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Monday, January 01, 2007 

Bendis bewilders

After reading this synopsis of New Avengers #26, I'm hard-pressed to figure out: what's so great about Brian Michael Bendis? The story sounds insulting to the intellect.

That's another reason why a writer who truly understands what it is that makes the Earth's Mightiest Heroes is sorely needed, and Bendis needs to be taken off the title. Clearly, he is overrated.

Update: while we're on the subject, here's something from the ultra-sugarcoated Newsarama, an interview with Brian Michael Bendis on the House of M miniseries that he'd penned. He says:
"When people come into the House of M, by page 4, you see that Wanda – who I do see misrepresented online – she’s not a villain, she’s a tragic figure. She’s not in control of herself. There’s a difference between a villain and someone who’s totally lost control of what they are able to do. It’s a very sad way for anyone to end up, and I think most people got that at least. They didn’t like to see it, but they got that Wanda had lost control.

So – at the beginning, you have this mutant, Wanda, who’s the daughter of the biggest mutant terrorist of all time. She has these reality-altering powers, and she has lost control of them through the stress of life – the physical and mental stress that her powers, undefined as they were for so many years, had put upon her. So here she is: a mutant who has lost control of her powers.

Got that?"
Err, no. I haven't got it. And I don't think that Bendis should be telling other people what to think or believe either.

Not surprisingly, he - and they - completely avoid the questions of if what he's written up for Scarlet Witch is stereotypical. Interestingly enough, he says later in the interview, in response to the question of if Wanda's lost control, that:
"No, the bigger view – in the Marvel Universe, that’s one of the top ten, probably in the top two biggest fears of humankind. Many people in the Marvel Universe know they’re sharing the planet with mutants, and now, one has totally lost control. And it’s one of the most powerful ones.

When humans are afraid of mutants in the Marvel Universe, what are they afraid of? They’re afraid of a mutant who is totally out of control – that affects their lives.

So, if the word got out that a reality-altering mutant was responsible for the hellish nightmare that was the end of the Avengers, as well as a pretty lousy day for New York City as well – can you imagine? Anybody who is looking to get the mutants, to turn public sentiment against them, to control them, to imprison them even, there’s the smoking gun. Wanda’s the smoking gun."
And a woman too, I might add. Didn't he think that one over, about the fact that he's setting a woman up to be a scapegoat? And that that just so happens to be a very sexist gimmick that he's resorting to?

I'm sorry, but that is just sooooo cheapskate. As is his whole interview here.

It should be noted that Bendis himself is more than a bit overrated at best, and I can't say that I've ever been that tempted to read any of his writings, on Daredevil or elsewhere. Frankly, I'm glad I haven't.

Update: It was all the way at the bottom of the page I'm linking to, but after reading this review of Avengers #503, well, one more reason I'm glad not to be wasting any of my precious time on Hero Realm anymore. Ugh!
Bendis apparently did his homework. He read a lot of Avengers stories, and built up a fairly good knowledge of the book's history. (Though I'm sure many fans would want to challenge that notion) The one storyline that spurred on these issues? It was a storyline in Avengers West Coast, where the Scarlet Witch went evil. But that storyline apparently was dropped. So Bendis did something, which I think was very creative - he used that ditched storyline, followed up on it, but with the full force of Wanda's past to haunt her. I never knew much about her having children. In point of fact, I kept asking "How did she have kids?" and was still confused by the answer. She apparently used her Hex-Powers, to make is possible for her to give birth. Bendis brings that element back, and illustrates the absurdity of Wanda having kids in this way. Really, when you think about it, that is indeed pretty messed up! Through the characters arguing the subject, and not wanting to accept it - Bendis does a good job of explaining why this is happening. He makes the perspective crystal clear - that Wanda is simply coping with too much power, and the idea that she "Willed" 2 children into existence was a clear sign that something was wrong with her.
What the reviewer fails to understand or even recognize here (besides the fact that Bendis was resorting to one of John Byrne's weakest storylines from 1990 in West Coast Avengers), which is marked in bold - is that this is exactly the problem with the book: that it resorts to the stereotype of a woman who cannot cope with power, and that a woman who's got that kind of problem must be taken care of by men. And if he really thinks that Bendis did his homework, well he sure didn't pick the right older stories to go by: John Byrne's 1990 mishmash, with its shockingly one-sided angle, is not a very good item to build upon.

Seeing this review, I can't tell you how glad I am not to be wasting any of my valuble time on that now awful, knee-jerk website anymore. The reviews were indeed starting to become even less thought-provoking as time went by, now that I think of it, and this is but one example of how far they've fallen there.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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