Marvel Spinner Rack: Generation Hope #7, Avengers #13, Invincible Iron Man #504

Invincible Iron Man #504

Invincible Iron Man #504: Fear Itself
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca

Based on the “Fear Itself” tie-ins I’ve sampled so far (which, aside from this one, I don’t even remember), the point of the event is to show how many Marvel characters are really like Norse gods, to the point where you can combine the two without making any changes. I don’t think “lack of creativity” is what I’m supposed to be taking away from this summer’s crossover.

Here, it’s the Grey Gargoyle and … something with a big hammer, because that’s all we know about Norse gods. It’s turned everyone in Paris to stone, and then fights Tony Stark, which turns them all into pebbles. So if you want to read a comic about a bad guy making Stark feel very bad, both physically and mentally, this is your book.

Avengers #13: Fear Itself
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Chris Bachalo, Townsend, Mendoza, Vey & Faucher

Avengers #13

But wait! This one is worse, because NOTHING happens. Page after 12-panel grid page has head shots of various Avengers talking to an unidentified someone in various taped conversations occurring over a long period of time. It said to me, “hi, this is a comic with way too much history for you to ever catch up with, and we’re rubbing it in by not even bothering to point out who these people are.” Jarvis (I think) gets a whole page to himself to tell us how we’re supposed to think about these heroes, in a scene that makes me think the writer holds his readers in contempt as stupid.

Then, in case you were looking for a new example of bad taste in comics, Bendis makes a joke about Spider-Man throwing up in his mask. Twice. Before a really tacky jump cut. If you want to talk vomit, how about the sheer number of words Bendis is throwing onto these pages without telling us anything new? It’s a bunch of space-filler.

The reason I was bothering to read this comic at all — because these days, I don’t bother with comics I don’t expect to enjoy — is that someone wanted to know what I thought of the later scene with Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman chit-chatting during an Asgard meet-and-greet. They bemoan how hard it is to find a nice guy, discuss asking out Thor, and then Spider-Woman (who has pheromone powers, who knew?) turns her gaze on Hawkeye. That’s interrupted by a page of dating advice from … I’m assuming Mockingbird, since she’s a blonde with weird head bumps who used to be married to him about how teammates shouldn’t date.

This is all so heavy-handed and clumsy. Of course superhero women in this world, given a chance to blow off steam, talk only about what male heroes they want to get with. That’s their role, as sex objects, to only be about being with guys.

Generation Hope #7

Generation Hope #7
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salva Espin

I’m still liking this new-style team book. Gillen’s an excellent writer who captures young, distinct voices well, with humor and feeling. The threats — in this case, a psychic baby who doesn’t want to be born so has mentally captured zombie slaves to prevent it — are fresh and creative, not the same old battles. The characters’ abilities are visual and edgy, with that mixed blessing that makes the best X-characters. I especially liked the way each team member demonstrates their personality as they each take a try at convincing the kid to come out.

After so many years of snark and decay and despair and savagery, it’s nice to read a superhero team book with, as the title says, hope. And one where you don’t have to keep up with other books to know what the characters are talking about, or one where the stories make sense even if you weren’t reading the same comics ten years ago. But I don’t want to praise this book based on what it isn’t, but what it is — an entertaining fantasy read with intriguing characters I want to know better.


18 Responses to “Marvel Spinner Rack: Generation Hope #7, Avengers #13, Invincible Iron Man #504”

  1. Suzene Says:

    I only flipped through Generation Hope, but Laurie’s transformation was just lovely.

    Also, would recommend checking out the new Alpha Flight relaunch if you’re feeling up to more spandex. I’m definitely biased in favor of the book, but I thought it was a lot of fun and did a good job of re-introducing the team.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I flipped through the Alpha Flight 0.1 issue, but I didn’t see anything that hooked me. It seemed like a pretty standard fight issue. I did like seeing Northstar getting to kiss his boyfriend on panel, though.

  3. Caroline Says:

    Chiming in to say — I totally get it if Avengers 13, or Bendis’s Avengers in general, is not your thing. But I will throw in that his Avengers titles (New Avengers in particular) pass the Bechdel test on a fairly regular basis, and the women-talking-about-dating emphasis in this issue was atypical. I’m back and forth about how I feel about what he’s doing here, but I just wanted to throw in that it would be inaccurate to assume that the women on his teams only relate to each other in terms of talking about dudes.

  4. Johanna Says:

    If you don’t mind, what’s a particularly good issue of Bendis’ Avengers for female interaction?

  5. Caroline Says:

    Good question! I would have to look it up and unfortunately my comics aren’t that well organized.

    I know there was an annual a few years ago that was specifically a ‘women’s team up':
    http://comics.ign.com/articles/105/1053846p1.html — (Annual #3, I think), which isn’t to say that’s the LAST time something like that’s happened, just that Bendis tends to develop the characters through small interactions over time (you can particularly see this with Jessica Jones and Carol Danvers, who have a complex relationship that’s been built since he wrote them in ‘Alias’) rather than through big storylines.

