The Revengers Explain Themselves

January 4th, 2012 by | Tags: , , , , , ,

This week Marvel released Avengers Annual #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell’otto. It’s the long-awaited follow-up to New Avengers Annual #1 from several months ago, which featured Wonder Man’s Revengers beating the stuffing out of the New Avengers and trashing the mansion. The new issue reads almost like a Garth Ennis anti-superhero story where he somehow reins in the sodomy and bad language. Despite his extreme actions, there’s little reason not to root for Wonder Man. He brings up good points about why the Avengers may not be worth having around and their rebuttal is never anything more than, “My God, Simon’s gone insane!” or “Are you being mind-controlled?” or “Please, Simon! You need help! Would punching you in the face help? I’m going to punch you in the face. It might help.”

The Avengers naturally win and the final scene shows that Wonder Man’s reasoning for wanting the Avengers disbanded goes deeper than originally thought. Before that, after the other Revengers are taken down, one of the Avengers wonders aloud why they did this. Bendis had his own spin on it, having them express feelings of revenge, atonement, insanity and — in Anti-Venom’s case — full agreement in Wonder Man’s mantra. Me? I think Bendis was as off the mark as he is whenever he writes any scene with Marvel Boy in it.

Okay, that might have been a little harsh. It’s not that bad. Still, I think I can shed some better light.

I’d also like to think that Captain Ultra did it for the timing. The trade for this will be out by the time of the Avengers movie, meaning more than eight people might know who he is one day.

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24 comments to “The Revengers Explain Themselves”

  1. So, if I get this right, this “storyline” was essentially a giant f you to longtime Avengers Fans like myself who HATED what Bendis was doing to Avengers history and characters with rich back stories like Wondy, D-Man, Atlas, and Tom Foster?

    This goes right with Johns’ Superman Prime and his handling of the Legion in L of 3 Worlds as not only getting me to dislike the writer but beginning to salt the ground of the franchise.

    If that was the intention, BMB suceeded. I was happy simply ignoring his Avengers until he was gone but this…this is like throwing down the gauntlet looking for a fight.

  2. @Daryll B.: I don’t know if I’d agree with that. I’d call this the only good Avengers arc Bendis has done since Dark Avengers ended.

    The Wonder Man subplot has been built up since Dark Reign started with him showing up on TV to say that he’s realized that the Avengers has always been a big crock. After Siege, he’s had a couple brushes with the main Avengers where he’s told them that they really need to cut it out because while they do some good, they’re also responsible for a ton of atrocities. The Avengers never had a real response to him other than suggesting that there’s something going on with him mentally, which causes him to get more irate every time they cross paths with him because of how dense they all are.

    And the thing is, despite Wonder Man being the antagonist, Bendis makes no attempt to call him out on it. The Avengers only question his behavior instead of listening to what he has to say. Anti-Venom and arguably Tom Foster are the only ones on the team who truly believe in him, but nobody’s given Wonder Man a single real rebuttal. Wonder Man is still shown to be helping people and even tells Beast that he’s still his best friend and he loves him, but the Avengers is directly responsible for so many terrible things and it isn’t worth it.

    The only Revenger response that felt out of character was Atlas, who was pissed that the Avengers refused him membership. While Atlas is most definitely a pretty impulsive and angry guy, he always seemed to want to distance himself from the superhero lifestyle.

    The whole thing is like an interesting mutation of Civil War. The superheroes and the government are on the same side, but it’s working in the heroes’ favor. They get the status, but they still don’t answer for the wrongs they’ve done. The Revengers are the big underdogs, misguided as most of them are, who are there to call them out on everything.

  3. …and do tremendous property damage to prove their point Gavok… Isn’t that why Cap put an end to Civil War in the first place?

    This interview section was seemingly written out of hate mail / opposing opinions that Bendis has received out of his run and it reads exactly like Superboy Prime’s rants. I know you may like it, but to me who has followed Simon Williams along with several of these characters for years. This is TOTALLY out of character…

  4. (Of course I doing this half in fanboy anger and half in humor Gav.. as always it a please debating this with ya!)

