Or – “Interludes With People I Don’t Really Like All That Much…”

There was a time when certain characters belonged to certain franchises, and you wouldn’t SEE The Beast as an Avenger because he was “owned” by X-Men editorial.  Those days are mostly gone, and the current lineups of the various Avengers teams include active members of the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and even the majority of the long-gone (and much lamented, in my mind) Defenders.  Most interesting/problematic is the transitioning of Jemas-Quesada era concepts like Marvel Boy and The Hood into main-event status with the Avengers.  When your team consists of pretty dang much everyone all at once, it has the potential to do more damage to your franchise than the structure can bear.  How does the next big arc of the flagship Avengers title deal with that imbalance?

By adding a couple more guys, of course…

Avengers #7
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils by JOHN ROMITA, JR.
Inks by KLAUS JANSON/TOM PALMER
Colors by DEAN WHITE
Letters by CORY PETIT
Published by MARVEL COMICS

Previously, on The Avengers:  After Norman Osborn’s devastating tenure as head of Superhuman Affairs (or whatever the position is actually called), The President gave Commander Steve Rogers domain over the Avengers and the superheroes of the Marvel Universe.  Rather than try and make Tony Stark, Henry Pym and Luke Cage co-exist, he wisely gave each of the strongest Avengers leaders their own team to work with.  Iron Man’s squad was immediately thrown into battle against Kang The Conqueror and a cadre of future villains, including The Maestro, the Next Avengers, Spider-Girl and an ancient Iron Man himself.  The time-travel madness ended with none of it ever having happened, and a stern warning issued to Iron Man about the menace of Ultron, as well as Noh-Varr of the Kree joining the team as The Protector.  This issue promises another Marvel heavy-hitter appearing (which isn’t a spoiler at all, since they’ve been touting “Red Hulk Joins The Avengers!” for about three months now, but first, there’s a bit of housekeeping to do.

We open in the Himalayas, with a mysterious man finally finding the foundations of the city of Attilan, long ago torn free from its’ moorings by Black Bolt and relocated to the moon.  He kills his mountain guides and digs his way into the under-city to find a lost treasure:  The Reality Gem!  For those who remember The Illuminati series of a couple years ago, the leader-types of the Marvel Universe arrogantly decided that only they could keep the gems safe, which for Black Bolt seems to have meant sticking it in his cellar and leaving it behind when he moved.  Because that’s fun…  The man is revealed to be Parker Robbins, The Hood (UGH.) who uses his newly-found power over reality to teleport away in search of more power.  I’m really bothered by this plot-thread on a number of levels, not the least of which is that the original miniseries was pretty terrible, and that this turn of events is all-but-ridiculous.  The existence of the Illuminati alone takes the Marvel Universe to an ugly place where all the superheroes with any leadership ability at all were transformed into Machiavellian jerks who believe that the ends justify the means, but this is leading us to believe that they’re not only ARROGANT, but rock-stupid, to boot.

Elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, an angry Wonder Man is having trouble controlling his powers of great purpleness, with burst of energy lancing out everywhere and coherence issues (in all senses of the word) abounding.  Iron Man and Thor find him on top of a bridge, and Wondy lashes out at them, raging that their Avengers teams only lead to death and destruction and all sorts of mean, nasty stuff.  He’s absolutely right, of course, and even points out the incredibly high body count in recent years (pretty much all of which has taken place under the pen of this issue’s writer, I might add) as Iron Man and Thor try to refute his argument.  Wonder Man teleports away, leaving the founding members to muse about how much they miss The Wasp, which is admittedly a very touching moment in the middle of vignettes of random intent.  The Hood finds the power gem hidden in the Baxter Building, then teleports away to the desert, where he punches out the first thing he sees:  The Red Hulk.  The shot is so powerful that Reddy seemingly flies across the country and crashes into the middle of an Avengers meet-and-greet as they welcome The Protector into their ranks.  “In…  finity…” mumbles the monster as we fade to black.

I really want to love the Avengers title, and the lineup of characters is a strong one.  But just a decent roster doesn’t make a team book work, and the first arc of this series was such a mish-mash of madness that there was really no making sense of it, and this issue serves as a series of coming attractions the range from the sublime to the just-plain-dumb.  The Hood is being foisted on us (again), the Red Hulk has yet to prove his staying power to me as a character, the Illuminati sub-plot has holes you could drive a Quinjet through, and Wonder Man’s heel turn, while interesting, seems arbitrary.  I like JR Jr’s art this issue, which may or may not be attributed to Tom Palmer on inks, but the wheels are spinning in empty space for the most part.  Avengers #7 is disappointing across the board, and even the good parts aren’t enough to make me happy to spend four bucks on a series of what amount to trailers, leading to 1.5 out of 5 stars overall

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  What effect does having 40 members across 4 titles really have on the Avengers franchise?

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.

Previous post

Source Code trailer arrives

Next post

REVIEW: Deadpool Max #2

13 Comments

  1. Shane Hanna
    November 21, 2010 at 7:40 pm — Reply

    Just a question. Wasn’t the Inhumans’ city moved long before the whole Infinity Gauntlet saga, so why would Black Bolt have hidden the gem there?

