Interesting Tidbit Vol. 5 #2: “The Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow” has pulled in $3,111,413 from a total of 222,826 units sold. To compare, “Ultimate Avengers” has pulled in $6,682,751 with 550,491 units sold, and “The Invincible Iron Man” (arguably the worst DTV Marvel has produced) has pulled in $5,231,896 from 416,784 units sold. I will not even compare it to “Hulk vs.”! Hmm, whose idea was it to use this Heroes of Tomorrow storyline?
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THE AVENGERS #2
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILER: John Romita Jr.
INKER: Klaus Janson
COLORIST: Dean White
Noh-Varr (aka Marvel Boy…but he does not like to be called that anymore) is going to be the brain behind the space-time manipulator doohickey. Maria Hill voices her reservations on the whole mission and becomes the smartest character in this issue, in my eyes. After the “functional space-time continuum viewer” has been completed the Avengers find themselves looking at several potential versions of their futures. More relevant to the current issue, they all watch as Immortus (aka Kang) is killed and then there are several foreboding fissures and a flash of Hulk before the machine is shut off. The time stream is broken and something needs to be done about it. While the members of the team debate whether or not to go to the future, Wonder Man, having failed his “Anger Management sessions” with Jack Nicholas, enters the scene and leaves just as quickly. As the Avengers are trying to dust themselves off, consider what has made Wonder Man go bonkers, AND fix the time stream, Apocalypse shows up with his four, familiar-looking horsemen
Ok, ok! I know that I was one of the only people who thought the first issue was pretty disappointing, so let me start off by saying that this issue was a marked improvement. That’s not to say there were no problems, but I’ll get to those.
Maria Hill, a character who has attracted my hatred since her first appearance, became the most intelligent person in this issue when she basically summarizes one of the problems I had with the first issue: “…big Avengers bad guy shows up out of nowhere on our FIRST DAY as Avengers…” Indeed, Maria, indeed. Bendis has taken this character—a character that, in my opinion, was never designed to be Homecoming Queen or be a well-liked character in the Marvel U—and has started to give her some likeability. She’s WORKING with the Avengers rather than trying to boss them around, and she seems to offer some valuable insight. In fact, this entire issue shows a great improvement not only over each character, but especially the character interactions. The initial issue seemed to be forcing dialog and attempting to give depth to each character whenever possible. This is not a solo-book, however, and the focus really does need to be on how everyone acts together. For the most part, we see this interaction and chemistry between the characters.
Problem one: If this is not a solo-book, then why does Tony Stark seem to be stealing the limelight? Not only is he constantly given pithy dialog—which just comes off as obnoxious to me—but he appears to be the leader. Sure, in the long run this may make sense, but I wonder if he is really fit to be a leader right now. Whatever the case may be, this is not “Tony Stark: Avenger.”
I enjoyed the use of Noh-Varr. Yes, it is random, but Bendis really uses this character well and is able to create a strong opening scene. He is used as a device that allows the Avengers to remember why they do what they do. It is also nice to see a character that has had some recent issues—not Sentry-issues, mind you—find himself and ultimately redeem himself.
Problem two: Using Noh-Varr, a character outside of the main cast, ultimately works for the conflict at hand. However, Bendis seems to be throwing more cards on the table than Gambit at a Texas Hold ‘Em game in his use of Wonder Man and then the suspenseful introduction of Apocalypse at the conclusion. It is almost sensory overload to have the Avengers trying to manage more than one problem at once. By my count, there are three issues to deal with. I think, perhaps, Bendis should pace himself and not throw the Marvel Encyclopedia at us.
Despite these qualms that I have, there were some great little moments throughout that I shall not pass over. While Noh-Varr and Tony are building the machine, the Avengers are in a room upstairs watching and eating pizza…is that Wolverine playing with Spider-Woman’s hair? The scenes of the future(s) are intriguing and pay respect to characters and storylines where needed. Finally, there are many times that a scene may be grave but a short line from Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, or even Thor, lightens the mood and reminds us all why we love the Avengers.
3.0 Webheads out of 5.0. Not up to snuff, but it is getting there. I cannot imagine that he needs it, but perhaps Bendis is using these first few issues in order to find the right niche.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Girl!