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Monday, March 14, 2011 

Bendis' grip on Avengers needs to be disassembled

One of the few voices of sanity at CBR tells what's wrong with Brian Bendis' take on the Avengers, which has pretty much affected the rest of the Marvel universe to boot. A leading problem: if heroes like Spider-Man and Wolverine are going to comprise much of the roster, as was the case a few years ago and still is, then the book clearly isn't being sold on its own terms, but rather, is using them as a cheap sales gimmick. And maybe one of the silliest things here is when:
We also learn that Iron Fist doesn’t have a driver’s license, a cute touch to a guy you don’t really think of as a roadster, but when an essential part of your plan involves driving trucks away, it looks like you really didn’t think things through.
Considering how long Danny Rand's been around, I'm sure he would've learnt how to drive and got a license. This is just a contrived storyline Bendis put in for no good reason.

The writer slips, however, when she says that:
They’re not going to change a thing, however. The rants and railings of one lone comics blogger won’t change the world; it’d be just as foolish for me to think I could as it would be to needlessly put a highly trained scientist SHIELD agent where she could get shot in the ensuing chaos. The New Avengers book sells, hands down, no questions asked. Bendis has made Luke Cage a household name, and his scripting of an Avengers title is going to be consistently sold, month after month.
Actually, it's been declining consistently for 3 years now, along with Bendis' undeserved popularity as a writer. As recent sales charts tell, it sold just barely 63,900 copies. And while it would be great if Luke Cage were a household name, Bendis has not made him one, not for long anyway. Nor is Bendis suited to the task. One of the problems is that Luke Cage is being cast in the wrong book, as is Doctor Strange; the team series best suited for them would be Heroes for Hire and the Defenders. And that's another of Bendis and Marvel's mistakes, similar to the ones they've made with Spidey and Wolvie: instead of making a serious effort to promote them in teams and books with directions where they'd really work well, they put them implausibly into those where the direction and approach doesn't suit them. Again, it's not because it makes any sense that they're turning the Avengers into a series for these kind of heroes, but because they don't know how to market them on their own, or because it makes a "good" sales gimmick. And let's not forget how they trashed the Scarlet Witch, their first big mistake.

Bendis is losing influence, and the takes on the Avengers that he's influenced have lost a considerable amount of audience, but it's clear he won't leave until he's run the Earth's Mightiest Heroes into the ground of cancellation.

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I dunno. Eventually, he'll be booted off, but the recent Marvel media has also been emulating much of Bendis' work (Disney XD's Earth's Mightest Heroes with Viper being a Skrull, as a nod to the Elektra version, the superdickery of SHIELD in Wolvie and the X-Men, plus his involvement in MTV's Spidey series in 2003). Like it or not, his influence has been felt. All that said, your arguments are most valid.

(And lest we forget how Bendis made the Green Goblin receive his final defeat by... Luke Cage, instead of his real adversary, Spider-Man. Can't forget that kind of shoehorning, either. I wouldn't be surprised if that ends in a Marvel media project eventually.)

I kinda share the writer's despair in that "we keep complaining, but they still do what they do, anyway." Think of all the C-lister character deaths we've often admonished the Big Two for, and they still do it. Of course, we can't stop, but it does get frustrating at times. Or, maybe it is just me?

Exit question: would Bendis get all these choice assignments if he wasn't chummy with Wizard or Quesada. Never hurts to have good press.

Is the Disney XD Avengers still on, or did it get canceled mid-run?

Anyway, Bendis is the flavor of the month. With sales on a pretty steep decline, Marvel will have to try something different soon. Probably after the summer's run of movies don't increase their sales numbers drastically.

Last I checked, the show is on hiatu. The last new episodes was the Kang three-parter in January. I've been wondering when there will be a new episode, too. Good news is it will start being on DVD, come in April. So, that's something.

Maybe Bendis wore out his welcome, at long last?

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