    I thought the issue was good, but think we could do without the Hood ever again…

    • November 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm — Reply

      Wasn’t the Inhumans’ city moved long before the whole Infinity Gauntlet saga, so why would Black Bolt have hidden the gem there?

      Presumably because no one could/would get into the frozen mountains? It really is a dumb move, even if we take into account that Bolt died in combat. Keeping an artifact of power with no alarms, no defense, not even a frickin’ Alpha Primitive to watch over them makes it clear that the legendary mind of Black Bolt is pretty much just a legend.

  2. Crash
    November 21, 2010 at 7:54 pm — Reply

    I’m not entirely surprised about this. I dropped this book from my pull list after issue 6 and after reading your review I’m glad for it. It kind of makes me sad too since I haven’t had to drop a title from my pull list in forever.

  3. Slappy
    November 21, 2010 at 8:17 pm — Reply

    If it has the same effect as the X-Men, then it will get to the point that we don’t give a damn about the team in general and will cherry pick the issues involving the characters we like and get pissed off whenever there is a crossover with the rest of the Avengers titles because it means we will get on box linked to the title we like and 12 dollars spent on stuff we didn;t care about or want.

  4. Gibralter
    November 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm — Reply

    I remember in the mid to late eighty i think it was; this happened before almost every hero Marvel had was a reserve Avenger. This lead to them trimming down the team dramticly because it was to bloated for them to use effectively. Oh well there are no new ideas right.

  5. Alan
    November 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm — Reply

    I suppose it’s plausible that Black Bolt wouldn’t actually want to keep the gem in Attilan itself, since, you know, he’s utterly incapable of keeping Maximus locked up for more than five minutes. [Psycho Mind Controller] + [Reality Gem] = [Bad Time for All]. Still doesn’t explain why he left it completely undefended, of course, other than the natural defense of being buried on top of the Himalayan Mountains. How the heck did the Hood even know it was there?

  6. Smoothesuede
    November 22, 2010 at 6:06 am — Reply

    There’s an unfortunate problem here in Bendis. I have confidance that these casts can work, but Bendis isn’t pulling his weight here anymore…

  7. PhoenixKnight
    November 22, 2010 at 9:12 am — Reply

    Ok I gotta say it.

    IRON MAN HAD THE REALITY GEM NOT BLACK BOLT!

    Black Bolt was given the space gem. This would not be SO bad but the fact the Bendis wrote both makes me think he is just pulling all of this out of his rear end.

    • Umbra
      November 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm — Reply

      I suppose they could have always traded them. Maybe Ironman got a Blue Eyes White Dragon and a Michael Jordan rookie card out of the deal too…

  8. SenorEjaz
    November 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    Bendis on the Avengers is really starting to make me despise Bendis as a writer. It was bad enough what happened with the Scarlet Witch. But this rubbish with the Hood? A terrible villain made worse by being treated as a real threat in the Marvel Universe. Of course Black Bolt left the gem with ultimate power behind! It’s convenient for Bendis’ Mary-Sue! Since now he can just waltz into the Baxter Building, everyone does it! It’s not like the building should have the most sensitive and powerful defences this side of the Death Star, what with having portals to the Negative Zone and weapons to fight Galactus…

  9. G
    November 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm — Reply

    I didn’t read this comic because I don’t think much of Mr. Bendis’ writing but, being a nerd, I read this review because I have to know what happens in ever comic in case it comes up in a comic I do care about. Having said this…

    … so, wait, Robbins just gets two of the Infinity Gems within 22 pages and stumbles onto Red Hulk, punches him so that he flies 2000 miles, and after a random trajectory, Rulk happens to land in the middle of the collected Avengers?
    That’s just God awful.

  10. kevin breen
    November 23, 2010 at 4:23 am — Reply

    Its sympomatic of comics lately to have such big plots that the suspension of disbelief is stretched beyond the breaking point. The Avengers just saved Time, now Reality is threatened. It seems the heroes are always saving Time, Reality, the Universe or some such. I suppose one reason for this is that it takes big threats to drive the Events that plague comics these days, but even in individual books like Avengers or JLA or Green Lantern, everything is so cosmic it defies belief. That kind of thing is fascinating when used sparsely, but you just can’t believe that Events like this happen every day. CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS was a terrific idea, but it should never have spawned a sequel, let alone annual Crises.

  11. Craig Chase
    January 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm — Reply

    Jeesh will you guys just stop with all the hate?? You guys are flippin spoiled! I happen to love JRJR art and Bendis’s writing. These guys have been doing great stories for a great long time. I for one would rather read this comparied to older comic books from back in the day. Just more action and better quality. Also I love the story line behind the Red Hulk. Very ironic that it turned out to be Ross. I think he’ll be a great addition to the Avengers. There’s just a lot that can be done with him as a chacter. I don’t understand why people bash on the current Marvel stuff, for me there’s been so many cool things going on curretly that it has actually brought me back to comics. Keep up the good work, you have a huge fan here that enjoys your work. The spoiled ones here are not the voice of your readers, just haters who wouldn’t even like a good thing when they see it because they don’t recognize it. Thanks!!

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section