, a comic fan, and a father, I was offended, and I maintain that they would NEVER treat a male character in that demeaning a manner.

  4. Brent F.
    October 14, 2007 at 11:08 pm — Reply

    Every issue of the Mighty Avengers and the New Avengers feels like Bendis has 10 stories and he’s trying to tell them all at once. We still don’t know how the New Avengers and Mighty Avengers united at the start of World War Hulk and the event is nearly at it’s conclusion, Iron Man is still dead and Ultron’s trying to take over the world, there is a Skrull invasion randomly revealed after an obscenely long ninja fight, and to add one more on top of the pile we have another symbiote invasion going on while Bendis forces his new Kingpin of Crime down our throats.

  5. Newer Avenger
    October 14, 2007 at 11:19 pm — Reply

    I think what also bothered me about that scene was that while Wolverine was shot, he got shot AFTER a brutal fight. Tigra does nothing but shout “Aiiiie” over and over (which, frankly, was really annoying after awhile), To me, the entire scenario was lazy/poor writing born out of a need to make the Hood seem badass than anything else, especially since it happened to Tigra, who’s well known enough for the scene to have a real impact, but not popular/well-liked enough to have people in an uproar over her being the sacrificial victim.

    I’m also not a fan of the art for the most part.

  6. mosdef
    October 14, 2007 at 11:26 pm — Reply

    My Opinion
    The Hood did go to far, not Marvel, Marvel let it pass to make a point. This scene, which was downright uncomfortable to read, made me take the Hood very seriously and it made me wanna whoop the Hoods ass(pardon my french). The fight(beating) couldnt have been done with a male superhero, cause it wouldnt come off the same, it HAD to be a woman. As Decide.UH, said, a similar thing happened to Wolverine, but as you pointed out Matt, its not the same cause he’s a man, and he has a healing factor; it had to be a woman to convey the hoods message. I personally think this plan is gonna back fire, cause all the heroes they go for are gonna pull a “Symbiote costume, Peter Parker” and whoop some butt. Oh and Wolverine has worn the Symbiote costume before, for a few minutes in the Wolverine/Venom crossover.

  7. October 14, 2007 at 11:49 pm — Reply

    To me, the entire scenario was lazy/poor writing born out of a need to make the Hood seem badass than anything else, especially since it happened to Tigra, who’s well known enough for the scene to have a real impact, but not popular/well-liked enough to have people in an uproar over her being the sacrificial victim.

    This scene, which was downright uncomfortable to read, made me take the Hood very seriously and it made me wanna whoop the Hoods ass(pardon my french). The fight(beating) couldnt have been done with a male superhero, cause it wouldnt come off the same, it HAD to be a woman.

    And therein lies the inherent sexism. If Spider-Man had been shot in the knee, stripped half-naked and just lay there crying while somebody threatened Aunt May, every reader would be up in arms. But because Tigra is a woman (a woman with tremendous fighting skill, inhuman speed and strength, and a healing factor of her own, I might add) it’s okay to have some shmuck grind her face in glass, kneecap her, and threaten her without recourse so the big bad villain can be a tough guy?

    #^@* that. It’s a double-standard, and it poisoned the whole issue for me…

  8. October 15, 2007 at 1:53 am — Reply

    To be honest? While I can’t condone the Torture Porn aspect of it, I must admit that the point is well made. If any other Supervillain had tried to make organised crime out of it, they’d have done what? Poisoned the New York Reservoir? Trapped the Avengers in a giant popcorn machine? Used a giant ultra-bomb to implode Earth? The Hood is an intelligent and thorough man, and he knows how to send a message. Since when was the last time a Villain had the guts to attack a Hero in their own home and threaten specific people, including their loved ones? That first appearance of Venom?

    And then there’s Tigra. Over the years, the phrase ‘With Great Power…’ wafted over the MU, and she’s one of its worst examples. She’s never had any responsibility. She runs around in nothing but fur and her underwear, beating people up and acting as slutty as she can around her co-workers. She does this all in public. She only recently opted to have her identity, as in her name and address, made public – something which, as a friend of Tony Stark, she could have refused. And yet her personal life is never in any danger. What kind of role model is that for a Female Comics Reader? How can anyone enjoy writing that character?

