• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers – Siege (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Read our review of The Avengers here.

Please, father… Let these heroes rise. Both Asgardian and mortal. Together. Empowered. Let them fight. Let them save us.

– Loki, Siege #4

And so, here we are. The culmination of more than five years of plotting in the Marvel Universe. Brian Michael Bendis has directed the Avengers franchise from Avengers Disassembled to Siege, crafting a post-modern exploration of what it is to be a superhero in a politically complex and morally ambiguous world. In doing so, for better or worse, Bendis has redefined the Avengers, with New Avengers just as “new” as the title promises. It’s somewhat fitting, then, that after years of introspection and exploration about when and how the characters in the Marvel Universe might be considered heroes, that it ends with an almost proto-typical superhero knock-down smash-up brawl fest.

Capping it all off...

Continue reading

Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers – Dark Avengers (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Dark Avengers actually reads quite well as a self-contained volume. It’s relatively short, running sixteen issues (fourteen of which are collected here, with the other two collected in Utopia) and an annual. It sits between two gigantic crossovers, Secret Invasion and Siege, so it isn’t as frequently derailed as Bendis’ New Avengers was (or even Mighty Avengers was). Instead, it feels like a nice little self-contained chapter in the epic superhero saga that Bendis has been writing for quite some time, dating back to the first issue of New Avengers, an exploration of the modern superhero myth in this cynic world so keen to deconstruct our idols in the wake of classics like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. It’s not a perfect book, but it’s a clever and succinct summary of the themes the author has been exploring, in a fun and dynamic sort of way.

Maybe it should be called “Moodily-lit Avengers”…

Continue reading

Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers – New Avengers Vol. 5-6 (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

You know, at this stage I’m wondering what an Avengers book might look that wasn’t plowing from one event (Secret Invasion), through another event (Dark Reign), towards yet another event (Siege). I actually quite enjoyed Bendis’ opening two arcs on New Avengers, before the book effectively became the primary tie-in to whatever big crossover event was happening in the Marvel Universe on a given month. It was Grant Morrison who once wrote that every panel in a comic book should be an event, and I agree – stand-alone series don’t gain any extra validity by tying themselves in to a big crisis crossover. Make the stories themselves compelling and worry about the “event” later.

The evil empire…

Continue reading

X-Men: Second Coming (Review/Retrospective)

This is the sixteenth in a series of comic book reviews that will look at the direction of Marvel’s shared universe (particularly their “Avengers” franchise) over the past five or so years, as they’ve been attempting to position the property at the heart of their fictional universe. With The Avengers planned for a cinematic release in 2012, I thought I’d bring myself up to speed by taking a look at Marvel’s tangled web of continuity.

Second Coming is the culmination of about five years of X-Men plots. In fairness, the finale was pretty obvious from the moment that the Scarlet Witch rather infamously muttered “no more mutants” at the climax of the muddled House of M. When mutants were rendered an “endangered species” we always knew the saga would come down to one gigantic confrontation between mutants and the humans who would seek to exterminate them – while at the same time lifting the weight of extinction from the shoulders of the mutant franchise. Reflecting on the events within the Marvel universe, Cyclops comments, “Osborn is gone. The Avengers are back. And the X-Men… we can stand for something again.” And perhaps that’s the best thing to come out of all of this – the return to the status quo. If that sounds disappointing, it probably is.

Cable's gunning for the record for most kills by a one-armed mutant ever...

Continue reading

War of Kings (Review/Retrospective)

This is the twelfth in a series of comic book reviews that will look at the direction of Marvel’s shared universe (particularly their “Avengers” franchise) over the past five or so years, as they’ve been attempting to position the property at the heart of their fictional universe. With The Avengers planned for a cinematic release in 2012, I thought I’d bring myself up to speed by taking a look at Marvel’s tangled web of continuity.

War of Kings is perhaps the best thing to come out of Secret Invasion. In fact, the miniseries went out of its way to highlight its links to the Marvel comics mega-event, with the story even kicking off in a Secret Invasion: War of Kings special (note the order there, it isn’t War of Kings: Secret Invasion). However, not withstanding the attempts to tie the series back to the high-selling mainstream events that Marvel was consistently churning out, War of Kings is essentially an epic space opera, the story of an interstellar war and alien politics, told with the wit and charm that writer Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have made the cosmic line famous for. Tying it into Secret Invasion only serves to highlight the deficiencies with that event, as the writers here attempt the same sort of story with the same sort of themes, but with more skill and grace than the bigger event could off.

Now is the time...

Continue reading

Secret Invasion (Review/Retrospective)

This is the twelfth in a series of comic book reviews that will look at the direction of Marvel’s shared universe (particularly their “Avengers” franchise) over the past five or so years, as they’ve been attempting to position the property at the heart of their fictional universe. With The Avengers planned for a cinematic release in 2012, I thought I’d bring myself up to speed by taking a look at Marvel’s tangled web of continuity.

Well… that was anti-climactic.

Well, at least green and red go together...

Continue reading

Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers – Mighty Avengers: Assemble & Secret Invasion (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

This is the ninth in a series of comic book reviews that will look at the direction of Marvel’s core continuity (and in particular their “Avengers” franchise) over the past five or so years, as they’ve been attempting to position the property at the heart of their fictional universe. With The Avengers planned for a cinematic release in 2012, I thought I’d bring myself up to speed by taking a look at Marvel’s tangled web of continuity. Get an overview of what I’m trying to take a look at here.

After the schism of Civil War, a title like Mighty Avengers makes sense on some level. If you’ve pitted heroes against heroes in a contest that you’ve deemed to be allegedly subjective (Marvel’s editorial policy was that there was no right or wrong side to the conflict), then it makes sense to follow the winners as well as the losers. The post-Civil War issues of Bendis’ New Avengers followed those heroes who had fought against registration of superheroes and lost, and Mighty Avengers was launched to offer us an on-going narrative featuring the winning side. It also seems to be a conscious nostalgic effort on the part of author Bendis, perhaps a response to the criticism that his early work on New Avengers steered clear of conventional Avengers storylines – occupied as they were with Japanese ganglands, prison breakouts and Sentry’s inter-personal issues. Here, Bendis seems to be consciously focusing on classic Silver Age devices – in the first run of issues, the State-sanctioned Avengers team faces classic foes like Ultron, the Symbiotes and even Doctor Doom. The problem is that Bendis isn’t necessarily comfortable drafting conventional superheroic fare.

Ultron puts Tony in touch with his feminine side…

Continue reading