Brian Michael Bendis begins his final story in his long run on Avengers.
In a strange land, a woman is being chanced by alien characters. After getting to the outskirts of a city, she heads in to find someone to send a signal using an Avengers ID card. Back at Avengers Tower, Captain America is watching a barrage of reports and stories following the end of the war against the Phoenix Five. He’s interrupted by Wonder Man who came here not to fight, but to talk. After explaining that he might have suffered from a mental breakdown, Cap tries to reach out to Simon and offer help. However, it’s the Red Hulk who prevents this from happening. After defeating the Red Hulk, Simon vanishes saying he will work his way back. Lastly, Stark receives the message being sent by the mysterious woman and discovers it’s coming from inner space.
Bendis begins his exit to the team that he’s built into a juggernaut franchise that eventually landed the team on the big screen where it became the highest grossing non-James Cameron movie of all time. To say it’s been an impressive run can be argued. Some felt he held on for just a bit too long. Some thought he did something the team needed for a long time – a real jump start into more grounded, adult-level stories. His Avengers: Disassembled story was great. He told a wonderful Avengers story that also broke a lot of fans’ hearts. We may not have always agreed with the direction Bendis took Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but the fans thank him for making the team the flagship stars of a Marvel Universe already loaded with massive stars.
But what about this issue beginning the final story in Bendis’ Avengers career?
I have to say I loved this issue. By the end of the issue, it’s made relatively clear that there are two “wrongs” that Bendis is going to right. The first is Wonder Man. After a stark turn in his personality that brought him into direct battle with the Avengers, it’s clear he’s going to serve as the emotional anchor of the story. He’s hurting and he’s not sure why he’s doing what he’s doing or what made him so angry in the first place. He’s out to prove that he’s still a hero and still an Avenger at heart. Could we see him play a major role in the outcome of this story? Is Simon Williams headed for yet another death or is he going to get redemption?
The second “wrong” is going to simply be conjecture on my part. At the end of the Bendis-written Secret Invasion, a founding Avenger, and all around beloved character, The Wasp, met her end. Aside from Hank Pym believing he was able to keep her body somewhat corporeal in hopes to someday find a way to bring her back in Avengers Academy (spoiler alert, he was wrong) and a cybernetic Wasp was seen in Secret Avengers, Janet Van Dyne has not been seen in a few years. Considering this person in this strange land is a woman who is desperately trying to send a message to the Avengers, she has an Avengers ID card, and she’s in inner space, it sure does seem like Bendis is going to bring back Janet before he departs. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more certain of this in terms of a story prediction.
I also felt a really nice touch was added to the cover. Everything about the title logo is pulled directly from Bendis’ first ever Avengers story (Disassembled). The shattered “A”, the label maker titling under the classic Avengers title, and even down to the placement and font of the writers and artists reminds fans of the first time they picked up Avengers #500. It has that bookend aesthetic. It’s almost telling us that Bendis came in with a big story, really shook things up, did lots of different things with the idea of the Avengers, and now, he’s going to put the toys back where they belong. Simon isn’t angry anymore. Scarlet Witch has returned. Janet Van Dyne is on her way back. He’s letting the next guys, which turns out to be Rick Remender and Jonathan Hickman on their respective titles, a chance to have all the same toys at their disposal as he did. It really makes for a fitting end to a fairly epic run.
The book is beautiful as well. Brandon Peterson and Mike Mayhew provide the pencils while Jason Keith colors. It’s slick and very well laid out. It’s easily some of the best artwork this series has seen. Coupled with a really well scripted first part of this final arc, Avengers #31 looks and feels like it’s the start of a really great story for Bendis to ride out into the sunset.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Looks great and reads fantastically. Just a great start to last hurrah of Brian Michael Bendis.||None! Loved this book.|