    I hate what the Hood did. I hate that any form of Female abuse should be occuring in modern entertainment. But if it was gonna be anyone it happened to, if any Hero or Heroine needed to be shown that the business is one in which you need to be careful, Tigra was one of the best candidates.

  9. BadBad
    October 15, 2007 at 3:33 am — Reply

    This issue only makes sense to me if Tigra gets to castrate The Hood. In front of all the villains who watched the tape. If Bendis wants to write a superhero version of The Sopranos, he can’t expect us to believe that Tigra will play by ANY rules when she tries to get payback.

    And when does the Crusader (one of the villains in the group picture) actually care about money?

  10. Happenstance
    October 15, 2007 at 3:41 am — Reply

    …Wow, things have changed around here since that cover of HFH13 recieved the “gosh, I don’t see what everyone’s so worked up about here at all” defense.

    (1) I’m glad being “forced” to watch it makes people uncomfortable. I believe that was the point.

    Compare it to the still-gross but relatively-sanitized rape scene in Identity Crisis–or any other “event” over at DC, where women were regularly beaten, raped, tortured, and/or murdered even before the current freaks running THAT show decided to go “darker.” I started dropping DC titles when readers were treated to the spectacle of Icemaiden strapped naked to a table and flayed alive–and awake–and it was depicted to titillate at much as possible, rather than revile. I ditched DC completely shortly after DC mutated into “Guts Ahoy Starring Everyman And Black Adam.”

    Complain about sexism, but the simple fact is last issue we saw the same idea with a similar MALE character. Not even close to the same, was it? Logan WANTS to keep fighting, as is typical of the male “feral” superhero, and all of his familial “vulnerabilities” are either already dead (whoops) or can take care of themselves. (And frankly, as far as the Spider-Man analogy goes, we’ve seen what happens when you threaten Aunt May.) This isn’t to “make Hood bad-ass,” it’s to wash away any idea that he might be conflicted, or that the thug-with-a-good-side from Beyond might pop up later, or that he isn’t going to go to far. Hood is a vicious creep with power–period.

    (2) Someone caps YOU in the knee, folks, I bet you scream a bit too. Nice to see everyone sympathizing with Tigra; she used to be an embarrassing character (purring and fawning on bad guys preparing to kill her teammates) and of course her role in Civil War didn’t win her fans. (I guess her motivation for betraying Cap will be revealed around the same time we find out what happened between the last page of Silent War, and WWH.) This was more characterization for her than we’ve seen in all of The Initiative and Mighty Avengers–I just wish I could put all of this in some sort of continuity. And I hope this is a new start for Tigra. I hope she’s a major player in taking Hood down.

    (3) It’s an effective antidote to the “Bar With No Name” horsecrap from Punisher War Journal and She-Hulk. These are BAD GUYS. They hurt and kill, and the idea that you can go out together afterwards for ice cream is total nonsense AND not something you want to feed younger readers. Also, this threatens to be just the beginning. This is DC’s Society with the barrel pointed solidly at the heroes, rather than, say, the Secret Six, or Kite-Man and Bug and Byte. Higher stakes for everybody, and it will also show, I imagine, the giant pulsating blinking-neon-lit Achilles’ Heel of Tony Stark’s grand design.

    I’m going to watch where this goes before I decide I’m offended. But I never once got the vibe that this was whacking material–the vibe I used to get from DC all the damned time.

  11. October 15, 2007 at 5:05 am — Reply

    [i]And therein lies the inherent sexism. If Spider-Man had been shot in the knee, stripped half-naked and just lay there crying while somebody threatened Aunt May, every reader would be up in arms. But because Tigra is a woman (a woman with tremendous fighting skill, inhuman speed and strength, and a healing factor of her own, I might add) it’s okay to have some shmuck grind her face in glass, kneecap her, and threaten her without recourse so the big bad villain can be a tough guy?[/i]

    Well, people would complain because that was Spider-man, not because that was a man. The same would happen if it happened to Wonder Woman or another icon character. So, that had to happen to a character that is “minor” in the big scheme, but who is still liked and known enough so that the readers feel bad for what happens to the character. [b]Make a list of characters that would be acceptable to give a beating like that, but at the same time would also shock the readers to see such a beating.[/b] Not many characters will make the list, and unfortunately Tigra may be one of them.

