Riddle me this: When is a comic that is clearly labeled as a Siege tie-in not in fact a Siege tie-in? The answer is quite simple really: when that comic book is written by Brian Bendis and has the word “Avengers” in the title. Today I will be taking a look at two Siege “tie-in” books, namely Dark Avengers #13 and New Avengers #61, that really aren’t tie-ins while Ironmuskrat has the pleasure of reviewing Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #1. That really doesn’t seem fair does it?
Title: Dark Avengers #13
By: Brian Bendis and Mike Deodato
One of the main things that drove me crazy about Secret Invasion was the fact that certain titles that were advertised as being tie-ins to the mini series really weren’t. Two examples: New Avengers and Mighty Avengers. Instead of these two titles being used to help along the slow, plodding, getting nowhere fast story of the Secret Invasion mini they were used to tell flashback stories. You would get no new information about what was going on in the current Secret Invasion mini and in some instances would have entire issues of New Avengers and Mighty Avengers which starred neither the New Avengers or the Mighty Avengers. Well, I guess that storytelling technique really worked out well enough that Marvel is using yet again with their Siege tie-ins but with two slight differences:
1. Instead of New Avengers and Mighty Avengers being used to tell flashback stories it is now New Avengers and Dark Avengers. It should be noted that all three of these books were/are written by Brian Bendis who was/is also writing Secret Invasion and The Siege.
2. These flashback stories (so far) actually do star a few members of the New/Dark Avengers but not all members of the teams. That is a slight step up from buying a Secret Invasion Mighty Avengers comic with none of the Mighty Avengers to be found within it’s pages.
There are really two flashback stories talking place in Dark Avengers #13. The first is a follow up to a scene that took place way back in Dark Avengers #3. Now the thing that kinda rubs me the wrong about this first flash back is that it is a continuation to a scene from a comic that came out ten months ago. Take a look at this page (click to enlarge):
This is a page from DA #13. The first four panels though are taken straight out of Dark Avengers #3 with a few of the dialogue balloons rewritten. The final two panels on this page with Norman Osborn are new. This was a scene readers weren’t supposed to see until now. Why? Because in the pages that follow it is revealed that The Sentry/The Void is actually Osborn’s “secret weapon”. You know, the mysterious secret weapon that had everyone guessing as to who it was in The Cabal one-shots. I can see where some people may think that the way the reveal was handled may have been a little clever but this is what I think: It is a cheap and lazy reveal not to mention that having the Void as Norman’s “secret weapon” is kinda lame. So, his secret weapon was someone who was on his team the entire time but yet it wasn’t because it’s the Void? I’m sorry but that is some weaksauce right there. This type of storytelling is straight out of Quentin Tarantino’s playbook and we all know how much Bendis loves to
steal from pay homage to QT. The “going back to a previous point in the story to expand on a plot point” really only works in films and novels. You know why? Because the viewer/reader gets to see/read that reveal within a few hours. They don’t normally have to wait TEN MONTHS for the reveal after they have most likely forgotten about those scenes in which the content is presented in. But you did get a four panel, rewritten refresher so maybe I’m wrong on that point.
Another example of this weak reveal shit is the second flashback in this issue. It picks up right where Dark Avengers #9 left off with the Sentry’s wife shooting him in the face with an alien tech gun and killing him. When Dark Avengers #10 came out the Sentry was flying around like nothing happened to him. Nothing was explained. Some of you may remember me complaining about this exact same thing in our Dark Avengers reviews on CCW*TV.
It is this second flashback where some people may have felt ripped off in more ways than one. Here it is revealed that Sentry’s origin was all a ruse. You think that he was the happy go lucky guy who drank a secret formula in order to become a superhero to help people? Nope. It turns out that Robbie Reynolds was actually a meth addict looking to score his next fix and drank this secret formula because he thought it was some kind of drug. Sure who wouldn’t think that, right? In essence everything you have ever thought about the Sentry in Marvel current continuity has been a lie. Oh, did I mention that we found out that The Sentry/Void is a god? Yeah, that happened in this issue too. I’m sure Paul Jenkins had all of this in mind when he helped create the character.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there were 3 pages devoted to the Void psychologically/verbally abusing Lindy (Sentry’s wife) in what could only be described as “Classic Bendis.” You know the Void is a really bad guy by the was he treats Lindy…because we didn’t already know this.
So, ya, nowhere in this issue is the Siege referenced but yet half of the cover has he Siege logo on it. I guess were all suckers for thinking that this issue would have anything to do with the Siege. Maybe this could be considered a tie-in when it is revealed in the Siege mini that the Sentry is in fact a god as he is kicking the Asgardians god-like asses…but that’s really kinda stretching it don’t you think?
Title: Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #1
By: Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman
I don’t know what kind of deal Jeff Parker had to make with
the devil Marvel to keep the Agents of Atlas around after their series was put on hiatus, but I am not complaining. The fact Parker gets to write a mini-series with not only the Agents of Atlas but also the Avengers made me giggle like a school girl. One of the things that stood out in the Agents of Atlas first trade was how well Parker wrote the New Avengers as a team, writing witty banter between teammates and having them work together as a team. Jose and Elliott nailed it when they said Jeff Parker is writing the smartest team books in Marvel right now.
The first issue of this series starts with the Agents of Atlas and the New Avengers dealing with some time/space anomalies on opposite sides of the country. Villains from the Avengers past are popping up at random around the country causing mayhem. The anomaly itself appears as a creepy looking dark cloud of tormented faces, who may or may not be sentient. It doesn’t take long for the Agents of Atlas and the New Avengers to meet up in New york to defeat the Growing Man and start to piece together what is going on. Unfortunately, before they can formulate a plan of action the anomaly makes another appearance and attacks the Avengers, causing a rather dramatic change in the makeup of the team.
The issue moves along at a break neck pace. Parker doesn’t mess around, getting the ball rolling and having our two superhero teams hook up and figuring things out. There is a funny bit of dialog between the two teams that clears up the fact they were fighting each other the last time they met in the Agents of Atlas trade. I guess my only complaint about this issue is more of a pet peeve. I know Wolverine’s claws are really sharp, but they are only about a foot long, right? Every time I see Logan use his claws to chop up some super-sized bad guy I have to roll my eyes a little.
The art is pretty solid, Gabriel Hardman does a fine job drawing both teams. I really like the way Hardman draws the Growing Man in a very Jack Kirby like fashion. Takeshi Miyazawa does art in the backup feature. I liked the artwork, but it does have strong anime qualities to it and the character of Namora looks like she is about 15 in the story.
Oh yeah, the second feature story is Namora having it out with Japanese whalers. Its a nice little story that has a anti-whaling message to it. I couldn’t help but think about the South Park episode dealing with the same subject matter though. I kept adding my own dialog to the beginning of the story. “Fuck you, Whale!” “Fuck you, Dolphin!”
If you like the Agents of Atlas or the Avengers, this is the book for you. I know I will be getting the next issue to see what happens next.
Title: New Avengers #61
By: Brian Bendis, Stuart Immonen and Daniel Acuna
The art was utterly fantastic, the story not so much and, again, it had nothing to do with the Siege.