The cat’s out of the bag. The Illuminati has been found out and Steve Rogers, for one, is none too pleased about it. Welcome to Avengers #9 by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita, Jr., and I must admit, I’m not too sure how to feel about this.
This issue has two main things happening in it. The first is the main focus of the issue – Steve and Tony trying to figure out what gives the Illuminati the right to deal with these massive issues while Rogers is still in charge while every active Avenger watches. The second plot line is how Parker Robbins managed to weasel his way out of prison. The story of Robbins getting out of prison was touched upon in Avengers Academy #8, but not explored with as much detail as we see here. It seems that just before Robbins was transferred to a normal prison to make space for more super-powered villains, he meets an elderly Inhuman who seems to be a little bit in the dark about the current state of his people. He’s not even sure if they still live. So, it’s probable Robbins buddies up to the Inhuman and eventually learns the location of the first Infinity Gem (or the former site of Attilan) which then leads him to the second and so on.
It’s this smaller story of Robbins that is, frankly, far more interesting than the scenes with the Avengers. While Tony and Steve have a little bit of a pissing contest, we realize that the tension between these two is kind of inconsistent and forced a bit. At the end of Bendis’ own Avengers Prime miniseries, the two looked to be putting the past behind them. Now, Steve seems to be particularly peeved at Tony and reminding him that all of Osborn’s crimes were going to be stacked on top of Tony if he hadn’t gotten involved. It feels really heavy-handed and way out of character for Steve Rogers. Isn’t this the guy who always believe in the best in people? Sure, he’s got some heavy responsibility right now, but come on… He seems to be really taking it out on Tony.
What I’m basically saying is that the scenes with Robbins and the old Inhuman has intrigue and interesting stuff going on. Who is this guy? How does Robbins use him to get to the first gem? Is this Inhuman really going to give up important information to some guy he met in prison? The Avengers scene is very drab and has very little real tension in it. Like I said above, some is manufactured so Tony and Steve seem to be at odds with one another, but it really feels forced and out of place. With the scenes switching from the Himalayas to the prison scenes and back, the talking head panels don’t slow down this issue or story nearly as much as what you’ll see me complain about in my New Avengers #8 review. I will say the pages of each Avenger sharing their thought about going after the gems was kinda lame and totally cliched. Like there was a possibility the [insert adjective] Avengers wasn’t going to go fight the good fight… These guys ARE the Avengers, right? I will say the Red Hulk asking the Illuminati to spill the beans about the other gems was pretty cool.
It’s a tough issue to get a feel for. It’s totally the usual Bendis formula – a couple issues of excitement, then let’s sit around and talk about it for a couple more issues to beat out as much of the momentum as possible, then we can get those last two issues in so we can slap them together in a trade and make that money. Is it better than New Avengers? Hell yeah it is, but it still doesn’t feel quite right.
That’s a real disappointment too… I really thought something was in the works after the last issue.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Nice, interesting story with the old Inhuman and Parker Robbins. Oddly enough, all the intrigue is in those scenes and not with the Avengers themselves.||Heavy handed aggression from Steve Rogers toward Tony Stark seems forced and could have been handled in other ways or maybe not at all.|