Hey, everyone. This is D.C. back for something I want to open up for discussion. I’ve not finished any comic reviews (adult life, you know), but I have several in the works, and just as many questions I want to ask the readers.
Let me state the obvious again: I have read comic books for most of my life. Since comic books have existed, there have been literary devices used in them as often as any other literary work. When my comic book addiction (yes, ADDICTION) was rekindled in full swing, I’ve picked up old and new books alike to indulge in my vice.
However, something started to nag at me as I read more modern books. It was an itch at the forefront of my brain that wouldn’t stop. What was bothering me about the comic books today that did not bother me before? When I came across Ed Brubaker’s The Fade Out (you can read Kay G.’s blog on The Fade Out HERE), that annoyance I felt about modern comics made itself known.
Modern comics have NO captions in their books.
Let me rephrase: the majority of modern comic books I’ve been reading have NO captions in their books, and the others aren’t using them effectively.
Now, for me, as a comic lover and a lover of reading (as any well-meaning adult should be), I like literary devices in my books. I like the writer to show me his/her skill in describing imagery while throwing out alliterations, similes, and metaphors. As I stated in my blog on Miracleman, literary devices give life to a book.
Why are writers these days shying away from captions? Let’s ask some questions:
Do writers just not prefer captions?
If that were the case, then I would hope writers would show how skillful they are at writing so readers can understand the nuances and idiosyncrasies that give each character their own identities. I’ve seen some lack in that. Case in point:
From the onset, Laura Kinney, formerly X-23 and now Wolverine, was portrayed as a killing machine who struggles to understand emotions and to just be a girl. More importantly, Laura’s speech style was distinct. It was one you would expect of born-and-bred assassin: succinct, calculated, tactless, and completely devoid of social grace:
When I next see Laura Kinney, she’s in the company of the young, time-lost X-Men in All-New X-Men. Worse yet, she’s talking like this:
And like this:
I’m very open to changes, and I can understand Laura trying to smoothen out her own edges to feel more normal, but this quickly? Why is she speaking so colloquially now? Where did Laura’s eloquence go? Why does she use contractions when it was something she never did? It goes against her entire character, her essence, and her upbringing, no matter how heinous it was. And like real life, we rarely, if ever, change the essential parts of what makes us, us.
Did Laura ever go through an evolution in which she made attempts to break her mold? Was she shown actively trying, and failing sometimes, to “normalize” herself? Was there a progression, or did this all happen spontaneously?
Not only do I feel X-23 lost her essential parts under Bendis (neglecting her standard hack-and-slash), but she lost what made Laura distinct. She sounds generic.
Hm. I went a little tangental there, so rant over on that.
Just kidding. Rant continues!
Let’s take a look at how I feel “real” writers write:
Looking at the top three examples…need I really explain what makes the captions satisfying? They delve beyond the characters’ words or thoughts. They give life to the worlds in which they live and to the situations in which they find themselves.
Jim Zaub uses captions in Wayward, but they serve little more than thoughts rattling in the characters’ heads. If you’re using captions as thought bubbles without ever going beyond simple thoughts, why bother? You’re doing NOTHING special.
Even simple captioning is effective. Charles Soule’s Death of Wolverine is proof of that. Throughout the book, Soule wrote captions with simple words or phrases that, to me, conveyed primal emotions and perceptions characteristic of what an animal might perceive.
Are writers inept at caption-writing?
I will enjoy comics unto my death, but honestly? Yes. I believe the majority of today’s writers are showing that they’re inept at their expertise. If they ARE adept at caption-writing, then why isn’t it being used? It’s not enough to just show a character speaking or thinking (if they can even muster that anymore).
How about telling us what the characters feel? What do they see and think?
No, scratch that. We KNOW what the characters see and think. Better yet, how about you tell me what the characters perceive from their actions, choices, and their environments? That requires skill.
As Zaub’s Wayward proved, there’s nothing skillful about replacing thought bubbles with captions. That does not suffice for one hungry for literary skill.
