Ten years ago I couldn’t tell you who was on the Avengers. I knew plenty of Marvel heroes, but little about it’s premier superteam. Remember, this was also a decade before the movie as well. I don’t think I could have named more than two. I wasn’t alone in this. Many didn’t know who the Avengers were, or cared. The series had become stagnant. Enter: Brian Michael Bendis.
The Avengers were under attack from unseen forces. A dead Avenger returned to the mansion in zombie form (Jack of Hearts) and exploded, killing current Ant-Man Scott Lang. Vision crashed a Quinjet and attacked everyone with an army of Ultron robots. She-Hulk nearly lost control, completely hulking out, and Iron Man was giving a speech to the U.N. and begins acting intoxicated. Before they could sort out what happened, everyone who was ever an Avenger showed up at the mansion (Daredevil, Beast, FF) just in time for a Kree armada to invade. Hawkeye died in the encounter.
Doctor Strange arrived on scene to deliver a healthy dose of exposition. Scarlet Witch, long time Avenger and daughter of Magneto was losing control of her powers. Her mutant abilities are hex-black-whatever-the-writer-needs-it-to-be magic something. Strange points out that she did not have the discipline to control her reality warping abilities, as they were given to her, not earned. She’s being driven insane by the lose of her children, that she magically created through some nonsense that I won’t bother repeating. She believed the Avengers took her children away and meant to do so again. The team confronts and detains her. Magneto arrives to take her away and get her help.
This ended the Avengers series at issue #503, effectively allowing Marvel to reboot the title. Bendis was given the Avengers to revitalize, and he did. In the wake of Disassembled he created a new team on a new book, New Avengers (a lot of news there). Thor was off the table, as he and all the Asgardians were killed in Ragnorak and not seen again for three years. Bendis added some of Marvel’s most popular characters to revitalize the team: Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine. This new team lasted a year before splitting into two separate teams as a result of Civl War.
Bendis did a lot with the Avengers during his 10 year run (which just recently ended). His name was on every Avengers book (of which there were many), and most of the event books during that time (Secret Invasion, Siege). I’ve read over half of his run, and appreciated most of it. I stopped reading because I felt it wasn’t for me, repeating itself a few times. The dialogue though, was always spot on, something Bendis excels at.
If it wasn’t for Bendis, there wouldn’t have been an Avengers movie. He revitalized the line, making it popular again. With this momentum Marvel Studios was able to build off of it. Regardless of what the publisher tells you, not every book is important, though Disassembled did kick off the next decade or so of stories in the Marvel U. If was to select 20 or so books as an overview of Marvel, I’d have people start here first.
Think it was a good idea to reboot the Avengers? What did you think of Bendis’ Avengers? Comment below!
Issue #20 of Superman/Batman (2005) had a parody of the Avengers. I didn’t get it.