I realize this opinion piece will be in minority. I also understand most of us don’t like it when another person points out the flaws in the things we enjoy, but this is a major issue in comic books which I wanna draw attention to.
It looks the hype wasn’t worth it after all. So I read Avengers #1 by Jason Aaron and although it wasn’t bad, it disappointed me on every level possible. The positive feedback surrounding the premiere issue I’ve seen on the internet was really uplifting my spirit in Marvel especially knowing what their track record has looked like in the past few years. I’ve even seen a tweet of this being a person’s ever the first comic. Then I read the actual comic. Although I appreciate the number of new fans this will spawn in, I question whether there are enough traces of good to preserve that new fanbase. In a world where the movies are exceptional, it makes it that much more annoying when the comics themselves are one-tenth of the quality.
THE BIG PROBLEM?
I had many discussions about this in the Watchmen chat. I’ll skip Ed McGuinness’ art which is just too easy to take shots on. The thing that hit me the most was seeing the amount of good buzz this got. It goes back to what I once said about the poor excuse of our low standards for what constitutes as “quality”. The positives mainly included of the fans rejoicing over the seeing the original Cap, Thor and Iron Man in the same panel. If this is the main reason why you liked it then Marvel did their job at fooling us.
I like to call this the Shit Dinner Effect. The fans get fed with so much crap that we lower our bars, and in this case, I’d go as far and say it clouded our objectivity, to the point of mediocrity gaining the undeserved praise.
WHY THE HATE, THOUGH?
I want everyone who liked or loved this issue to give me a reason why you received it so warmly. I’m just honestly curious. Here are some of the reasons you might like it which I will try to reevaluate.
It’s bad. Really! Bad! Seeing Jason Aaron’s name on this makes it incomprehensible. Avengers B.C. I was particularly angry with. The concept itself was garbage and I was one of the vocal critics. I mean why complicate Marvel’s history, why do they have to intricately connect one lore of the universe to another? It just makes the universe smaller. HOWEVER!!! after a couple months the steam settled and made me open to being proved wrong.
Then I read the dialogue. All of the Avengers B.C. members are written terribly. It’s like Aaron forgot how to write dialogue. He struggled to make them sound ancient and wise as he intended so he resorted to a cheap trick. You see, when you see multiple gimmicks it ends ups sticking out like a sore thumb. The gimmick in play here is the constant use of the third person to describe oneself. Aaron also wanted to make sure new readers knew who the new faces were which produced every other line consisting of forced character names thrown into each sentence.
“Back to Basics”
The excuse I hear a lot lately about nothing interesting happening. Getting back to basics is the cheapest way of writing your comic and it’s why people are getting tired of mainstream comics. There is always no real change happening and when it is, it gets undone. Captain America by Mark Waid is nothing but that. And if this is what Marvel’s Fresh Start is, just a, “Hey let’s just give you what you want in appearance, but not in content,” then that’s really worrying. Stakes get lost.
And I know what some of you are thinking. Haven’t I been against Marvel’s couple years because of their change? Now my fellow Watchmen will know where I’ll go from here given I used the same example arguing with them. I wasn’t angry at the change rather the crappy handling of it.
All-New All-Different Marvel, Marvel NOW! 2.0 were nothing but revolution. No, I don’t mean ‘revolutionary’ as in ‘groundbreaking’. I mean the original meaning, as in the rapid and drastic change. There was no substance to it. No build up. Zero pay off. Characters lost their foundation. All change for the sake of change and pleasing the diversity crowd. On the other hand, I am against always going back to the same thing.
Everything becomes a shtick, not something new innovative, nor anything that respects your time as a dedicated reader. I consider it lazy. Whenever I see one of the Avengers scream “Avengers Assemble” I do feel the iconic undertone however it often gets thrown around like a gag inevitable to happen.
I do offer an alternative. No revolution. No never-ending cycle. Rather an evolution. What does this mean? An evolution is a change that slowly develops and becomes different yet consistent. I want things to change, but keep them true to what was before and worked. Carry the torch from previous issues to show how the characters grew. How many times will superheroes get into a conflict for them to somehow be united with little division by the next event?