Is there some stigma around caption-writing, or is it because writers believe the readers don’t want it?
On the latter point: I hope we as readers are not being taken for fools. I would hope, too, that my fellow readers are smarter than this, and are looking critically at the quality of their comics in every facet.
On the former point…We can see that that simply can’t be so, given how modern writers like Ed Brubaker, Mark Waid, and Charles Soule employ captions effectively. If they prove that it can still be done to this day, then what is the silent, apparent aversion?
Recap and reflection
Can we get more from the books we read? Can we get more quality and more skill from those who claim to be writers? I am assuming that they don’t polish their skills through lessons and workshops, which is an admittedly gross stretch on my part, but let’s consider the possibility: If those of us who work in the professional world are expected to remain up-to-date in our profession via training and workshops, is it a stretch to expect writers to be held to the same standard?
Comics are still good to me, and some writers have gotten away with writing and selling well without using captions (or with little literary skill in general, I suspect), but if you can do better, why not?
I ask again once more: Is it really too much to ask our comic writers to be writers?
Hey everybody this is Kay G. coming at you.
So I finally got my hands on Civil War. It’s been on my list for a long time now and I finally read it. First of all it’s a much quicker read then I anticipated it to be, but then again there are many tie-ins to this story that I have not read yet.
Civil War by Mark Millar, by far exceeded my expectations. Civil War as we all know has been marketed like crazy because of the movie that is coming out, and any of you who are interested in reading it, it’s going to be well worth your time. Civil War tie-ins can also be found in and all over the bookstores right now. Because as always the marketing is so big for one of these movies, that you find it everywhere you turn. Now for those of you who may think, “oh I want to read this before the movie comes out” beware: This is not the movie. Civil war the comic and Civil war the movie will very much be separate. That all has to do with movie and character rights within production. Marvel as I’m sure most of you know is owned by Disney these are Avenger films that we’ve been seeing, and X-Men who are also Marvel, FOX owns the right to those characters; hint can’t mix up the two. So that means that movie will not fall in line with the way the actual story plays out.
In Civil War, the U.S government passes a Superhero Registration Act that is designed to have the superheroes under official regulation, but not all agree to this law that’s about to be passed. The two against each other is none other than Captain America and Iron Man with poor Spider-Man caught right in the middle. Captain America believes in keeping his identity and others safe in what they do, secret identity and keeping their lives separated is very important to him. While on the other hand Iron Man, believes that the law should be passed and that they should be working with the government along with identities known and the public feeling more comfortable with who they are. The war becomes a conflict between freedom and security, the main theme of what Civil War is all about. Civil War is all about “whose side are you on?”
Civil War is good story that shows you what law and conflict can do, even to superhuman beings. This registration has two great iconic figures split right down the middle. Iron Man (Tony Stark), pro-registration also had Mr. Fantastic and Hank Pym on his side arguing that changing the political map meant that resisting the law was pointless and it was reasonable for heroes to have proper training and oversight in what they were doing. Captain America (Steve Rogers), against the registration had Luke Cage and Falcon arguing that heroes required security in order to protect aspects of their lives outside of being a “hero”, such as their spouses and children.
Spider-man, who I said was caught in the middle made the decision to go along side Iron Man, a man he very much idealized. Peter Parker reveals his identity to the public but this decision soon falls out, when certain circumstances arise and a team member on Captain America’s side is killed. The death of this character brought the war to be more epic and more forceful then either of them could imagine. This moment brought together more heroes to Captain’s side and even Punisher joined his team.
Civil War is an iconic story, and I’m very interested on how they will take this story and represent it in the film. Characters will be different, some story lines I’m sure will be changed in order for it to fit the movie script. Overall, this is amazing read packed with emotion and action and real look into what order and chaos can do to these incredible super beings. I very much loved it, I know my partner D.C will recommend it as well (and yes he had read the tie-ins). This comic is gripping and there is never a dull moment in the reading, and is a great story that I’m looking forward to reading tie-ins to.