    The only thing that really bothers me about using Tigra in this scene is continuity. Tigra should be in Stamford, as one of the teachers. How come she was in New York? And how come the Hood can beat her without making the entire Iniciative Staff taking action? Tigra would be a poor target for such an attack in this perspective.

    Tiago José “Deicide” Galvão Moreira

  12. Roy
    October 15, 2007 at 6:26 am — Reply

    I think I figured out where the cover came from.

    Take a look at the “live news feed panel” – staring in the lower right hand corner, there appears to be a venom symbiote in the shape of Iron Fist (pointy shirt); directly to his left and up on inch is a symbiote in the shape of Wolverine (pointy ears on masky thingy); above him and in red is a symbiote in the shape of Dr. Strange (pointy cape).

    So are we to take this to mean that the New Avengers WERE taken over by the symbiotes, at least in this issue, or are the symbiotes just taking the FORM of the New Avengers?

  13. Roy
    October 15, 2007 at 6:27 am — Reply

    Sorry – not the lower right hand corner – I actually meant the right side just below center.

  14. Randallw
    October 15, 2007 at 7:39 am — Reply

    I think I must have missed something. Last issue of MA I got Ares, or someone, was hacking a nuke launcher to beat Ultron. Mind you I don’t really care. It doesn’t seem worth the trouble anymore.

    When I started seeing B-Grade villains I started getting flashbacks to DC and their second rate villains joining together.

  15. Randy B.
    October 15, 2007 at 8:15 am — Reply

    I clicked this review to read with a bit of trepidation.
    Normally, hell, almost all the time I find mine and the reviewers here at MS to be sympatico in our takes on the issues they review.
    And you guys didn’t fail to let me down this time.
    I was disgusted by this comic.
    That, in one sentence sums up my feelings. I don’t care who the writer is, I don’t care who the artist is, this comic disgusted me.
    I’d love for some old school villain, like Doc Doom, grind Robbins into goo and then let him know that this is not how you do things.
    Seriously, how does the Hood think someone like Cage would take learning that villains are going to start targeting families.
    Or the Punisher, for that matter.
    Regardless, this was a major disappointment of an issue. No comic like this should have passed an editor with the Avengers on the front cover.
    Can you imagine how this cover would have looked in the eighties where there was text and a teaser of what was inside? It would have never been published, I bet.

  16. BadBad
    October 15, 2007 at 10:47 am — Reply

    I guess I would like to clarify my statements above. I think this issue needs some context and I suppose I should grant Bendis some leeway. Beyond the nature of the violence, I was a bothered by this issue because of the past knowledge I have about the two characters.

    I do not believe The Hood of old COULD EVER beat Tigra in a fight.

    Bendis should be given a little time to explain or flesh out the context of the story. The Hood of today could be enhanced, possessing some new skills or is a Skrull or possessed, and is insane/sadistic. That would explain his beat-down of Tigra. On that level, Bendis could explain the physicality of the situation.

    But he will also need to explain the world situation where The Hood can get personal information of heroes like Tigra. Could he have stolen their names from The Initiative? Was he given their names by a third party? Does he possess omniscience? In this world of Bendis’ Marvel, if Ms Marvel can have SHIELD psychics track Arachne across the country how long can The Hood truly hide from Tony Stark/SHIELD/NYPD/The Order? How does The Hood expect to actually carry thru a plan that the Kingpin would reject as reckless and stupid? The Hood would need some massive support. If he can hide just because he has a magic cape that would be a very weak situation. Whenever one of his associates is caught don’t you think a SHIELD psychic would read their mind? Don’t you think that Brother Voodoo or some such could track The Hood down in no time flat?

