I am going back a few years with this one. Now that I have read almost all the events that followed this, it is easy to see how everything leads back to this one single event. If you are a fan of most of the happenings in the Marvel Universe in the past few years, it all starts here!
The writer Michael Bendis is a seasoned veteran when it comes to comics. He has been in the industry since the mid 90’s and has written on just about every title Marvel has to offer. He first started out at Caliber Comics, then moved to Image, then on to Marvel. He also wrote one of my favorites Torso, among so many others while he was at Image.
I will confess that this is as far back as I have read in the Marvel universe other then Infinity Gauntlet, Executioners Song, and the infamous Age of Apocalypse (which was terrible!) This story opens up at the Avengers mansion where they are all just kickin’ it and relaxing, ya know doing stuff heroes do when they are not saving the world. Then out of the blue Jack of Hearts shows up and blows himself up, and then Vision shows up and releases Ultron robots to attack the team. After that Tony Stark while meeting with so very important people starts to feel drunk, without having a drink (he has struggled with alcoholism in the past). Then to top it off a alien armada shows up and to save the day one of the Avengers sacrifices his life to save the day.
There is a lot going on in this one to say the least. This arc does encompass quite a few teams and individuals in the Marvel world, but is mainly focused on the Avengers team. The story itself is interesting because it brings to the surface many past events or problems that have plagued the Avengers, so immediately you start to wonder what is going on and who is responsible. That is the big questions, who is behind these seemingly random attacks. The answer to that question will shock and surprise you and in fact leads right into the next Marvel Cross over event. This story is the beginning of the end for the Avengers as we know them, going forward they will never be the same.
I liked this one, and as I mentioned above when I first started reading comics again a few years back I started with Civil War then back tracked to House of M, and then eventually to this title as this is where it all began. This is the coolest part about this one and the series that follow, and by that I mean everything that happens later in the Marvel universe starts here. How cool it that? They have been able to keep more or less a continued universe for almost 10 years, starting with the events that happen here. I think that is pretty amazing and shows how creative some of their writers have to be. What I would love to know is if they had a plan and knew where they wanted to take the characters or if it was more a fly by the seat of their pants sort of deal. I imagine its somewhere in the middle.
The more I write about this event I find myself liking it, esp. knowing that House of M is next. Even though that event was not by any means my favorite I think it has some cool beginnings in this event. One thing I love is seeing heroes at their worst and just how close to the brink of destruction they are at times, and this story brings to light a character that is on the edge, and whose powers were way more powerful than I ever realized. It is also worth mentioning that there is quite a bit of reminiscing going on in this one, which I thought was pretty cool. I alwasy think it is neat to hear heroes talk about the past and their battles and what not. To me it shows a more human side to the characters and you get so see something differnt something more real.
I think the fact that this is the beginning of a whole new era makes this story better than it probably is. In saying that, I do not mean that it is not good, but because so many events start here it makes this single event that much more interesting, and honestly I think the story is solid in every sense of the word. I still think it is so neat that Marvel was able to keep their universe going starting with this event, and looking back at all the events there are some random ones thrown in, Fear Itself mainly comes to mind. But for the most part the events play off one another and flow nicely to create a logical series of events. Meaning I think Civil War flows nicely into Secret Invasion, then into Dark Reign, then concluding with Siege. I also realize that I have left out a whole other portion of Marvel characters, The X-Men, but I assure you I am getting review ready for the events that deal with them in the coming weeks.
The artwork in this one is what you would expect, very well done in a very detailed and very traditional style. There is an ever so slight stylized hint to the artwork, but it is very faint and honestly you won’t really notice it if you are not looking intently. Colors are good, again mostly traditional, but I did like how they ranged wildly throughout the book. At times they are dark and rich, other times they are bright and vibrant, they seemed to cover a full range through this title, and that is something that I have not seen before. I did enjoy the scene selection, as there were plenty of full page splashes, and as usual some fantastic battle scenes. Overall top notch work with the art, no complaints here.
I did enjoy this one, even though I knew what was going to happen after, before I read it. Ha that last sentence is quite the brain buster. Anyways, I think I would have even more respect for this event reading it blindly not knowing what was to come. Still though you cannot help but sit back and shall I say Marvel, (see what I did there) at the story and how it influences the coming events. As a side note I wanted to mention that there are also two other series called Spider-Man: Disassembled and Fantastic Four: Disassembled. Supposedly Spiderman and the FF don’t have anything to do with this event. I say that they don’t but from what I can tell there are more or less all happening around the same time. So while they are not directly related they still have a lot in common and I would say that if you enjoy those characters I would read those titles as well in accordance with the main story. The other thing is that this series is in quite a few parts. There is a Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man trades that go along with this event and that are directly related. I bought a rather large trade that encompassed all these titles as well as the Spidy and FF trades that I will review separately in the coming weeks. Looking back I think the Avengers trade will be enough to get the gist of the story, but like I said if you like certain characters by all means feel free to check out the other titles, but reviews on them are coming soon. In the mean time just stick to this one as it is a good read. There is also a neat interview with Bendis at the end of this one, just somthing extra.