Also, if anyone is curious if I had to pick a side, I think it would be Captain America. I think his points are valid in wanting to protect their identity of who they are and protecting their families. Whose side are you on?
This is Kay G. over and out, thanks for reading and let me know who’s side you chose.
Hey, hey. This is D.C. Jackson here for another throwdown.
Like some people, I grew up on a certain genre of film, television, etc. While I love comics as a medium, my most favorite genre in any medium as always been horror. It’s in my blood.
So, eventually I was going to read something like this:
Vertigo’s Wolf Moon came out last year, and is the brainchild of writer Cullen Bunn and artist Jeremy Haun. The 6-issue mini-series involves a man’s hunt for a werewolf that ruined his life. However, protagonist Dillon Chase is not the only man hunting the werewolf.
Da Good Stuff
Wolf Moon is BRUTAL. I can’t emphasize that enough.
I don’t recall ever reading something so horrendous, so violating, and so disturbing.
The very graphic nature of the werewolf is given ample spotlight, the coloring by Lee Loughridge help to enhance the horror brought by Haun’s art. In all its incarnations, the werewolf is not a hunter, but a malicious, sadistic murderer that, as Chase says, hunts for pleasure, rather than necessity.
Every death committed by the werewolf is so horrendous.
I love learning about folklore and myths, and I’m sure everyone is familiar with werewolf folklore in some form. However, Bunn introduces aspects I’ve never been aware of, and I was thankful for that. I enjoyed how the werewolf curse was not passed by a bite, as seen in other media. In Wolf Moon, how the curse passes from person to person emphasizes the difficulties Dillon Chase has in tracking and ending the curse.
Bunn also does a good job making you understand how these people have been affected by the werewolf curse. None were left unscathed, and all were changed forever. No time was given to overload the read on flashbacks of one character, not even Dillon, and that was a very well-thought out plan on Bunn’s part. You see what the character thinks, how they felt, how they got to their emotional point, and why you should understand and care about them.
Flashbacks are plentiful in Wolf Moon. I loved the distinctly bloody hue of the flashbacks provided by Loughridge. Nothing says horror than crimson. Simply put, each flashback was written in a meaningful way.
The ending, in true horror fashion, leaves you almost elated, until you see just how wide-reaching the werewolf curse really is. I was left feeling dejected by the end of the story, but in a good way. And I believe that if Dillon knew how meaningful his obsessive quest truly was, he would have felt the same.
Da Not-So-Good Stuff
The only thing I can even consider a problem was the climax of the book. There is one character who hunting the werewolf just like Dillon, but for other reasons. I would have liked to have had a little more time on a couple of characters. Nonetheless, none of the characters’ time in Wolf Moon, or lack thereof, did little to diminish the quality of the story.
Wolf Moon was an incredibly quick and incredibly satisfying horror by Vertigo. Cullen Bunn wrote each character very simply with just enough background to understand the motivations and emotions behind the important characters. I only wished for a little more development on two characters, but it is something I could easily overlook look that when faced with the creative team’s success at delivering a visual and literary dark tale.
Kay also read this before me and loved it, and I couldn’t help but agree. If you’re looking for a good-quality horror experience, we both highly recommend Vertigo’s Wolf Moon.
This is D.C., and today’s throwdown will be on something I was very much looking forward to reading:
Marvel Comics’ Secret Wars of 2015, as opposed to the 1984 iteration (I’ve not read that one, but you best believe I will someday).
Let’s take a step back.
As I’ve said before, I’ve had a deep love for Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers saga that detailed the incursions and the end of all of Marvel’s universes. While Hickman chronicled the heroism and ethical dilemmas in Avengers and New Avengers, hints of the breaking of reality and earthlings’ fault in the matter could be seen in various other books:
Spider-Verse, X-Men’s Battle of the Atom and All-New X-Men, Age of Ultron, War of Kings, Realm of Kings, the Thanos Imperative, Volume 2 of New Avengers (the Heroic Age), and X-Termination all have bouts of the weakening barriers of the multiverse.
