Or – “There’s No Kill Like Overkill…”

TVTropes.org defines the term “Lampshade Hanging as “the writers’ trick of dealing with any element of the story that threatens the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief…by calling attention to it and then moving on.”

Well, at least they got us halfway there…

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Gabriele Dell’Otto
Colorist: Ive Svorcina
Letter: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

Previously, in Avengers Annual:  There came a day like none other, when Earth’s Mightiest Heroes came together to defend our world against the menace of Loki!  And then, they branched out to the point where dang near everybody is an Avenger in one form or another.  In New Avengers Annual #1 last year, Simon “Wonder Man” Williams assembled a coterie of second bananas, also-rans, has-beens and wanna-bes, and ambushed the New Avengers in their mansion.  His army (consisting of Anti-Venom, Atlas, Captain Ultra, Century, D-Man, Devil-Slayer, Ethan Edwards, and Goliath) dubbed themselves ‘The Revengers’ (Neal Adams immediately called his lawyer) and swept in like Sherman through Georgia, razing Avengers Mansion in the process before setting off for the distant shores of Manhattan and Avengers Tower?  Why?  Your guess would be just as good as mine..


Honestly, Simon’s motivation makes sense in theory:  The Avengers need to disband because they do more harm that good.  Unfortunately, there are three big holes in his logic:  We, the omnipotent readers, see everything that happens, and aren’t going to be subject to the same doubts that the general public of the Marvel Universe might be.  Secondly, his ranting and raving immediately marks him as a lunatic super-villain.  And finally, he left some of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe lying in the rubble of their home with absolutely no provocation whatsoever.  This issue identifies itself as taking place before Fear Itself #1, which helps with some of the issues I had with last issue’s writing.  Gabriele Dell’Otto’s art is less stiff than in N.A.A. #1, but the finished art feels cruder, making it feel rushed to my eye.  Simon and his goons attack Avengers Tower, causing the combined forces of New, Secret and Adjectiveless Avengers to swarm to the building’s defense, allowing Wonder Man and his cronies to…

…call a press conference?


Throughout the issue, multiple character remark on how wacky Simon’s ideas are, but the really damning bit for me comes in the fact that Bendis just wrote pretty much this whole sequence, only featuring Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers…   Iron Man takes down Wonder Man in a split-second, and Thor teleports the villains away, undercutting any menace that their property damage might have created with the previous issue.  Adding insult to injury (and making the New Avengers look like a bunch o’ putzes too boot), The Avengers take their evil counterparts down in moments.  The rest of the issue sets up a media firestorm of mistrust of the Avengers (AGAIN?), gives us the motivations of the Revengers (a couple of them are pretty cool, especially Ethan Edwards’ and D-Man’s), and sets up an interesting character piece between Wonder Man and The Beast wherein Simon reveals that he’s “probably not even real.”  Tying Wonder Man’s resurrection in Avengers V.3 to Scarlet Witch’s later madness is interesting, but only in a “bend everything to fit my story’s will” sort of way.  Moreover, the issue ends not only ambiguously, but with ANOTHER cliffhanger…


I suspect that this issue (and it’s predecessor) were created with the though that people would jump at the chance to see the team behind Secret War working together again, but Secret War, for all it’s faults, had more story behind it than this.  At $4.99 for 25 pages of story, I’m already miffed, but $4.99 for the second half of a four-month-old story, one which has already been essentially duplicated in New Avengers, not to mention negated by Fear Itself?  Stick a fork in this one, because I’m about done.  Avengers Annual #1 is nothing more than another Brian Bendis “Why SHOULD the public trust the heroes?” tale, covering ground which was done to death long before the first half of this story came out, earning a disdainful 1 out of 5 stars overall.  If Marvel editorial wants to address the reality of their characters, that’s fine, but you can’t keep asking the same rhetorical question over and over without either answers or anything new to say about it…

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Do you think anyone at Marvel understands that, by creating stories that repeatedly undermine their characters, they’re actually undermining their own PRODUCT?


About Author

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.


  1. Right there with ya, big guy. It was dreadful. The ending was like a big F.U. from Bendis. Or should I say, ANOTHER big F.U. from Bendis. How much longer until this guy is off the Avengers? Oh, please let his reign of terror end!!

  2. I have a theory that Bendis actually hates marvel’s characters and does his best to punish them, turn them evil, or defame them. If they didn’t sell so damn much he’d’ve killed them all already.
    Then bought them back to torture them to death again.

    On a side note, I LOVE that they teleported the villians away so that a fight scene could take place without property damage. EVERY avenger should have a tiny little device that allows them to do that.

  3. Let’s see. We have a team of anti-Avengers formed for dubious reasons who then decide to hold a press conference in front of the media which results in the media questioning them. That’s Civil War, Dark Reign, and the current New Avengers all combined into 2 annuals again… without any conclusion either. Honestly, it’s a tired story coming from Marvel and they really need to move on from this.

    Even worse, both sides had absolutely terrible justifications. 3/4 of the Revengers had absolutely insane justifications and even Wonder Man’s own reasons were vague at best. The only interesting part concerned the Scarlett Witch but apparently that one event is more important than everything else the Avengers have ever done. And the Avengers themselves have absolutely no response to that claim besides “I hope you’re mind controlled!” The entire issue’s plot has already been done and, despite all of the repeats, is no better explored this time than the previous 3 times we’ve seen it. Seriously Bendis, get a different shtick.

  4. I quit reading Marvel Comics after Secret Wars – an incomprehensible mess whose only virtue was putting Spiderman in a black costume – and the Spiderman clone debacle. With the exception of the Oz books. It’s sad to think that the best thing coming out of Marvel these days are Wizard of Oz stories.

    • I quit reading Marvel Comics after Secret Wars – an incomprehensible mess whose only virtue was putting Spiderman in a black costume – and the Spiderman clone debacle.

      The 1984 Secret Wars wasn’t as awful as it could have been, and was certainly less mercenary than many crossovers. Of course, since the Clone Saga was nearly 10 years after that (or ten years before, if you refer to the original story circa Amazing Spider-Man #150) there may be some recidivism in your quitting, there. :D

  5. Eddie Sheridan on

    I haven’t had a chance to say it on this Web site (mainly because, strangely, I never saw it reported here), but I will now: Bendis announcing he’s leaving the Avengers titles was the best comic book news of 2011. Maybe someone can restore a little dignity to the franchise now.

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