    If Bendis writes Tigra as intimidated I think it would be facile and out of character. Tigra has had confidence problems in her backhistory but that was when she fought world-stopping threats like the Molecule Man and Avengers villains. She has never had a confidence problem with a (formerly) two-bit villain. She has also exhibited feral periods where she has been savage; I don’t think she would be intimidated, but rather testicle-cutting vengeful. Tigra could track down Dr. Strange if she couldn’t go to Tony Stark. Tigra could even go thru a whole list of former Avengers don’t you think? All I am saying is that Tigra is not without friends. If he wanted to show a female character who could be intimidated/isolated it would be someone like Arana – a new kid who has a family and no great ties to other heroes (except Ms Marvel).

    SPECULATION FOLLOWS

    Is this part of the Marvel post-Civil War plan to show that it is better for heroes to be non-registered and unknown from the government? I admit that I am positing that The Hood somehow gets heroes personal information from the Initiative database to perform his acts of extortion. If so, it is the beginning of a bad argument. If a hero is intimdated by an equivalent superthug then what hope does a regular cop/FBI agent have? If the situation is as I describe, doesn’t it argue for either Punisher-type repercussions upon the superthug/family or an even greater embrace of superheroes in govenment positions?

    The concept of “protection” in the Marvel Universe has been around since the Maggia and Kingpin. It is not new but it leads to a door where only the Punisher’s ethics prevail. I don’t believe that this is a box that should be opened. It is OK in a gangster story when a guy threatens a cop to make the cop play along. The cop has no recourse because he is only human. Heroes have recourse. When there are heroes that can obliterate city blocks, turn humans into bugs, send people to other dimensions, mind control them to step in front of a bus, etc. it is a different story.

  17. Igor
    October 15, 2007 at 11:08 am — Reply

    As far as I know the current Chemistro is Calvin Carr, not Curtis Carr. Calvin should still be active as Chemistro since he escaped from the Raft in New Avengers #3. Curtis Carr, however, retired as a super-villian after he lost his foot. He later aided in the defeat of both subsequent Chemistros. According to Civil War: Battle Damage Report, Curtis is registered under the name High-Tech and is being considerred as a member of the Initiative. He also works for Stark Prosthetics.

    Also, does anyone know who the guy in the golden costume is standing behind The Answer? I first thought it was meant to be Goldbug, but then remembered that he was killed by the Punisher during Civil War.

  18. jman
    October 15, 2007 at 11:39 am — Reply

    “New Avengers, on the other hand, has had several interesting plots since the end of Civil War, none of which have yet to actually END.”

    This pretty much sums up my beef with Bendis. Decent set-ups with no follow thru, and as I’ve said before, taking characters that had no book to begin with and making them even more obscure, I was on board pretty much until the beginning of civil war, but it’s gotten to be to much of a headache to keep on reading thru this.

  19. Igor
    October 15, 2007 at 11:53 am — Reply

    I just checked and Calvin Carr’s gun apears in Heroes For Hire #12, so he probably isn’t active anymore unless he was unable to build one of his own.

  20. davek
    October 15, 2007 at 12:11 pm — Reply

    I respect your opinion, Matthew, but I don’t share it. I honestly don’t find any sexism in the choice of Tigra being the hero-victim here, anymore than I find there to be racism in the death of Bill Foster in Civil War. Rather, I find it more of a convenience of story economics – who’s second-tier in the MarvelU, middle-powered at best, and has had just enough face time to register with the reader but not enough to disrupt any of the main books? Tigra’s as good a choice as any.

    It wasn’t pretty to be sure, but like Salieri pointed out, all it did for me was make The Hood more of an effective heavy by having him up the stakes to the Villain Game. I personally wondered how they were going to make him credible as a contender for the Kingpin role, and having him play the Scotty Evil of the Marvel U is definitely one way to do it. (“Look, just shoot him. I have a gun in my room, I’ll go do it myself.”)

  21. Brother129
    October 15, 2007 at 12:12 pm — Reply

    Wow…this is what I get for sleeping in this morning. Last week I ran to my computer in search of a New Avengers review and here you go sneaking it in now. Good review. I agree with all of the assessments actually. Tigra’s beating was exessive because of the rape implications. It reminded me of the Killing Joke scene with Batgirl…that still stays with me. On the other hand, while this issue was pretty much a complete waste of time with all the other juggling storylines, it establishes the Hood as a serious mo fo. I get it already. What I dont’ get is the ridiculous continuity. Explain to me how Mighty Avengers doesn’t even rap up their first storyline until the end of 2007 before they even get to this symbiotes thing. At the rate we’re going, Marvel’s continuity won’t be solved until 2010…maybe.

