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Post By
Omar Karindu

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242
In Reply To
Dane Whitman

Subj: Re: Disappointed with the Avengers right now
Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 01:53:19 pm CDT (Viewed 574 times)
Reply Subj: Disappointed with the Avengers right now
Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 03:57:50 pm CDT (Viewed 54 times)

Previous Post

I don't really like negative posts on here, but who am I going to share my thoughts with if not you guys?


Hickman got off to a very strong start with some of the best Avengers issues ever (for my money), yet 'Prelude to Infinity' (clever title) set the recent tone and it has been one of over-complication and lack of content. The fun part of this book was trying to figure out what the diagram meant, etc, why was Hawkeye linked with Manifold, why were the two poles left empty - but now it seems that was all random. Feel a little suckered.

New Avengers:

Another very strong start with a genuinely intriguing idea, and yet: since Infinity's ugly issues we seem to be going down the dullest spiral of never ending ground-hog plottery, with one version of the Illuminati after another getting... well, who knows what is happening to those guys or why we should care?

Avengers World:

See the Avengers against landscapes you never thought you would? OK, but there are serious pacing issues with this. We have a whole issue of Shang Chi getting hit by Gorgon and then a whole issue of Starburst having his shirt pulled by zombies. No one needs this book in their life and unless Marvel finds some content to put in it, I can't see anyone buying it for long.

AI, Assemble, Secret, Uncanny - gave them all a few issues to wow me, but none of them did in the slightest. Can't really talk about them: didn't pick them up, didn't miss them.

Arena and Mighty are probably the consistent best right now. Arena is a mixed bag with some characters I love and some I just don't care about. Mighty started very poorly in my opinion, but recent issues have been stronger.

High hopes for a continuation of Fraction's good work on Hawkeye and possibly some off-beat treats coming out of the Ms Marvel, She Hulk and Moon Knight books.

That's where I am, anyhow.

I have to admit, I haven't been terrifically fond of Hickman's Avengers, either. Usually slow pacing means deeper characterization, but…well, I find Hickman's Avengers flat characters, even by super-team book standards. The new additions all seem to speak almost entirely in vague technobabble and cryptic metaphors, Sunspot and Cannonball are sharing the same hyperactive hipster personality, and Captain America has never felt stodgier. Infinity was a real low point; dully obvious plot turns (Cap makes an inspiring speech! The heroes rally against the baddies! The surrender is a trick so we can hit bad people with hammers when they least expect it!) were treated as if they were intricate plots deserving a glacial pace. Of course, it was also pretty clearly editorially driven, what with the film-friendly Thanos and space adventure and not-mutants-at-all-Fox-has-those-film-rights Terrigen empowerments, so I don't hold it against Hickman's vision for his.

Still, Hickman seems to see the universe as a kind of great deterministic machine that's nonetheless vulnerable to chaos (hence "black swan" being an actual character, not just a metaphor for Karl Popper's notion of falsificationism), which isn't exactly the sort of vision that lends itself to stories about emotionally genuine characters or even to apt social allegory. It's not quite cosmic horror, but it does have a kind of…cosmic apathy to it, an arid sort of feel that's novel but not ultimately all that fulfilling or insightful. He's never struck me as writer who's overly interested in people, just in systems.

The exception is New Avengers, where the Namor/Panther stuff has been excellent. I'm not sure I buy the Beast and Doctor Strange jumping off the slippery slope with the others, though, and Reed was supposed to have learned not to do this sort of stuff in Hickman's FF series. I'm also curious about how on Earth anyone writes these guys as heroes ever again given that, if I understand the story correctly, they've been killing billions of people on alternate Earths with antimatter bombs in order to preserve "their" Earth.

But I read the series as sort of the ultimate critique of proactive, conspiratorial "superheroes," a sort of anti-Warren Ellis/Mark Millar notion in which being the "hard man" just destroys your soul and doesn't really save the world anyway. In deeming themselves the only people willing or smart enough to handle the crisis, they've shut out the rest of the world (and this in the era of crowdsourcing and open collaboration!) and in order to compensate for not really being up to the job they're all making literal or metaphorical deals with the devil. It's an Illuminati series about the utter stupidity, the moral bankruptcy of the Illuminati concept.

Or at least that's how I read it; I get the sense the series' fans see it as "heroes making the hard choices and doing what needs to be done," which is really creepy when you consider that they've already gone far beyond genocide by most definitions. The way this ends will matter greatly; I sure hope the joke's not on me. (just don't ask me to try and wade through any more of Black Swan's irritating dialogue; dropping names the reader's never heard of works in small doses, but it really can't be the basis for an entire character.)

- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."
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