Just Three Books getting the ol' ranting treatment today. 2 of them involve the Avengers in some form but only one is really fun, and another of them-thar books is about James Rhodes suffering a terrible death--not in the comic, but in a publishing sense as his book grinds to a halt suddenly as Marvel decided to kill it painfully. Good times all around.
The Avengers Annual #1 (for 2012, I suppose)
Hm, I didn't expect to enjoy this. Simon Williams has been written so woefully, horrendously, miserably, and out-of-character by Brian Michael Bendis in the Avenger's books and the other "New Avengers Annual" leading up to this. The thing is, when Wonder Man speaks this time, he makes some good points and the Avengers don't really have an argument against him. He says the Avengers has done some good things but really have just caused a ton of harm--Bendis tries to make Simon Wiliams look crazy while doing this, but really the man of wonder is right.
All the other Avengers can do is ask if Williams is under some form of mind control and try to attack him, which he very well points out they are going to do. Bendis in the process of trying to make the Avengers look good actually proves Simon William's point. They kind of just come off as big bullies--even if our "antagonist" and his friends caused some damage. Williams even says to his best friend, Beast, when he's locked up at the end that he loves Beast (still, after all this!) and hopes when Beast realizes the facts he brings this whole "Avengers" thing down.
It's almost as if someone set out to make a movie mocking something and instead made something that was a really good version of it--see "Robocop and violence in movies". Like if Bendis tried to make fun of a horror movies but whipped up the best horror movie ever. He tries to make the Avengers look good and Williams look crazy, but in fact...Williams just looks right, even if his team of friends is a little wonky. This takes place before Fear Itself #1 even happens though, however, so really none of it matters at all. Sigh.
4 out of 5 stars
Avengers: The Children's Crusade #8
Wow, in this comic we get teens whining, and Doctor Doom carrying on about how wonderful he is before of course everything goes wrong and it turns out he actually isn't a kind-hearted as he would have you believe. And oh...oh no....is there a hint in there about a huge continuity ret-con where the Scarlet Witch isn't responsible for the whole, "No More Mutants," thing but instead was somehow controlled by Doctor Doom into doing it? That better not be what I think is being hinted at, or else I will spit. Seriously, I will purse my lips and shoot out saliva in the middle of wherever I am when/if this suspicion is confirmed. Be it a cafe, day-care, funeral home, or whatever else.
At least the art looks good even if this is just constant whining. I swear, if I wanted this much whining I would go to the aforementioned day-care--which would be odd because I don't have any kids. Well, I mean there is that hybrid human-cheetah I created in a lab one night, but the government came and took it, saying something about, "Crimes against nature." Yet another sigh.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Iron Man 2.0 #12
Nick Spencer came to Marvel with a gleam in his eye. He had an exclusivity contract and all these ideas. Iron Man 2.0 started so strongly but then Marvel told him he had to tie it in to Fear Itself for no apparent reason and for a good number of issues the complicated plot Nick Spencer was creating became all but derailed.
Nick Spencer was writing a comic about War Machine, but it was called Iron Man 2.0 and sales still weren't going strong, but he kept the intriguing plot churning along once the terrible Fear Itself bits ended and he could make something of quality again. Then Marvel brought the axe down on his baby, killing it with issue #12. Those last few issues were clearly rushed as the art would shift without warning in a style clash that made the eyes' of readers bleed. Plus, the story didn't get a strong conclusion really after those 12 (and a .1) issues of build-up, not counting the Fear Itself side-tracking bit. No, the comic just sort of abruptly ended.
This is a bad comic, I feel let down after all the development to have things just peter out so weakly like this, but I actually kind of know it isn't really Nick Spencer's fault. Marvel made him do the tie-in, I'm all but sure, and they killed this series on him. I see hints of what could have been a great ending but instead we're stuck with this. It's like the difference between the picture you see on the box of your new toy and what's actually inside that box--the world of difference. Nick Spencer wanted to deliver what was on that box, but he wasn't able to, he just gave us the disappointing junk that falls out once you rip open the packaging.
Another victim of this is the character of James Rhodes, War Machine. Yet again another interesting character will be relegated to the background. Also, considering how few comics have protagonists that are of color there is of course all the people on the internet asking, "Did the comic not last because he was black?" There is that argument that maybe people don't want to read about black characters, and I don't buy that. I think people want to read about interesting characters and if you have an interesting character that is black you might just have some success. I really blame the Fear Itself tie-in causing the comic to lose the momentum it had going.
Who knows what other fun stories we could have had, instead we are left with this weak ending of a comic. For what it's worth, Nick Spencer, I forgive you for this. As I said, I don't really blame you. Plus, if you keep making T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and keep it awesome I'll let almost anything slide. And one last sigh.
1.5 out of 5 stars.
We went from good, to okay, to just plain sad. You never know what's gonna happen when it's comic-reviewing time.