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Thursday, November 09, 2017 

Ugh: Brian Bendis moves to DC

The writer who made sensationalistic comments about breaking other people's toys, willfully participated in the Civil War crossover, mistreated Scarlet Witch horribly during Avengers: Disassembled and badly handled the X-Men too is now moving shop to DC, where he wrote at least one Batman story nearly 2 decades ago:
The world of comic books was rocked by some very big news this morning. In a tweet, DC Entertainment revealed that they had signed writer Brian Michael Bendis to an exclusive, multi-year, “multi-faceted” deal. Comic creators move between different publishers all the time — for example, current Batman and Mister Miracle writer Tom King was writing Marvel’s Vision just last year. But Bendis is a special case. He had written for Marvel for 17 years, and in that time had created or revitalized several characters who have gone on to play big parts onscreen.
Yeah, apparently, that's why he's considered such a big deal, because characters like Jessica Jones were actually considered perfect for live action adaptations. But no mention of any of the bad things he did, like turning Iceman gay, a storyline in the Avengers where a villain called the Hood assaults Tigra, or even the storyline where Hawkeye has sex with an amnesiac Scarlet Witch in a situation that ran the gauntlet of being considered rape (they later tried to imply it was a Doombot or something, as though that makes the story any better). His poor treatment of Jean Grey was another bad step. And I don't consider turning Luke Cage into a guy with a bald head "revitalization".
In a statement to EW, a Marvel spokesperson said, “Brian is a great partner and has contributed incredible stories and characters to the Marvel Universe over the years. We appreciate his creativity and professionalism, and we wish him the best on his future projects.”

In his own tweet, Bendis wrote, “this is real. I love you all. Change is good. Change is healthy. I am bursting with ideas and inspiration. Details to come! Stay tuned!
Not coming from people like him it's not. He was also a contributor to their worst crossovers like Civil War, and I shouldn't have to point out how that only ruins the stand-alone storytelling that once benefited many superhero comics better. One can only wonder what "changes" he has in store. If he actually does respect anything positive about the DCU, that will be hilarious after all the degrading ideas he stuffed into the MCU, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's got some pretty cruddy up his sleeve in any event.
Bendis’ resume includes creating the sardonic, superstrong private detective Jessica Jones and revitalizing the indestructible Luke Cage, both of whom have gone on to dominate Marvel’s Netflix shows. Bendis also contributed heavily to Marvel’s recent efforts to diversify their core characters. In 2011 he introduced Miles Morales, a black-Latino high school student, as the replacement title character for Ultimate Spider-Man. Though Peter Parker is still the only version of the wall-crawler to appear on the big screen, the Spider-Man: Homecoming supporting cast has more in common with Miles’ friends than Peter’s, and the tone of the film has a lot in common with Ultimate Spider-Man, both pre- and post-Miles. More recently, Bendis also introduced the young African-American character Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart, as a replacement for Iron Man after Tony Stark went into a coma.

This is not even to mention Secret Invasion, House of M, Civil War II, and the bevy of other big Marvel comics Bendis has written over the years. There are, perhaps, too many Bendis comics and accomplishments to list here. As a creator so strongly identified with Marvel moving exclusively to the publisher’s top competitor, the closest parallel to this Bendis move is Jack Kirby himself. After working with Stan Lee in the ’60s to create most of Marvel’s most iconic heroes, Kirby jumped ship to DC in the ’70s, where he created Mister Miracle and the rest of the “Fourth World” universe of comics.
As the above makes clear, he was part of the whole pseudo-diversity mess Marvel concocted in the past few years, the crossovers, and lest we forget, the politics. But to compare him to Kirby is offensive, especially when you consider he treated some of Kirby's creations like dirt. From what I can tell, Bendis and Marvel led quite a comfy partnership together.

And just what "accomplishments" does he have, really? They don't even mention the Civil War sequel's considered a failure, even by today's standards of copies selling.