  5. @Daryll B.: Cap stopped fighting because he realized there was too much collateral damage and it was getting worse by the second. Outside of unseen pedestrians under Avengers Tower, the Revengers didn’t cause collateral damage. They targeted the Avengers and their headquarters. They even waited until the baby was out of the way first. I wouldn’t call it quite the same.

  6. good point G…still it rubbed me the wrong way… (I hope all of it eventually can be ‘adjusted’ the way you did with Anti-Venom here. But not in the Sue Dibny/Jean Loring way….)

  7. Simon’s reasoning about Wanda and his resurrections make absolutely no sense when you realize Atlas has been resurrected the exact same way and WITHOUT Wanda involved.

  8. I love (hate) Bendis taking an awesome punk rock bad ass kid like Marvel Boy and then giving him the most generic name (“The Protector”), costume (Kree luge team/special forces?), and motivation (“I must protect people!”). It’s like he switched my creative comics crystal meth with cat litter.

  9. I seriously cannot tell if some of this dialogue is fan made or not.

    And hey, they referenced NFL Superpro. Didn’t think they’d do that again.

  10. Quite honestly, the only thing that popped in my head seeing these panels was that they’re a new generation of Street Fighter 2-esque loss portraits!

  11. So there really 100% wasn’t a single moment of introspection from ANY of the Avengers past “golly holy smoke-cows, Simon’s BUGHOUSE!”? At all? Did this lack of any counterargument whatsoever at least get highlighted, in some sort of “Wow, Simon’s CRAAAZY….but I can’t actually form a coherent response to any of his points and now I am making a sad, serious face at the camera” way?

  12. @Drakyn: Well, Beast looked a little thoughtful at the end there.

    I really don’t know how I feel about this issue. The art was really good? The final battle should have lasted more than two pages, particularly with heavy-hitters like Atlas and Virtue on the “bad” side? Simon Williams did make a couple of interesting points, and it’s certainly bullshit that they detained him without any kind of due process, and of course the creation of Ultron is a pretty big black mark. But… what else? Clearly this is a world that needs superpowered protectors, in spite of the property damage that ensues. Does he think the Avengers should just disband and let the Masters of Evil or Frightful Four take over the world? Does he feel the same way about the FF and the X-Men? Or does he think these teams should just come together when there’s an actual battle to be fought? Surely he could appreciate that when the time came for battle Doctor Strange teleported them to a place where no one could be really hurt (which should probably happen more often)?
    I thought it was cool that Simon had legitimate gripes and wasn’t crazy, but this whole thing should really be explored more.
    On the other hand, the whole “the world hates superheroes” thing gets old too. I’m willing to believe people have complaints and questions, but in a world that has Dr. Doom, Count Nefaria, Magneto, etc. I’d think heroes would be accepted by this point. Yes, there’s property damage and yes there’s the occasional lack of due process, but should they just sit on their hands while some losers like the Wrecking Crew take over?
    I’m confused.
    I’d give the whole thing a grade of Incomplete.

  13. Brian Michael Bendis has been writing the Avengers for eigh tyears, and I’ve never been sure he’s even remotely enjoyed himself, or had a point to make other than about the incompetence of the Maria Hill and Victoria Hand characters, and the misery of Jessica Drew.

    The very fact of its continuing existence makes me want to give up reading comics altogether. Not because it’s one of the worst comics on the market, but because so many creatives think this comic is a gold standard of quality, or that it’s awful doesn’t matter because you know, we’re all fanboy idiots, we don’t deserve anything better.

    I have to put up with this for another YEAR. ANOTHER YEAR.

  14. @Dan Coyle: Instead of posting the same blanket complaints that you do for 80% of your comments, you could be responding to everyone who’s calling you out in the Thunderbolts comments for whatever the hell it is you were talking about in terms of Ellis.