The incursions in Hickman’s saga is just the culmination of the constant reality-hopping intrusions and time-travelling mishaps the heroes commit. Hank McCoy, the X-Men’s Beast, is possibly the worst offender of all, given both his time-jumping the young X-Men into the present and his work with the Illuminati:
So, by the time Secret Wars begins, we are at the Final Incursion, the inevitability. Two Earths remain and are on a collision with one another. The mutual destruction means the end of all universes, the destruction of one leaves one universe alive. So what happens?
Pure, unadulterated chaos between Earth-616 (main earth) and Earth-1610 (Ultimate Marvel earth). Characters from both Earths make a last ditch attempt to defeat one another to save their own planet. Amid the chaos, the real planners try not to win–they try not to lose. The Illuminati try to escape with a so-called “resurrection team,” tasked with reviving the species (a very big eugenics nod, when you read Mr. Fantastic). Meanwhile, the Cabal, along with the Maker (Earth-1610 Reed Richards) make their own escape plans.
The first issue of Secret Wars was sad. It was as grueling and sad look at what any species would do when faced with extinction. They chaotically gasp for their final breaths as they wage a futile war.
The Good Stuff
The first issue was, by far, my favorite of the series. It is chaotic, saddening, and gripping, fitting for the end of all that is.
I have little to say on the coloring aspect of Secret Wars. It’s good, and gives the feel that I was reading an epic.
The covers. My goodness. I’ve always been a fan of Alex Ross’ art since I read Kingdom Come so many years ago:
Even the variant covers NOT done by Alex Ross were great to look at:
Hickman’s portrayal of Dr. Doom was actually very superb. While Doom’s overwhelming narcissism is present, his personality reaches a different realm to me. Immediately you perceive his feelings of love, and even his lack of self-confidence.
The best part of this story? You see that Doom limits himself and remains so petty, even with godlike power in his hands. Doom is gifted with omnipotence and he still can’t think of much better than to combat his insecurities towards Reed Richards. You really start to pity Doom early on and throughout the event when you realize just how small this “god” really is.
The Not-So-Good Stuff
The first issue of Secret Wars told me I would be in for some problems, thanks to Esad Ribic’s art.
If you read my critique of DC Comic’s Batwoman, you will know that the worst thing I think a creative team can do is to forget what came before when doing their work. The same occurs here on one of the splash pages.
If you look immediately to the right of the Hulk, you see a flying figure that most certainly appears to be Hyperion. The design makes it very likely.
There is NO REASON Hyperion should have been on Earth–he was dead by this point. Hickman’s Time Runs Out arc explained why. It turns me off whenever past events are not reviewed before making a story. This is a very bad thing to do in any medium.
Ribic’s art catches me off-guard at some points. He’s very hit and miss; at many points the art is beautiful, colossal, and raw. At other points his execution is just…ugly. There isn’t a definitive point where it’s one thing and another, but there are hiccups in the event.
Sue Storm just looks…well…hideous. Not to mention her arm. I tried to mimic the pose. It feels and LOOKS anatomically incorrect:
As for the survivors of the former earth…Why were they chosen? Manifold was tasked with retrieving certain people during the Final Incursion, but there was absolutely zero reason provided as to WHY these people were chosen out of many. Clarity would have made sense of this.
Secret Wars suffered from several instances where events occurred for no good reason, for example: the Thing relenting in his fight with Franklin; how easily the Thing trusted Thanos; how quickly and easily the zombies in the Shield sided with Black Panther and Namor. Again…clarity would have helped.
Secret Wars was an appropriate send-off to Jonathan Hickman’s enduring saga of the end of all things.
I’ve read reviews that the main event suffered from a disjointed plot, and I agree. Some events occurred without reason, and that made for a very confusing read. There was substantial focus given to Dr. Doom that gave a good understanding of the burden Doom suffered. Some focus is placed on Mr. Fantastic, but there wasn’t nearly enough time given to the other survivors and how they adjusted to their new reality.