Polygon also commented on his company switch, and not very impressively:
...it’s also unusual because, love his work or hate it, Bendis has made major contributions to the foundation of the modern Marvel Universe. Comparisons are already being made to Jack Kirby’s 1970 defection from Marvel to DC Comics. Bendis not just a writer primarily known for Marvel work — you could argue that modern Marvel is a company known for Bendis’ work.
So what matters is that he "contributed". Truly, all that matters is that he conceived material that screenwriters could make use of, and did they ever. The rebooted Spidey movies rely mostly on ideas he crafted? Ludicrous. As are comparisons to Kirby.
Bendis’ very first comic for Marvel, 2000’s Ultimate Spider-Man, was an instant hit. Set in an alternate universe from the main Marvel timeline, the book restarted Peter Parker’s story from the beginning, modernizing Spider-Man’s origin for new readers and jettisoning 40 years of backstory. Marvel’s Ultimate Universe was a huge financial success for the company, thanks in part to the popularity of Ultimate Spider-Man, which often outsold the main-universe’s The Amazing Spider-Man month-to-month.
Umm, if that was the case, it was only for a few years, and then diminishing returns sank in. IIRC, that was one of the early examples of Marvel suddenly resorting to lowercase lettering, which wasn't very appealing, and the shallow approach soon found its way into the flagship universe proper for several years.
When Bendis returned to the series in 2011, he anchored another milestone (no pun intended) in Marvel history with the introduction of Miles Morales, making headlines for killing Peter Parker and introducing a young man of African-American and Puerto Rican descent as the Ultimate Universe’s new Spider-Man. Miles’ popularity made him one of the few characters integrated into the main Marvel setting when the Ultimate Universe line was shuttered in the 2015 Secret Wars event.
Now doesn't that actually confirm the Ultimate line wasn't the long term success they were making it out to be? Again, Bendis was one of the worst contributors to the whole diversity mess, and merging his creation with the MCU proper has been no more successful than an attempt DC made several years ago to merge the Milestone characters with theirs.
In Alias, Bendis breathed new life into the then dated and hokey character of Luke Cage, and brought the character to new prominence when Bendis was given the opportunity to reform the Avengers, Marvel’s flagship superhero team, in The New Avengers. In his time in the Avengers office, he oversaw a trio of big Marvel crossover events still remembered today — Avengers Disassembled, in which paved the way for a relaunch of Avengers-related titles; House of M, in which the Scarlet Witch had a mental break and altered reality into one in which Mutants ruled human society; and Secret Invasion, in which it was revealed that the shapeshifting Skrulls had secretly replaced and been posing as several major superheroes as a prelude to a full scale invasion of Earth.
"Dated and hokey"? At this point, I'm of the mind that columnists like these are responsible for making decent creations of the past out to be dated, all because they want them to be. It's little more than an open signal they were never really fans of the original material at all. As for reforming the Earth's Mightiest Heroes, did he ever...into a vehicle that wound up casting obvious choices like Wolverine and Spider-Man while marginalizing others like Scarlet Witch and even Yellowjacket and Wasp. It's pretty clear they see nothing wrong with turning Wanda Maximoff into a pawn in a publicity stunt, compounding the impression they're not really Kirby fans either. In the following, they do admit he's disliked for valid reasons:
Bendis is divisive as a comics writer — while most fans would agree that his work on Spider-Man and Jessica Jones is undeniably great, the plots of his crossover events remain controversial, with complaints about character writing and canonical inconsistencies.

He’s also famous — or infamous, depending on whether you like it — for his characteristically conversational dialogue, which often spins out into stacks of alternating balloons as characters share one or two words with each other over the course of a panel packed with bubbles.
Well isn't it a problem if a writer is divisive? Does that truly benefit the medium? Of course not. The dialogue he crafts points to another problem - his storytelling pace is very slow, and all the dialogue only lends itself to that effect.
And while his work on creating and popularizing characters of color like Miles Morales, Luke Cage and Riri Williams (Ironheart) for the Marvel Universe is lauded, it’s also become something of a tired trend to many fans. Why is a white writer like Brian Michael Bendis (albeit a writer with children of color) so often given the opportunity to craft these characters, the argument goes, when Marvel could be diversifying its universe in and out of fiction, by hiring more creators of color?
There's an interesting possibility why: what if a particular writer of color is somebody who really appreciates and respects characters like Mary Jane Watson and the Spider-marriage? You can be sure that, with men like Joe Quesada in charge, no writer of color who respects the true MCU will ever be hired to work for them, and certainly won't be given creative freedom, except to work on crowded crossovers. As a result, many creators today with common sense are better off working for smaller companies who don't specialize in superheroes like Marvel/DC do.