    @John F.: It’s tricky because the institution is necessary, but it can definitely use improvement. It’s like a bad government or a corrupt police force or organized religion. They need to do something because as it is, they’re a club that takes care of its own. With the news stuff that went on in the end, I think it became less about “do we need them?” and more about “why aren’t they being honest?”

    When you look at the hoops they had to jump through to make Bucky Cap work, it’s pretty fucked up. Was he mind-controlled? Yes. Still, it’s kind of crazy to take a major terrorist and dress him up as the most trustworthy good guy in the world while keeping his background a secret just so he has a chance to make himself a better path. While it may come from bad writing (and a lot of Wonder Man’s gripes are from actual Bendis stories, so what does that say?), there’s so many instances of “You know what? We’re going to let this shit slide because we’re a club. Just don’t tell the public” that it’s getting ridiculous.

  15. “How can we keep super heroes from routinely making a mess of things while still reaping the benefits” is one of those recurring stories that mainstream comics can unfortunately never directly address in a continuing universe/canon without looking (even more) ridiculous and self-fellating. It’s right in line with:

    -“I’ve been given unbelievable influence over the nature of reality itself, but I think I’ll just put things back to the way they were (with a few tweaks), because anything else would be an abuse of power/unnatural/leave me open to a class action suit.”

    -“Thanks for helping us feed these homeless crippled disease-ridden orphans, Mrs. Richards! Did your husband enjoy his month-long space trip to test the effects of taking a dump in a black hole?”

    -“Look at all this untraceable illicit money! This could pay off the rent, Aunt May’s surgery and my huge tab at Radio Shack while still leaving a few million left over! I can’t take it, though, because that would be wrong, and even if nobody ever found out, I would be forever haunted by committing this unethical act for my own gain. Better leave it all here. Oh whoops, almost forgot the camera I set up to take pictures of me as Spiderman, which I will now sell to a gullible jackass of a tabloid editor with explanations so close to bald-faced lies that I have to keep a heat sink in my underwear.”

    And of course never-ending real world debates over when it’s acceptable to kill, what can we do (torture) to get the information we need out of the enemy, at what point does corruption/abuse in a government demand forceful intervention, will Wonder Woman in pants ever be accepted, etc.

  16. @C: this. all of this.

    It’s dangerous road here. There’s already a lot of handwaving and suspension of disbelief going in with super hero books and addressing issues like this on a meta real world level is bound to end up painting oneself into a corner.

    You can dance around it, but to jump in will inevitably cause problems.

  17. @Urbanguy: Reed Richards should have eliminated cancer worldwide by now. Tony Stark should have created a cheap renewable energy source for the masses by now. These sort of things.

  18. I’m not sure whether the fact that I thought the panel with Captain Ultra was Bendis’ actual dialogues says more about me or Bendis.

  19. @Urbanguy: I’d say that the solution is to reveal that there’s a secret conspiracy holding these things back, but then what happens? The conspiracy has to be broken for the heroes to win.

    Why can’t the Marvel Universe be at least a slightly better place than our world? Conflict and the need for heroes would still exist. Do they really think that people will cry about realism if cars permanently run on repulsor tech or the like?

  20. I am amazed that anyone can muster opinions about this anymore.

  21. @D. Druid: I’m amazed at your amazement.

  22. @Lugh: One word: verisimilitude.

  23. @Urbanguy: Oh please! What is this, an online argument where a bunch of disaffected old D&D nerds condescend to fans of the new edition about how it’s just like World of Warcraft?

    These are guys in capes punching out space monsters. Verisimilitude can’t even get a table in this town.

  24. @Lugh: Not sure why your tone is so animated (no pun intended) but the original point still stands. 616 Marvel is the “real world” Marvel, and Reed and Tony solving all the world’s problems doesn’t cut it. It’s one threat to the next while trying to maintain the status quo.