Archive for December 15, 2009

Title: New Avengers Annual #3
Writer: Brian Bendis
Art: Mike Mayhew
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $4.99

It’s been a while since I did a real review on here and let’s be honest, most of my reviews consist of me ripping a book. Not that there haven’t been shitty comics coming out since my last review, because there have been, but something that I have noticed lately is that all those shitty comics (i.e. Hulk, New Avengers, Dark Avengers) have become so bland and boring that a review of said books just wouldn’t have been fun. Now you may think to yourself “So, are you going to review New Avengers Annual #3 because it WASN”T bland and boring?” and the answer to that is “No” because is really doesn’t get anymore bland and boring than this. The reasons why I have chosen to review this book are as follows:

A. I have a few problems with this issue (shocking, I know) which I will shortly get into.

B. I feel the need to get back into the groove of doing regular reviews on the blog.

C. I know how much (most of) you guys and gals love it when I review a Bendis book.

D. I know how much (some of) you guys like to piss and moan over the fact that I bash your
beloved Bendis and Loeb comics and that always brings a smile to my face. This last reason alone was incentive enough for me to do this review.

Before I get started here is the actual solicitation for this issue:

Barton is in custody and that leaves not only Barton’s life in severe jeopardy but all the New Avengers are at serious risk. So the ladies of the Avengers band together to do what they have to do in a double-sized blockbuster Avengers story with a startling new chapter in the life of Jessica Jones. Brought to you by Brian Michael Bendis and artist extraordinaire Mike Mayhew.

So, what were my problems with it? Well first I’ll tell you that my problems do extend past the writing and art. The fact that this comic even exists in this format as a tangible good in the industry is a problem. The fact that this issue was not anywhere close to being a double-sized issue, as the solicitation implies, is a problem. The fact that it was $4.99 is a problem. And the fact that Bendis needs to tell us that some, if not all, of the female Avengers are menstruating is a problem but we can discuss that another time. My problems with this book are plentiful but let’s take look at them one at a time:

Problem #1: You’re only getting half of the story.

If the New Avengers monthly was the only New Avengers comic you have been buying for the last few months but you decided to pick up the annual on a whim you may be a little lost as to where this issue begins. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous but would you like to know why you may be a little lost? Well, it’s because everything that happens in this issue is a follow-up to something that didn’t even happen in the New Avengers monthly. The beginning of this story took place in the Dark Reign The List: New Avengers One-Shot. So if you decided not to pay $3.99 for a one-shot with a standard 22 page story in it because you just wanted to stick with the monthly you’re kinda screwed. If you have only been reading the monthly then you would never know that Clint Barton was captured by HAMMER after trying to assassinate Norman Osborn and that’s right where this Annual picks up. Which leads me to…

Problem #2: Remember when Annuals were self-contained stories and 64 pages?

Because I sure as hell do. This issue was solicited as a “double-sized” issue. If that were the case it would have clocked in at 64 pages and not 48. 32 of those pages were art, 7 pages were the same preview for The Siege #1 which you got to read in both The Siege: The Cabal One-Shot and The Dark Avengers Annual #1 which shipped last week, and he rest of the pages were taken up by ads.

In my opinion the material found in The List one-shot and this annual should have in essence been one story and published as THE Annual. But instead Marvel splits it up into two separate one-shots and charges a total of $8.98 for them. I guess Marvel figured they couldn’t get nine bucks for a 64 page annual so they did the next best thing: they broke it into two parts and released those parts a couple of months apart so fanboys wouldn’t notice that it should have only been a one issue story. Charging $3.99 for the first part was a joke but charging $4.99 for this “annual” leads me to my next problem which is…

Problem #3: This comic is not even close to being worth $4.99.

I believe I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I found this issue bland and boring and boy did I ever. The solicitation for this issue made it sound like it was going to be action packed (I believe the term “blockbuster” was bandied around) and that the female Avengers were going to be in the spotlight kicking ass and taking names. Now, I know how Bendis likes to treat his female characters (if you don’t know click here for a quick summation) and as I read that solicitation I was thinking “Ya, right. I’d like to see that” but we did actually get to see that…for THREE fucking pages. And 2 of those pages were a double splash page. The Dark Avengers were in this book more than the female Avengers. Also those three pages contained 3 out of the 6 pages of action in this book.

So, ya, this was pretty much another talky talk issue but you would think that if it were a dialogue heavy issue that Marvel would try to get an artist on here who had a somewhat dynamic style to spice things up, right? Nope. Not even close. I’m sorry guys but Mike Mayhew’s art in this issue is about as dynamic as a still-life painting of a bowl of fruit. Why does Marvel continue to let this kind of art fill their comics (cough, cough…Greg Land…cough…Greg Horn…cough, cough…vomit)? Mike Mayhew may be a good artist (to some) but to me he is not a good comic book artist. Call me crazy but I think that dynamic comic book artists draw the best comic books. Most of these pages just seemed so static with absolutely nothing going on. The Avengers’ home was completely filled with bare or brick walls. All the characters in this comic looked like they were taken right out of Poser 6. I will admit though that the three pages in this issue which took place inside Clint Barton’s mind were decent and were easily the best art in this book.

Problem #4: So we’re not doing that anymore?

Since when did Venom stop taking meds to shrink him down to Spider-Man size when the Dark Avengers go out in public? Did Osborn just stop caring about keeping up the charade or did Bendis?

Problem #5: Too damn convenient.

During the story Osborn finally finds out where the New Avengers hideout is so he gathers his Dark Avengers to go blow the shit out of it (hopefully while the New Avengers are inside). But when he does in fact end up blowing the shit out of it the New Avengers are nowhere to be seen. It just so happens that at that exact moment the New Avengers are busting Barton out of his prison which takes all of three pages (as I said before). Unfortunately(?), dear reader, the New Avengers and Dark Avengers don’t fight, let alone see each other, once again. I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on this. This horseshit “out” that Bendis gave himself is fucking lazy writing and nothing else.

How did the New Avengers know that Osborn would find out the location of their secret headquarters? Dunno. How did the N.A. know when Osborn wasn’t going to be guarding Barton himself? Dunno. How did the N.A. know Osborn WAS guarding Barton himself? Dunno How did the N.A. know that Osborn was going to bring all of the Dark Avengers to their secret headquarters (which they didn’t know that he knew about)? Dunno. Why DID Osborn bring ALL of the Dark Avengers with him? Dunno. When Osborn saw that all of the N.A. were not in the headquarters why didn’t he fucking hightail it back to where Barton was being held? Dunno. You see what I’m getting at here? Nothing is explained…at all. Everything happens the way it happens because Bendis needs it to and the reader is supposed to swallow the bullshit explanation (or lack there of) and be content with it. How did the Marvel editors think that this would be a satisfactory resolution?

Problem #6: Steve Rogers? WTF?

And another Marvel comic has an appearance of Steve Rogers while he has really yet to come back into the Marvel U proper because Marvel can’t get their books out on time. This now makes 3 books in just two weeks that he has appeared in.

So there you go. My New Avengers Annual #3 review. You probably were not surprised by anything I said but, hey, that just means you’re getting to know me better. Lucky you.

J.