    Last thought: the fact that The Hood can get to superheroes and their families is further proof that The Initiative is a stupid idea. That much data on the super heroes personal lives is too dangerous for anyone to have. Didn’t they read Identity Crisis???

  22. October 15, 2007 at 12:34 pm — Reply

    choice of Tigra being the hero-victim here, anymore than I find there to be racism in the death of Bill Foster in Civil War. Rather, I find it more of a convenience of story economics – who’s second-tier in the MarvelU, middle-powered at best, and has had just enough face time to register with the reader but not enough to disrupt any of the main books? Tigra’s as good a choice as any.

    But aren’t there like, FOUR TIMES AS MANY male second stringers out there? And given Tigra’s recurring role in Avengers: The Initiative, why create the continuity questions in the first place?

    of today could be enhanced, possessing some new skills or is a Skrull or possessed, and is insane/sadistic. That would explain his beat-down of Tigra. On that level, Bendis could explain the physicality of the situation.

    Well, there is that whole ‘demon’ thing unexplained from last issue…

    But here’s my point: no matter how you defend it from an In-Story perspective, the fact remains that these are all stories created by professionals as entertainment. If this story had happened on ER, or Grey’s Anatomy, or NYPD Blue, would we have seen it play out differently? I think they INTENTIONALLY chose Tigra BECAUSE she’s a very feminine/sexual character, running about in a bikini, and we’re supposed to feel disturbed that the Hood attacked her. We’re supposed to think, “poor, defenseless, little naked cat-girl,” so that we dislike the Hood even more.

    Whether you agree with me or not, I submit this to you: even days after reading it (and I intentionally held off on a review that might have been a Wednesday morning first-look because of my reponse to it) I re-read that sequence and get angry. Not at The Hood, but at the creators. And repeatedly, I think of how easy it would be to save the $2.99 per month and just not buy the thing. Your mileage, as always, may vary…

  23. October 15, 2007 at 12:51 pm — Reply

    I just checked and Calvin Carr’s gun apears in Heroes For Hire #12, so he probably isn’t active anymore unless he was unable to build one of his own.

    Didn’t Calvin metabolize the Chemistro powers? Or was that the other guy, Archie something?

  24. October 15, 2007 at 1:26 pm — Reply

    Um, I hope I haven’t struck a nerve or two with my comments…just my opinion. You don’t have to take me seriously.

  25. Igor
    October 15, 2007 at 1:35 pm — Reply

    Arch Morton metabolized the Chemistro powers when a version of the Alchemy gun exploded in his hands. I dont know if he still has his powers, however, as he was hit by a nullifier which neutralized the radiation from gun.

  26. jman
    October 15, 2007 at 2:16 pm — Reply

    I agree with Matt here…The quickest way to validate or add weight to a book as of lately is to make a “patsy”; i.e. use someone as cannon fodder or whipping boy to drive home a point. As a Black man, I saw no racism in the death of Bill Foster during Civil War, just the death of an essentially lame knock-off of a second-stringer. It was a pretty bold but uncecessary move in terms of storytelling(most “shocking” deaths usually are).

    The thought process here is: Tigra’s a half-nekkid second stringer, and if putting her in harm’s way helps add tension(sexual, that is…) to the story, so be it. That’s like the Killing Joke: Joker just blowing Batman’s brains out? No way; to add drama to the story, a dead Bats can’t be a hero, and Barbara paid the price of being a knock-off/second-stringer. Overall, Bendis is trying to take the Avengers to “street level superheroes,” yet the results is more like the 1970’s “The Warriors” movie: garrish and unecessarily cheesy. Seems like he has ADD or something when it comes to plotting. Where’s Kurt Busiek when you need him??

  27. Mark I.
    October 15, 2007 at 2:52 pm — Reply

    Punisher/Tigra team-up coming? Someone call Spacker Dave!