Unfortunately, there are hints that Secret Wars might have been a very rushed project. Quite a bit of what happens does not make sense because of the lack of development given to the cast, and to that of the world itself. One would expect world-building in the main series. The 40-some odd tie-ins will assist in that, but why would you need that many tie-ins to help make the main event comprehensible?
There are many things I wished that could have happened in Secret Wars and Hickman’s incursion saga in general, but it was a surprisingly quick and decent read. I’d give it a 3/5.
One final issue:
For those who aren’t familiar with the reality hopping Exiles series, it’s a worthwhile read. With the collapse of the multiverse, I can’t understand why these characters NEVER made an appearance through Hickman’s incursion saga, in Avengers, New Avengers, or even Secret Wars. Where the heck were they? Multiversal problems were their specialty!
D.C. here for a little throwdown.
I’ve had a somewhat growing dissatisfaction with the big two comic publishers (Marvel and DC) for some time. They seem to have forgotten it means to put out good, meaningful work. Marvel in particular seems to have developed a recent habit of hiring artists whose work, in my eyes, is atrocious.
So, to that end, I’d made an effort to expand to other publishers and even other work in Marvel and DC that I hadn’t considered tackling in my youth.
At Wondercon, I bought this:
Valiant Comics’ Shadowman is the work of creative team Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher. Unlike DC and Marvel, I know next to nothing about Valiant Comics’ universe. What made me pick up Shadowman was in the cover above. Shadows? Demonic looking creatures? Death? Action? Count me in!
And so I read it.
Shadowman is pretty decent, in my opinion. Jordan really hits the ground running in storytelling. We get a sufficient background into Jack Boniface’s parents just prior to his birth, and the fate of his parents. Nothing was terribly obvious, except for the sacrifice inherent in Jack’s family history, and the power he was going to inherit.
Years later, we quickly see Jack as a charismatic, yet somewhat guarded, young man. He works at a museum, but he’s not a curator. I don’t think it’s clearly stated what his occupation is. And I don’t know why Jordan had me wondering this minor detail, haha. But it’s a curious thing, nonetheless.
The stage is set when Jack throws away a keepsake of his father’s, an amulet that concealed his presence from the forces that have hunted him for his entirely life. And from there, the action just pours out of the storyline.
Now, I’ve seen some strange mess in comics, but a talking monkey in a realm of the dead? That made me raise my eyebrows, and not in a bad way. It was a funny quirk that adds even greater mystery to the series. The monkey seems duplicitous to me, at least at the end of Volume 1. I look forward to seeing what his history and motivations are, because none of that was made clear.
The cast introduced in Shadowman each seemed to have had their own personal histories set, so character background was minimal. Which is fine, because it’s not their story, so much as it’s Jack’s. Their background need not be so fleshed out so early on. Nonetheless, the supporting cast in Shadowman were portrayed sufficiently and adequately.
You can’t help but be intrigued by what appears to be the primary antagonist in this series, the Brethren, a bunch of middle-aged and old fart businesspeople. It’s obvious they have clout and standing that will be a problem for our Shadowman, but is there more to them, aside from their worshipping a demon?
This all screams cult or religious fanaticism, two things I’ve always been into in literature.
I enjoyed Justin Jordan’s explanation of magic in this series. It’s not too much different from other comics that theorized magic as just another advanced science, but Jordan nonetheless makes it explained well enough in the first volume that even those without scientific backgrounds can understand. We see the magic applied in Volume 1, but it’s clear that Jordan has more in store in terms of the full aspects and understanding of magic, since Shadowman is only just learning his abilities.
Patrick Zircher’s art is nothing earth-shattering to me, but that’s just fine. Zircher shows how effective his art is when aided by Bob Layton’s coloring skills to capture the dark, magical aspect of Shadowman. I’m torn between deciding if the art gives the book a biblical feel, supernatural feel, or a horror aspect. Perhaps it’s all, or neither of these? Nonetheless, I like it because of its effectiveness.
