Friday, January 28, 2011

The Avengers #9

Brian Bendis is one of Marvel's best writers and one of the most prolific.

This week alone he has two Avengers titles out, an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Doom. He's had long runs on the first three books (much longer than their newly-rebooted numbering would indicate), and his work has been strong throughout, with only a few minor stumbles.

If he has a weakness as a writer, it would be his love for extended dialogue scenes and his affection for certain characters.

The dialogue I can forgive, because it's always sharp, funny and real. But the other problem shows up in the same villains that he uses over and over.

During the Dark Reign stories, it was Norman Osborn. For over a year, that character appeared in virtually ever Marvel comic on the stands. But the other character Bendis can't seem to get enough of is The Hood.

That thug was a constant presence in the Avengers titles as the source of his power was revealed (a demon). When those powers were taken away, he sought out another source - the Asgardian Norn Stones which Loki provided. The Hood's an interesting character, but it was time for the readers to get a break from that character. But Bendis has brought him back to the fore - yet again - in the latest issue.

Deprived of his powers again, he is now in the hunt for the Infinity Gems, which were divided up among the members of the Illuminati, a secret group organizaed by Iron Man with the idea of being more proactive about dealing with serious problems.

In this issue we flash back to see how The Hood learned about the gems, and we see the present-day fallout when the Avengers learns about the secret Illuminati group.

This story just isn't working for me, mostly becaue I'm tired of The Hood.

John Romita, Jr.'s art (with Klaus Janson's inking) is terrific as always.

But the comic doesn't work for me (aside from the art), because there's too much talking, and too much of The Hood.

Even a weak Bendis script is better than most, so this comic is still fun to read. But I can't help but wish for a different opponent for the team. As I've said before, The Hood is an interesting character, but he's no Thanos.

Grade: B+


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