  28. Jim
    October 15, 2007 at 4:26 pm — Reply

    This isn’t the first time Bendis has sacrificed 2nd stringers to legitimize a new villian threat… Alpha Flight, anyone? (And the less said about Omega Flight the better).

    I agree that the Tigra scene is waaay overdone. It doesn’t work not because it disturbs me but because it takes me out of the story. I had actually dug the issue until that point. Then it was like, “eww, Bendis, why?” I think it plays that way to me for two reasons: 1) Two-Face, er, I mean Jigsaw taping it. This is just creepy and fetishistic. It unnecessarily calls up snuff and/or torture porn connations without needing to. 2) Tigra’s passivity/victimization. If Tigra fights the Hoods and ultimately is defeated and begrudgingly relents because of the threat to her mother, that’s one thing. But she’s totally portrayed as the terrorized victim with her screaming. It’s just too much. Have the Hood give her a beat-down if need be, but why make it so creepy? It also makes me really dislike The Hood, whereas he had been shaking up as a somewhat compelling villian. (Also agree this is like “Killing Joke” lite)

    I also question why C-list villians are shown partying together at the end. If these guys are as sick in a mental way as Bendis would have us believe, wouldn’t they be pretty antisocial and distrustful of each other?

    We haven’t even mentioned that Deathlok is apparently destroyed offscreen. Or how this issue wins “misleading cover” of the year. Or how the NA are apparently symbiotes prior to WWHulk but this is never mentioned anywhere else! Bendis!!!!!!!

  29. BadBad
    October 15, 2007 at 4:47 pm — Reply

    I don’t like the current Marvel Universe because it is too much like the “Powers” universe. Except with less humor and optimism.

  30. October 15, 2007 at 8:09 pm — Reply

    Unsurprising, considering what he did to Yelena Belova, the blonde Black Widow.

    What garbage.

  31. J'osh
    October 16, 2007 at 3:32 am — Reply

    This is not Parker Robbins in any form that I have ever seen him.

    The character as presented by BKV is not this sadistic and mean. And he’s a low level smart street thug who just found his hood and flying boots, how he came to be able to stand in the same room as Wolverine fighting wise, who knows. It’s even more puzzleing when you consider his Beyond appearance.

    What happend to Tigra was awful, but it just wasn’t in character for the Hood. How did he come to this point?

  32. Ben
    October 16, 2007 at 8:19 pm — Reply

    That issue deserves much more then a single star. The brutal attack on Tigra, a very minor character in the Marvel Universe right now (and arguable always has been), was not nearly as bad as it has been made out to be here.

    The Hood is just M-U’s attempt at the Sopranos. If your a fan of that series, you’ve seen those type of brutal attacks on both male and female victims. They are suppose to mkae you unconfortable, and they are suppose to give depth to the villian. This did both, and more importantly, it was WELL done.

    I can’t agree with you on this one Matt :(

  33. October 17, 2007 at 12:18 am — Reply

    That issue deserves much more then a single star. The brutal attack on Tigra, a very minor character in the Marvel Universe right now (and arguable always has been), was not nearly as bad as it has been made out to be here.

    The Hood is just M-U’s attempt at the Sopranos. If your a fan of that series, you’ve seen those type of brutal attacks on both male and female victims. They are suppose to mkae you unconfortable, and they are suppose to give depth to the villian. This did both, and more importantly, it was WELL done.

    I can’t agree with you on this one Matt :(

    You don’t have to. We can always agree to disagree.

    Still ain’t changin’ my rating, though… :)

  34. Tony
    October 17, 2007 at 8:11 am — Reply

    I just got back into comics in the last year maybe. I was a long time Avengers reader and came in right after the Civil War. I have been reading New Avengers, Mighty Avengers and A:I. I agree with the many post about NO ENDINGS on story lines. I mean honestly! I read one issue about the Skrull attack coming, then all of a sudden its symbos on the loose. Then Hulk is attacking but then this Hood guy is going on. Ok, so are the Skrulls here and what is up with the Ultron storyline. For Pete’s sake – lets take a deep breath and finish a story line. Its bad enough I am trying to keep up with these three and bought all the back issues of Thunderbolts and have now been buying that series as well. When I am buying Mighty Avengers tommorow I have to try and remember if they are fighting symbos, Hulk, Ultron or the Skrulls…or is the New Avengers fighting those. I cant remember.

