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Subj: What I mean by that...
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:44:51 am EDT (Viewed 21 times)
Reply Subj: When you say you miss the old Avengers.....what exactly is meant by that?
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:44:58 am EDT (Viewed 35 times)
By missing the "old Avengers," I mean not-so-much specific characters (although there are, of course, those), as a "feeling," an idea of what the Avengers are.
In the past, the group has always been a close-knit team of allies, with none of the regular members feeling superfluous. The Big Three were there, usually in various combinations, to provide direction and authority. Since they had there own titles, however, little of their personal lives played out in the Avengers; Wanda, Hawkeye, Vision, Simon, Carol, and others fulfilled that function. There was a happy balance.
The team's relationship to the public and to government fluctuated, but has been important part of the title's concept since the beginning. They've been affiliated with the U.S. government, with the U.N., with SHIELD. They've gone rogue and they've been disbanded. But we always knew where they stood.
Sometimes, granted, characters were given membership that probably shouldn't have been. I'm bit referring to certain B-listers who are sometimes disparaged like Tigra or Moon Knight or Quasar, so much as those who were never developed as Avengers, never really served: Machine Man, D-Man, Hellcat, Darkhawk. They may have been as great for the title as Hawkeye or Vision, but writers never really used them.
Since Disassembled, the spirit of the Avengers has been sadly diluted. There are three teams, not counting Academy, but what really differentiates them? Luke's team should be a street level team, but they seem to deal with cosmic and mystic threats as readily as Cap's Avengers. The Secret Avengers don't seem to do much that's really all that secret, or much that either of the other team's couldn't do. What's the point? At least in the days of a New York and a California team the responsibilities were distinct and understood.
How many people have been made Avengers since Disassembled? Off the top of my head: Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spider Woman, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Sentry, Ares, Valkyrie, Ant-man III, Jessica Jones, Protector, Red Hulk, Storm, Bucky, Echo (who,you might well ask), Daredevil, Stature, Amadeus Cho, young Vision, Quake, Flash-Venom, and Captain Britain. Whew. And I'm not even certain about Nova, Shang-chi, Brother Voodoo, Prince of Orphans, Squirrel Girl, or the various liasons (Sharon, Maria, Victoria). How many of these have received much characterization or plotline in the last decade? Cage a bit, maybe. Sentry was a convulted mess. Bendis himself can't seem to keep track if Noh-varr is from this reality (as suggested in AvX) or another one (as previousy established). Spider Woman could have been given some plot, but other than some smooching with Clint, she has contributed less then nothing in 10 years. Quake might well be the lamest character ever created.
Since Disassembled, there has also been a tendency to recapitulate storylines: we get two incarnations of Dark Avengers, three power sources for the Hood (Mephisto, Norn Stones, Infinity Gems), the repeated destruction of Avengers Tower, the mimicing of Stamford with the attack at Soldier's Field, and on and on. I'm also not crazy about the tendency of characters like Wolverine, Spider-man, the Thing, and others to serve on multiple teams at the same time. There are plenty of characters to go around, many great ones under-utilized: Photon, Falcon, Wonder Man, She-hulk, Hercules, Black Knight, Crystal. Ten years ago, maybe Bendis or Quesada could make an argument that Spider-man would help boost Avengers sales. After a blockbuster movie in which the only spider character around was a woman, that probably isn't true anymore (if it ever was...I've always contended that you improve a book's sales by improving a book's stories, not just by throwing popular characters into the pot).
I wish Hickman well, but he's inheriting a mess.
My own wish: do away with New Avengers. Give us one primary team consisting of: Captain America, Thor, Ironman, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel (Carol), She-Hulk, Spider Woman, Beast, and Captain Britain. Make the Secret Avengers a real espionage book, featuring Hawkeye, Black Widow, Mockingbird, Iron Fist, Ant-man, Moon Knight, Arachne, and Shroud. Let Wolverine focus on his school; Dr. Strange reconstruct the Defenders; Luke lead the Thunderbolts; Thing stay in the FF. The Protector and the Red Hulk should just be written off as bad ideas. Giant-man, Tigra, and Quicksilver should stay with the Academy, easily the best Avengers title on the market. Perhaps Firebird or a few other Avengers-past could be used as faculty.
It's all wishful thinking, I know; but a decade into the current mess and I haven't given up, yet.
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