    Now, I’m not by any means saying that Bendis’s writing of women is flawless, or even that it’s consistently all that good; just that he has, in fits and starts, made an effort to develop this set of characters and so “Spider-Woman talks with Ms. Marvel about whether she should date Hawkeye” isn’t particularly representative of the way these characters have been used.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Thanks – it wasn’t meant to be a challenge, so hearing you talk about the issues you like in that area is just as good.

    I know Bendis has his favorites, and Spider-Woman and Jessica are two of them, so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s building them up. I just don’t have the patience any more for his overly wordy style when I want good superheroics.

  7. Caroline Says:

    Oh, no problem! I dip in and out of his Avengers stuff myself — some issues will be my favorite thing ever and then there will be several in a row that I don’t see the point of. I’m also influenced by the artist involved. Whenever Bendis works with Stuart Immonen, I’m there — his skill with facial ‘acting’ fits the talking head style, and I think his adeptness at drawing action scenes gets Bendis to write better ones — But if it’s lousy art & a ton of words, I’ll pass.

  8. Johanna Says:

    Oh, yes! Anything Immonen is worthwhile.

  9. Grant Says:

    That avengers review was hilarious! Lord save me from BMB!

    “But wait! This one is worse, because NOTHING happens.”

    That’s why I stopped reading Powers and everything else Bendis writes.

    “Page after 12-panel grid page has head shots of various Avengers talking to an unidentified someone in various taped conversations occurring over a long period of time.”

    That’s why I stopped reading Powers and everything else Bendis writes.

    As far as how Bendis writes women. I’ve seen nothing in his Avengers books that would make me recommend it to any woman on the planet. Unless Iron Man and Cap talking about how many of the male avengers slept with Hellcat is something that interests women (as seen in Avengers Prime). Personally, I’m still waiting for them to do a Hellcat/Valkyrie series.

    But I stuck with the main Avengers book because of the Romita Jr art and because I wanted to see how the Kang (my favorite Avengers villain) and the infinity gauntlet thing played out. As I feared, it ended with Bendis doing his level best to make me hate a character I love just as Civil War tried (and succeeded) in making me hate Tony Stark and half the Marvel U (thank you RDJ for saving Tony Stark). This time he failed.

    So I’m off all Avengers books with the exception of Avengers Academy which I think is getting better and better. The other Avengers books are a colossal waste of time.

    As far as Fear Itself, I thought Fear Itself: Journey Into Mystery was terrific. Great art and a great story with Thor forgiving and trying to build a relationship with a de-aged, young teen version of Loki. But so far that’s the only “Fear” related story I’ve read.

    Recently I’ve been getting into Image. They’re really putting out some interesting stuff.

  10. Caroline Says:

    Grant says: “As far as how Bendis writes women. I’ve seen nothing in his Avengers books that would make me recommend it to any woman on the planet”

    Which is funny, because I have specifically written about how I think the way Bendis develops the characters and relationships can particularly appeal to female comics fans. Just shows that it takes all kinds (of readers, of critics, of women –) which is not a bad thing.

  11. Jim Perreault Says:

    As I’ve said before, I tend to like Bendis’ plotting but can’t stand his scripting. Everyone talks like an pre-pubescent boy.

    But he also pads his stories big time. For Avengers, I think you could read the first and last issues of a story arc and not miss anything.

  12. Grant Says:

    I agree with Jim. Bendis has interesting ideas but poor follow through.

    But what really bugs me is that his dialogue is interchangable between characters. You could take a dialogue bubble from Spiderwoman and move it over to Hawkeye and you’d never notice the difference. This isn’t just a “Bendis problem”, but something that just happens a lot in comics. There was a time when you could blindfold me and read something and I would know it was Reed Richards talking, or Spider-Man or Scarlet Witch or Wasp. I don’t see much effort to meld personality with dialogue these days.

    @Caroline

    That’s an interesting website you’ve got. Some fun articles.

  13. darklighter1 Says:

    FNALLY!!! Someone that gets Bendis and what a shitty writer he is. This issue felt like an episode of Smallville. Did we really need almost an entire issue about the impending dating habits of Spider Woman and Hawkeye?

  14. Johanna Says:

    I’d rather have read that than what we got, personally. That oral history section… some neat character images, but pointless.

  15. André Says:

    I didn’t like Generation Hope. The story was flat and I already had a problem with these “Lights”. I can get that they are special because being the first new mutants for months but why do their powers make them special? They had active X-Genes at unusual ages before, just as rampant powers.
    In addition I had hoped that they would at least trey to depict another country truthfully. But this was … crap, I have no nicer word for it. Of course the pregnant woman was blond and all the people where white and of light hair-color. This is so lame, if you would use a power like the baby’s you would get a much more colourful crowd in Berlin these days and most of them would have brown or black hair.

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