  35. ryansmith
    October 17, 2007 at 11:40 am — Reply

    i quit reading comics long ago and only recently got back into em, so pardon my naivete if i missed something. Isnt this issue trying to show what weve always known and the initiative doesnt? that revealing the identities of heros like spiderman and daredevil will just lead to putting their families in danger. I still remember that issue of spectacular spiderman (#52 i think) where gideon mace killed off the white tigers family then almost killed the tiger as well. all because the tigers id had been made public. (it was shockingly brutal at the time, and really made you realise there are BAD villains)

    I think the writer is trying to revitalize some b-list villains in grunwald fashion. but some should not be there. Im sure cutthroat is dead (his throat cut by crossbones). the tiger shark mutated, didnt he? goldbug (but i guess it could be midas, the golden man) im sure there are many others. all it would take is a little click on the unofficial handbook to check.

  36. Mike Loughlin
    October 18, 2007 at 9:14 am — Reply

    Why would anyone want to make the Marvel Universe like the Sopranos? That’s just stupid. Make the Punisher like the Sopranos if you must, but where would Spider-Man, the Hulk, et al fit in a Sopranos story.

    “This sucks, but if anyone in the Marvel Universe deserves to be surrogate-raped, it’s Tigra, the slut” may be the worst defense for mysogynist crap I’ve ever read. “Good, you’re supposed to be shocked” doesn’t cut it, either. I don’t want to see ANY super-hero humiliated in this fashion. If it’s a double standard because I dislike it even more if it happens to a female character, oh well. There is no explanation I have heard, or I can think of, that justifies this garbage.

  37. Steven R. Stahl
    October 18, 2007 at 12:27 pm — Reply

    Reading the positive comments on NEW AVENGERS #35 makes me wonder just how much experience those readers have had reading well-written prose fiction of any type, much less crime fiction. Compare the realism of the hero and his environment in practically any novel to the characters and environment in NEW AVENGERS #35; you’ll find massive differences in the ways characters and their worlds are defined. If Bendis’s NA series isn’t an attempt to imitate a video, it’s an outline for a story at best–not the soap opera, with characters going into suspended animation between issues that AVENGERS was for decades, but no more realistic than any other regular story Marvel has published.

    The unreal nature of the events in Bendis’s story is a primary reason, IMO, why the story fails so badly. The threat to Tigra’s mother could work in a crime fiction story, but not here; superheroes and supervillains exist to fight each other within morality plays, and they generally interact with the “real world” in limited and very specific ways. Handling that interaction skillfully is an art that Busiek mastered and others have done well at, but Bendis doesn’t even try.

    Plugging paranormals directly into situations taken from crime fiction (from NA #33 on) may be exactly what Bendis wants to do, but the situation he set up in NA #35 doesn’t allow for the possibility that Tigra could go to her Avengers friends and have them (Wonder Man, et al.) take out or kill the criminals in the Hood’s gang, and take out the Hood as well. The structure of the Marvel Universe doesn’t allow tit-for-tat, escalating retaliation, no matter how appropriate the retaliation would be, because too many characters would die. So the poor reader is supposed to watch Tigra be beaten up and think, “Oh, poor Tigra,” or enjoy the sequence as a misogynist would.

    Since Tigra’s supposed intimidation is the core of the story, there is no story in a literary sense. There’s no theme, no character development, only a suggestion of a plot–unless a reader enjoyed seeing the criminals come into some cash or enjoyed seeing Tigra’s pain and suffering, there’s no artistic content to speak of. What appears on the pages of NA #35 wouldn’t satisfy the legal definition of obscenity–but what appears is devoid of artistic worth, and can accurately be termed pornography.

