Stage Two of Wonder Man’s attack on the Avengers goes down. This time it stings a bit more than the first.
Avengers Annual #1
The Avengers arrive to help the New Avengers get medical attention and evacuated from the partially collapsed Avengers Mansion. When Steve Rogers learns that Wonder Man was the one behind this, he takes everyone he can to go shut down Simon’s team. Believing they will be attacking Avengers Tower, the team goes to stop them quickly, but they were tricked. Simon instead is holding a press conference to publicly make it known that he’s anti-Avengers. When the Avengers come to deal with Simon, they are able to capture him in a chamber that takes away his physical form, reducing him to a ball of ionic energy. Thor transports the rest of his team to Citi Field where the Avengers beat them down fairly easily. When they interrogate the others, they learn that each of them had some overblown personal problem with the Avengers, but when it comes to Simon, all he wanted to do was say the right things in the right way to turn the public against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. As the issue ends, it’s clear the media is having a field day and Simon’s won the battle.
The first issue was much more in your face with the action and the overall plan of Simon’s. This time, Brian Michael Bendis plays it much more subversively and it’s much better for it. As much as I liked the New Avengers Annual that covered Simon’s first attack at the Mansion, this one was so much more interesting as a whole. Bendis decides to play with the idea of power and the powerful making rules and being the ones in command of things. There’s stuff in here about the idea of safety and what the impact of a team like this would have on the general public safety.
Bendis is more or less treating the Avengers like a weapon. Weapons of any kind, no matter how many there are in the world, makes for a much less safe world simply by existing. Imagine if you will living in a city where guns were completely outlawed. Now imagine someone possessing a gun in this city. Instantly that city is less safe than it was prior to the gun being there. The Avengers, and all superheroes, represent the gun. Their simple existence makes the world more threatening. Eventually those who are tired of these superheroes’ rule over them will revolt. That revolt will be terrible and violent. It’s the equal reaction. This is what Bendis is playing with and he really hits it on the head because Simon isn’t necessarily being the violent one. He’s fighting them with speech and truth. They do present a danger and because they are a thing in the world, there will be a natural, and negative, reaction to them in one form or another. I’m glad there wasn’t a big battle royale either. It was best dealt with this battle of might and right and speech versus weaponry. The overall story was quite brilliant in that regard.
If there was one thing that I found a little troubling was Simon’s point of view in general. He may have a lot of good points and he might be saying exactly what you’d think would be the most effective way of dealing with a group that is much more powerful than those you represent, but his reasoning seems a little flawed. He tells the Beast that he isn’t even sure if he’s real. He was dead and Scarlet Witch wished him back into existence. As it turned out, she was crazy so is he even a for real person or some figment of Wanda’s imagination? That’s an interesting point made, but his anti-Avengers feelings were, at best, surprising. Since Avengers #1 over a year and a half ago, Simon’s been riding this negativity against those who used to be his friends. It really seemed to come out of nowhere. He was a part of the Initiative. He acted as a hero and seemed to even be a part of Tony’s great big Avengers idea. Why the sudden change of heart? You’d think this would be something that would build over time, but it simply didn’t. Bendis planted the seeds for this to happen in Avengers #1 and then went on to tell completely different stories. Much later, he returns to it, but the reasoning behind it isn’t any clearer or any more obvious. Simon comes off sounding more whiney about the problem than anything. In fact, he doesn’t seem much better than Norman Osborn.
In that way, I kinda hope there’s more to this attack on the Avengers than he A) feels like he may not be a real person because a crazy chick wished him back into existence and B) the Avengers cause more death than they save lives and everything is their fault. I just wish it wasn’t quite so forced.
Gabriele Del’Otto steps in with beautiful art for this annual. It’s dark and moody and while he didn’t have a great deal of action in this book, he didn’t really need it. His art tells the story well and gets the point across that the Avengers are targets from within as well as without. It’s definitely much more of an art piece than most Avengers books and just a joy to look at.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Very interesting things Bendis plays with and the more subversive plot was pitch perfect against the much bigger actiony plan of the New Avengers Annual. Dell’Otto’s art is amazing.||Still not 100% on board with Wonder Man’s reasoning behind attacking his friends so overtly as opposed to just talking it out with them. He seemed to go from 0 to I HATE THE AVENGERS so quickly that something must be up, but very likely not.|