I’m honestly not sure how I felt about Shadowman. There wasn’t a lot of information given in the first volume. The full explanation of magic, Jack’s past, the backgrounds of his supporting cast and those of the antagonists…that damn monkey in the Deadlands. All we got was a set-up. Is that good enough? It all depends on the delivery. All these things will hopefully get addressed adequately in later issues. Hopefully they will have impact on the character and the Valiant universe.
As a story, I didn’t get a terrible lot from this first volume, but I appreciate the creative team’s obvious set-up of Shadowman’s mythos.
Hello everyone this is Kay G. coming at you.
I have been introduced to something new and fascinating, something that fits my fad very well. (FYI: huge Film Noir lover) What I’m talking about is The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker. A classic “who done it” Hollywood tale set in the 1940’s. The story opens up just like a late Hollywood film, in the era of beauty, entertainment and great discovery; a place where stars are born. It is also the era of mystery and murder so from screen to page, a classic Film Noir.
Brubaker did a great job with his research team; he got the look and feel of this era just right. Brubaker got it down to the lingo, wardrobe, cars, war and the chain smoking. The story also mentions blacklisting, the Hollywood Ten, and even the communist party which during this time period in entertainment was a big deal. This story is written so well that it reads like a book, better yet it reads like a film, and Sean Phillips does a beautiful job showing how much visual plays an important part. The coloring is vivid and bold; Sean even does black and white shots when in the characters are in filming.
Fade out starts off with Charlie Parish a big shot Hollywood screenwriter, who still has nightmares of the war passed out drunk in an unknown bathtub. When Charlie awakes he finds Val Sommers raped and murdered with no recollection of what’s happened. Val is a hot and new coming actress who’s starting in a film Charlie is writing…well she was an actress. The whole night becomes a blur of images while Charlie attempts to put pieces together that he just can’t quiet figure out.
During the set of production, there is no mercy, re-shoots must be taken a new actress must be found and replaced. In the terms of show business, “the show must go on” and surprisingly enough there’s already been a new actress hired for the part. (Hmm…suspicious much?)
Sex and drugs play a big role in old Hollywood films. Women would do ANYTHING to make their dreams of being an actress come true, and the men producing and casting very much knew this. The scene where Maya Silver is introduced to take over Val’s role, is very fishy and makes the murder mystery that much more mysterious. At this point in the story, anybody could have killed Val.
The second act starts off with scandal and mystery as much as the first. Gil starts up by getting into some trouble once again. Gil’s a blacklisted screenwriter, and Charlie’s best friend along with being his working partner. Gil finds out information about Al Kamp; an old dirty man with a taste for young woman and co-founder of Victory Street Productions. Gil finds out about Kamp’s lifestyle and how the possibility of his past and fondness of young women might have a connection with Val’s murder. Gil gets stopped by Brodsky who is the head of security, the man who’s payed to clean up messes and bury them into the ground.
Maya and Charlie also become very cozy, very soon. One night at movie premiere, Charlie was asked to escort Maya and after some heated debate with a man that had to do with her ex-husband and her past, it let up to a very hot night. Charlie and Maya were glued together much after this, with sneak peek glances on set, and a weekend away. Charlie and Maya’s relationship took on steamy fire that led to sex and more sex every time. Yet, like everything else in Charlie’s life, nothing ever good seems to last for him. We find out a little more into whom Maya was and what her past was, a Mexican girl who was made to look like a star with the rest of her past washed and threatened away. All the while, Gil continues to dig up as much information about the conspiracy with Val’s death as he can with threat notes and stake outs.
The final act, act III is more complex, crazy, and everything just spills out. Charlie recollects about an evening he found Val lying on the floor, sick and drunk. This night secrets of each other’s past are told. Val tells Charlie about when she was a kid, and what she had to do to satisfy the needs of producers to help her career. Charlie reveals his past in the war and what it did to him, along with him fronting for Gil to help both their jobs and survival.