The New York Times also covered the news, and predictably, they're just as sugarcoated:
Mr. Bendis started out as a writer for small-press comic book publishers. His early works include the crime noir tales Jinx and A.K.A. Goldfish. In 2000, he began Powers, cocreated with the artist Michael Avon Oeming and published at Image Comics, about detectives solving crimes in a world of superheroes, which won many industry awards.
Say, wasn't that a story about an investigation into superheroes getting killed? This could explain Bendis' contempt for superheroes, not unlike Garth Ennis' own.
One of his biggest achievements was his work on The Avengers, which he wrote from 2004 to 2012. He added Spider-Man, Wolverine and Luke Cage to the team and helped make it one of Marvel’s most significant franchises. Mr. Bendis was also the writer behind the story of Iceman, from the X-Men, revealing that he is gay, and the introduction of Riri Williams, a black 15-year-old genius who donned the armor of Iron Man, and has become the superhero Ironheart.
So, how does that make it a big deal, when Logan and Spidey have their own titles to star in, and a few years prior, John Ostrander wrote Heroes for Hire, where both Cage and Iron Fist made a comeback along with a few other street-level crimefighters? I'm sorry, but the failure to admit the cheapness of the step just demonstrates why many consider the Gray Lady a real rag today.

And NY Vulture is no better:
Writer Brian Michael Bendis has been Marvel Comics’ golden boy for nearly 20 years. He cut his teeth writing a run on Ultimate Spider-Man that redefined Peter Parker for the new millennium and introduced fan-favorite replacement Spidey (and future movie star) Miles Morales. He reinvented and expanded the Avengers lineup. He co-created Jessica Jones. He’s been the scribe behind many of Marvel’s “event” mini-series, such as House of M, Age of Ultron, and Civil War II. He was part of an elite brain trust that advised on Marvel’s movie output. He’s penned tales of Daredevil, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men, Iron Man, and a bevy of other characters [...]
And all with the worst political correctness you could expect to find. Given how low even the material with Miles sells today, I don't see how he could be a fan-favorite. It's just like how Gambit's had at least 3-4 series, but thanks to the awful characterization the "Ragin' Cajun" was saddled with, that's why he can't be considered one either. And again, no objective look at how unimaginative Bendis' Avengers rendition was, or how juvenile his dialogue is. Interestingly, they do note that:
...There’s been no reason to believe that Bendis has been unhappy at Marvel, as he’s persistently one of the company’s biggest cheerleaders on his Twitter and Tumblr accounts. That said, he’s always been comprehensive with his praise, often tossing acclaim and admiration to DC creators and projects in those same online spaces. [...]
Yes, DC creators/projects that could be just as loathsome as his own work. I don't know why he decided to make the move, but given how DC's staff is just as PC as Marvel's for many years, that's why it figures they'd want to hire him. I've seen a few people online claiming Bendis might be more respectable at DC, acting as though Geoff Johns would ensure he remains so, when here, Johns is the leading contributor since the turn of the century who dumbed down superhero comics like Green Lantern and Flash with repellent violence and nasty subtle elements that had no place in escapist fare. And he was just as responsible for many of DC's company wide crossovers as Bendis was at Marvel, so what kind of online idiots were those I'd spotted anyway? What a disgrace they are sugarcoating Johns, right down to his own leftist political injections in GL.

It's clear there's no reason to think DC's going to improve under a cynic like Bendis, who's just as undeserving to work there as Johns is. What next, will Johns decide to make a return to Marvel, where he scripted a loathsome Avengers story reeking with 9-11 Trutherism almost 2 years before Bendis took over? If he did, that would be no more welcome than vice versa.

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