These characters have been through a lot of things and instead, they act the exact same way as they did ten years ago. Why do heroes who lived a lifetime act like they only existed for a decade? People love the MCU because it values the time of the viewer, it values longtime fans, they reward their audience with storylines which value continuity because they make sure no One More Day or Clone Saga happen. But partly why it works is because characters evolve. Since Civil War happened in the movies Steve Rogers has been running away from the government. His actions have also changed. Inside he is still a nobleman of heart however he acts more underground and more careful about who he trusts. That’s not even talking about the other character growths.
I don’t want everything to be different. I just need to see these characters internally grow and develop. That’s why when I hear each character spit out their usual lines it feels like a cop-out. Instead of having Thor say something “Thory” he could say something more riddled with his new appearance, possibly new abilities or just a line that gives us more depth to his experiences.
This character is written so terribly that he deserves a section dedicated to himself. Remember when I mentioned always going back to square one or the change for the sake of change? Well, Iron Man is in none of those categories. No, he isn’t in the evolving one either. The fourth group is the one dedicated to the MCU pandering. Truly infuriating. I love Tony Stark from the movies why wouldn’t I? I used to be against changing personalities to match the ones of the movies, but like I said, I’m open-minded if you try and there now exist examples of MCU pandering done right.
Tony Stark is far from that. What the comic version has become is what the writers think makes Iron Man in the movies successful. He became an empty shell of the movies. In Avengers #1 I call him…be careful, I know it may seem I am exaggerating things, but I mean every word….he is Riri Williams 2.0.
The first panel, in general, got me the angriest. It reminded me so much of Riri. Why didn’t people like the “SJW era” of Marvel? Many of them hated the token diverse characters for being flawless, perfect and gloating about how amazing they were or worse everyone around would go into monologue mode saying how amazing these heroes are. How is the current Tony Stark different from that? Do you honestly imagine Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man actually say any of those things on screen? And even if he did do you think audiences would respond to it well? As for the other panels, some of them build on top of my argument while others just point out how cartoony this writing got.
Because I respect you so much here are the other negatives and even positives minus the expansion of points:
1. Stop trying to make Black Panther Batman. He’s his own character who has a ton potential.
Even though I would prefer a new iteration of the suit you gotta appreciate them keeping Panther’s iconic suit and not some MCU rip-off
2. Terrible writing is exemplified yet again when Robbie in a matter seconds goes from being afraid of turning into Ghost Rider to literally turning into Ghost Rider without a second thought.
3. Dialogue Sucks Part 2 – These exposition speeches suck. I get being limited to a certain amount of pages, but this reeks of laziness again.
4. Carol Danvers didn’t suck. And didn’t look terrible. Ed McGuinness’ art is weak, but he can draw Carol. The irony of that is strong with this one.
5. I love the contrast of setting up the Celestials as the grandiose enemy to then see them get tossed around left and right. Who beat them? Please don’t he Avengers B.C.
It sucks to see so many cool ideas get demolished by terrible execution.
6. Why is everyone acting like it’s the end of Avengers forever? It’s annoying when characters who know better don’t know better.
7. The script was probably really boring to write. Really generic stuff all across the board. By the way here is an image of Odin talking about how he’ll f**k Phoenix for billion years.
Tips On How to Pick Up Women by Odin – “Works every time!”
So I should probably respond to the main problem of my critique you probably had since the beginning of this post: this is just issue #1. Although that’s true, and I am judging this issue alone for what it is, but I do have the need to say things aren’t looking good for the future of the series. Also, I question Aaron’s ability to tell a successful ongoing past two volumes. I do think Thor: God of Thunder was his glory day he wasn’t able to recreate. Every other ongoing has lost its focus as to what it wants to be including Southern Bastards.
I think most people need to realize this is as good as the Marvel Legacy #1 One-Shot that came out back in October of 2017. It is a step up from the Mark Waid run. That’s a definite, but again I won’t be comparing milk on the day of its expiration to crap. Gimme ice cream.