Secrets get deeper and truth gets told, this act is the most compelling of them all. In the middle of all this mess we find out about an affair Charlie has with Gil’s wife, which causes him to be more of drunk then he already was. Gil gets caught too deep into the truth and drags Charlie along with him to Kamp’s home trying to get the old man to talk, all to find him dead in the bathtub. Both men get caught and try to escape, but with guns blazing Gil gets shot and Charlie run’s to Maya’s for help. Charlie wakes up the next morning with Gil dead in the car and Brodsky ready to clean up the mess.
Everything becomes buried again once more. Brodsky made Gil’s death look like a poker game gone wrong. Maya is back with the Hollywood heartthrob Ty, now engaged for PR purposes and Charlie is even a bigger mess then he was before. In the end he finds out the truth to what happened. Charlie goes to Brodsky on the night of the big movie premiere and asks for the truth. That Drake Miller, an undercover agent looking for communist got too caught up in his pretend role of a producer. Miller enjoyed the life style he was pretending to be in, got caught up the parties, liquor and loose women. In his quest one night to find out the truth he goes to Val, with her not saying anything, anger rises in him and he chokes her to death. This truth as Brodsky tells Charlie, is full of maybe’s and speculation.
The story ends with Charlie a drunken mess, who has all of what happened to him and the people he knew swept under the rug. Charlie has to live this eating at him for the rest of his life; the truth about Val, Gil, Maya, and even himself. The ending had me feeling dirty and disappointed, everything getting swept under, no justice nor glorification, just darkness and another day. The Fade Out, is a gripping story of mystery and excitement that had me begging for more, just too bad it ended the way it did. In this ending, as sad as it was, spoke the truth of Old Hollywood and what really used to happen.
This is Kay G. over and out.
Hey, all. I’m not reviewing a comic per se, but I’m going to share a question that’s been nagging me for a while. Kay G. said I should mention it so we can share our answers with you.
Like I said before, I’ve read comics for nearly 25 years by all kinds of publishers, but I’m primarily Marvel-bred. Among my favorite teams has been the Avengers, because…really, who doesn’t enjoy a team that changes every so often? Changes in team line-ups and team leaders mean changes in character dynamics and different storylines.
I have enjoyed the many incarnations over the decades, my favorite being the Avengers Machine from Jonathan Hickman’s world-ending saga:
Even the splinter teams have had interesting stories of their own: the West Coast Avengers (which, I don’t recall having read–again, reading for years, haha); Force Works; New Avengers; Secret Avengers; and the Avengers Unity Division. And they’ve all used the cool catchphrase: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
But one thing’s been bothering me for some time:
Just who are the Avengers avenging?
If you’re reading into their name literally, the Avengers are tasked with avenging. If we took them at their name and its meaning, you’d think the Avengers would act in a manner similar to this guy:
For as long as the Avengers have existed, their shtick has been that of a group coming together to handle threats that no one hero can overcome. As such, they’ve had confronted high-level and even cosmic threats. They fight to protect.
But protection isn’t the same as avenging.
Avengers seem to react to the threats they see before them, not taking action to what was DONE to others.
Have the Avengers actually avenged anyone? I’m not certain. There may have been exceptions–Yellowjacket’s death during the 1995 storyline “The Crossing” being one, but avenge means different things to different people: kill, apprehend, punish…
Why haven’t the Avengers, after a good 50-some odd years, not reflected and questioned their own name and purpose? Why haven’t any of the writers? Will they ever?
Now that we have the All-New, All-Different iteration of Avengers…which, frankly, look so odd, especially with the Avengers’ long standing against having children in their ranks…will the creative teams really take a introspective look at what the Avengers are, and what they should be standing for?
Or are they just going to be another aimless team that just attacks threats?
Or, worse: are they just going to repeat the same kinds of stories all over again, like so many other teams and characters do?
What do you think?