Hello. My name is Field, Lyle Field.

Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2012.
Time: 6:48 PM

I was reading an interview on one of the comic book websites that Walt Simonson will be providing the art on Brian Bendis’ final arc in the pages of the Avengers. However I do not know if it takes place after the Age of Ultron or not. Guess I’ll eventually find out.

About a month ago, Bendis announced that he will be leaving the Avenger’s franchise sometime this year, possibly this summer, which makes his tenure eight years.

Bendis began his Avengers run with Avengers #500 aka Avengers Disassemble. This dark and action packed story arc completely dissembled the Earth’s Mightiest Super-Team to almost non-existence. It was the 9-11 of the Marvel Universe where the traditional and dependable approaches that made the Avengers great took on an evolutionary twist where the team has never gone before. The mental health crisis of the Scarlet Witch, the apparent “deaths” of Hawkeye and Ant-Man, and the total dejection of Captain America that was beautifully drawn by David Finch gave new life to a mediocre Marvel Universe at the time (2004). However, it also symbolized, at least to me, that the Marvel Universe that I grew up with has ended and the Gray Age of the Marvel Universe begins.

Bendis then spun off the leftovers from Avengers Dissemble into the New Avengers a month after the conclusion. The founding members of the New Avengers consisted of traditional Avengers—Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man (who accepted membership in 1991)—with Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage and the Sentry. The inaugural story arc was powerful and exciting from the Breakout to the adventure in the Savage Land that helped set the stage for Secret Invasion in 2008. However, since that arc, the New Avengers gradually started to lose its edge with too many long story arcs that eventually turn this team into an outlaw status like the X-Men.

Bendis followed up the story of the Scarlet Witch from Avengers Disassemble into the House of M (2005), where Wolverine brought in his teammates from the Avengers and X-Men to decide the fate of the Scarlet Witch. What happened was the Scarlet Witch created a reality (with help from her brother Quicksilver) where mutants ruled with Magneto as their Emperor. As beautifully drawn by Oliver Coipel, 8 issues was way too long and I lost interest at issue four, but I did pick up the hardcover graphic novel a few years later, which read better in that format. The key conclusion was the fact the Scarlet Witch eradicated nearly the entire mutant population, which played into the hand of the Skrulls plans for the invasion of Earth and changed face of all the X-Men titles forever.

Bendis added a second Avengers title post Civil War in 2007 entitled simply the Mighty Avengers, where it heralded a return of a more traditional Avengers line up—Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Wonder Man, Wasp, the Sentry, Black Widow, Ares with Spider-Woman joining a little later. Bendis’ 20 issue tenure on the Mighty Avengers was much better than his work on the New Avengers, especially the first two arcs where the primary villains were Ultron (arc drawn by Frank Cho) and Dr. Doom (arc drawn by Mark Bagley).

Secret Invasion (2008) is the culmination of plot threads that Bendis began in 2004, where the Skrulls have secretly invaded the Earth by replacing the greatest heroes, villains and their allies and then toppling the foundations of the Marvel Universe. Not only did the main Secret Invasion mini-series was action packed and beautifully drawn by Lendil Yu but the back story that took place in the pages of the New Avengers and the Mighty Avengers of how the Skrulls took over the Earth in their misplaced religious belief that it was theirs in the first place. I believe that Bendis should have left the Avengers titles after that before he wore out his welcome. He didn’t and Dark Reign ensued.

Central to Dark Reign is the Cabal led by one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes—Norman Osborn (formerly known as the Green Goblin). Obsorn was handed the keys to the kingdom where he replaced SHIELD with HAMMER and started his own Avengers. Bendis transferred from the traditional Mighty Avengers to the Thunderbolt-like Dark Avengers series. The difference between the Dark Avengers and the Thunderbolts is simple—Thunderbolts (at least in its original inception) was about redemption while Dark Avengers focused on the premise where “the hero is the villain” concept. The dark format of the Dark Avengers is central to the Dark Reign theme that prevailed in the Marvel Universe during 2009. It was thanks to Bendis, the Dark Reign concept and the Dark Avengers that started my decline to reading Marvel monthly comics.

Siege pretty much wrapped up the majority of the plotlines since Civil War and Bendis (along with artist Oliver Ciopel) gave a phenomenal action packed story line where the good guys finally triumphant. Plus, they did it in four issues. However, for me Siege marked my end to reading Marvel titles in a monthly format.

As the Heroic Age began in 2010, Bendis would write new editions of the Avengers and New Avengers. However based on reading the trade paperbacks (TPB) he seems unable to write a bright and hopeful series but to his credit his ability to provide escapism has improved. Bendis would go on recycling his own storylines within the Heroic Age which made me not pick up any further TPBs of Bendis’ two Avengers titles. Personally, Bendis should have left at the advent of the Heroic Age as his Heroic Age Avengers became DC’s version of the Justice Society of America of the past decade (1999-2011).

Bendis will be forever known as the man who not only destroyed the World’s Mightiest Super-Team but taking the franchise to the next level proving that the Avengers is a franchise that is on par with the X-Men franchise. In a lot of way, Bendis’ run of the Avengers franchise outshined the X-Men franchise. The dark overtones, the shades of grey and realistic politics gave the Marvel Universe a shot in the arm that it lacked in the early few years of the 2000s. Further, it was Bendis’ efforts (in part) that helped the Avengers franchise go from the comic books to the movie theatres when the Avengers Movie debuts on May 4th of this year.

The Avengers vs. The X-Men 12 issue series which is one of Bendis’ final Avengers story arcs that he is writing. It is a chance for Bendis to finish up Avengers run. It will be the first time that I am actively reading a regular Marvel Comics series in two years that is exciting enough that I cannot wait for the reprint in HC format.

Thank you, Brian Bendis. I may not agree with everything you have done to the Avengers franchise during your tenure, but you followed the motto that “controversy creates cash”. All the best on your new ventures.

Until next time… I’ll smell you later.

Lyle FieldComicsAvengers,Avengers Assemble,Avengers Disassemble,Brian Bendis,Marvel Comics
Hello. My name is Field, Lyle Field. Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2012. Time: 6:48 PM I was reading an interview on one of the comic book websites that Walt Simonson will be providing the art on Brian Bendis’ final arc in the pages of the Avengers. However I do not know if...