    SRS

  38. jman
    October 18, 2007 at 1:29 pm — Reply

    “The unreal nature of the events in Bendis’s story is a primary reason, IMO, why the story fails so badly. The threat to Tigra’s mother could work in a crime fiction story, but not here; superheroes and supervillains exist to fight each other within morality plays, and they generally interact with the “real world” in limited and very specific ways. Handling that interaction skillfully is an art that Busiek mastered and others have done well at, but Bendis doesn’t even try.”

    This summed up out the point I’ve been making all along, and with a nice reference to Kurt Busiek…;)

    I kinda get the sense that Bendis is trying to ape Frank Miller/Seinfeld sometimes with the repetition of dialogue(“Got it?” “Aaaiiee!!” Just count how many times someone says “Shut up” in “All-Star Goddamn Batman and Robin”).

    I don’t think Bendis “gets” superheroes outside of his own “Powers.” Seems to do better on out of continutity tales(“What if? = Avengers Dissabsembeld” explained more than the actual story it was based on). Too much ignorance of continuity.

    And if he wanted to do a Defenders book with street-level brawlers(Luke Cage, Daredevil,
    Ronin/Echo,etc. Hell, throw his favorite hard-ons Doc Strange and Namor in there if he likes) let him have at it. At least they’re characters that I’m not fond of getting screwed over on the regular. Just keep him away from Avengers, Quesada. Post-Civil War Marvel is a shambles.

  39. Steven R. Stahl
    October 19, 2007 at 12:07 pm — Reply

    Readers of NEW AVENGERS #35, whether their reactions to the content were pro or con, might be interested in this interview (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=133467 ) re the Hood and Tigra. I read it, and don’t buy Bendis’s rationales at all. He doesn’t appear to be familiar enough with literary criticism to understand that there are supposed to be reasons for characters to do what they do. Those reasons are connected to characterizations, plot and theme(s), all forming a structure. Things don’t just “happen.” Note Bendis’s repeated claims that there was *no* sexual content in the Tigra-Hood sequence, and then relate those claims to the treatment of women in NEW AVENGERS and “Avengers Disassembled”–Belova, Jan, Wanda, et al. Bendis touted the interview on his own Web site (http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/showthread.php?t=128953&page=24)– he’s obviously aware of the appearance of misogyny in his work, but he’s not trying to avoid the perception.

    SRS

  40. Tremaine
    October 23, 2007 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    Tigra is someone I actually repect and, well you just KNOW she’ll kill the Hood, soon. Not “beat”, “slam”, “mame” or “trounce” on. She’ll actually kill him. But I’m not a big fan of this etheir…

  41. Tremaine
    October 23, 2007 at 3:54 pm — Reply

    And I also notice you worship Tigra like the cool cat god she is ^_^ (like me) She could be the next Huntress…wait, we dont want that now..do we?

  42. November 4, 2010 at 2:04 am — Reply

    This isn’t the first time Bendis has sacrificed 2nd stringers to legitimize a new villian threat… Alpha Flight, anyone? (And the less said about Omega Flight the better).

    I agree that the Tigra scene is waaay overdone. It doesn’t work not because it disturbs me but because it takes me out of the story. I had actually dug the issue until that point. Then it was like, “eww, Bendis, why?” I think it plays that way to me for two reasons: 1) Two-Face, er, I mean Jigsaw taping it. This is just creepy and fetishistic. It unnecessarily calls up snuff and/or torture porn connations without needing to. 2) Tigra’s passivity/victimization. If Tigra fights the Hoods and ultimately is defeated and begrudgingly relents because of the threat to her mother, that’s one thing. But she’s totally portrayed as the terrorized victim with her screaming. It’s just too much. Have the Hood give her a beat-down if need be, but why make it so creepy? It also makes me really dislike The Hood, whereas he had been shaking up as a somewhat compelling villian. (Also agree this is like “Killing Joke” lite)

    I also question why C-list villians are shown partying together at the end. If these guys are as sick in a mental way as Bendis would have us believe, wouldn’t they be pretty antisocial and distrustful of each other?

    We haven’t even mentioned that Deathlok is apparently destroyed offscreen. Or how this issue wins “misleading cover” of the year. Or how the NA are apparently symbiotes prior to WWHulk but this is never mentioned anywhere else! Bendis!!!!!!!

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