The Pointless, Worthless List for 01.26.11

Top 7 Reasons Why ‘New Avengers’ was Worst Comic Book of 2010

1. What’s the point of this team?

Superhero teams need a purpose. A mission statement, if you want to get all corporate. The X-Men are good mutants who keep the world safe from evil mutants, for example. The Avengers are the Marvel Universe’s government-sanctioned superhero team to deal with the problems no single superhero can handle.

So what’s the point of New Avengers, now that The Avengers are back in their proper place? Well, uh…In issue 1, Luke Cage (de facto leader of the New Avengers) declares that he doesn’t want to go back and live in Avengers Tower and be a corporate superhero — even though he had no problem doing that before Civil War and all the craziness.

Steve Rogers (formerly Captain America), who’s back to running things, doesn’t understand (he’s not alone), but then Tony Stark gives Cage the keys to the old Avengers Mansion and tells him to go put together his own team and do his own thing.

Now, a bunch of loner superheroes hanging out together and occasionally fighting evil isn’t The Avengers — it’s The Defenders, a popular Marvel Comic from the ’70s. Why they didn’t relaunch this title as New Defenders is beyond me. Aside from the obvious Let’s-Milk-This-Popular-Franchise theory.

2. The Hawkeye Bait and Switch

I initially wasn’t going to buy “New Avengers” because Thor and Hawkeye were going to be in the proper Avengers book and I don’t really care about the rest of them. But I was thumbing through the first issue and in the last few pages Cage has assembled his potential team for a dinner party and there’s Hawkeye and Mockingbird. Can Hawk be on two teams at once? Well, Wolverine is on at least 4, and two of them are Avenger teams. Plus, there’s Spider-Man and he’s also on the A-team, so maybe Clint is going to do double duty. Cool. Even though he doesn’t have a line of dialogue, I buy it.

At the end of issue 1 a magic orb shows up on the dinner table. Luke Cage (oh, Luke is indeed a superhero even though he doesn’t dress like one or have a superhero name. He’s too hip for that kind of thing.) picks it up and promptly goes crazy and grows to giant size. Issue 2 opens with the Avengers trying to calm down Giant Size Luke Cage. It is here that Hawkeye utters his one word of dialogue for the next 3 issues: “Jess, get the baby out of here!”

The Avengers chase Giant Size Luke Cage into Central Park. The last we see of Hawkeye is on page 23 when the team knocks GSLC to the ground and Hawkeye jumps over him. Hawkeye then disappears for the rest of the issue and the next 2 issues. He just disappears. Gone. No explanation.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that No One Notices. At no point for the rest of this issue or the following 2 issues does anyone say, “Where’s Hawkeye? What happened to Hawkeye? He was here a second ago.”

Spider-Man doesn’t say it. Wolverine doesn’t say it. Ms. Marvel doesn’t say it. The Thing doesn’t say it. Doctor Strange doesn’t say it. Iron Fist doesn’t say it. Jessica Jones doesn’t say it. But most important of all — Mockingbird — his own ex-wife and lover — doesn’t say it. I realize they’re in the middle of a crisis, but if one of your teammates goes missing, especially if he’s your ex-husband and current lover, you’re going to pause for a second and acknowledge that, aren’t you?

3. Raise your hand if you think she should be in prison.

For the past year when the evil Norman Osborn was running things, his second in command was Victoria Hand. She knew he was evil. She knew he put colorful costumes on killers and called them heroes. She knew he was torturing people and doing evil things.

And yet, when Norman and all his cohorts are sent to prison, Steve Rogers offers Victoria a job working with the New Avengers. What? I know Steve’s a nice guy but c’mon…

4. The Camera scene

Back to Central Park, where the NA are trying to deal with Giant Size Luke Cage. Mockingbird pauses and says, “I know what to do.” She then goes over to a boy in the park and asks to borrow his phone. She then uses the phone’s camera function to take pictures (or maybe video) of Iron Fist and The Thing trying to talk down GSLC.

And that’s it. Now, you may be asking: Why did she need the phone? Why was she taking pictures of GSCL? What did she think that would accomplish? I have no freaking idea. The moment is never explained nor ever referred to again.

Seriously, what do editors do at Marvel Comics? Laundry?

5. The plot.

Isn’t really worth talking about. Something to do with magic, which is a get-out-0f-plot-logic-free card for writers. Bad guy wants magic orb, Avengers try to keep him from it.

6. Hawkeye wouldn’t do that

Let us now skip over from issue 2 to issue 5 (trust me, you didn’t miss anything). Remember how Hawkeye disappeared in issue 2? We discover in issue 5 that he’s spent the past 2 issues under a cab. How he got there is anyone guess, since last we saw him he was jumping over GSLC in Central Park.

Hawkeye pushes the cab off him and ambles back to Avengers Mansion. Hawkeye does not have super strength so technically, (a) he shouldn’t be able to lift a cab off him with one hand; and (b) he should have been killed when the cab landed on him.

You know, I have editing experience. Maybe I could work for Marvel. Oh, wait. I have editing experience. Nevermind.

It gets better. The Avengers, having shrunk Luke back to normal size, return to the mansion. Mockingbird is – surprisingly – happy to see him, despite not noticing he’d been missing for two issues. Now, here’s the truly ridiculous part: The team tells Hawkeye they’re dealing with a crazy, end-of-the-world crisis and Hawkeye says, “I have to go.”

Hawkeye claims he’s received an Avengers Priority Emergency Call, despite the fact that Spider-Man and Wolverine, who are also on the A-Team with Hawkeye, have not. Clint says he never really wanted to join Luke’s team anyway and walks away.

Hawkeye Would Not Do This.

Hawkeye would not walk out on his teammates and friends — including his ex-wife and lover — in the middle of a crisis to answer a phone call. He just wouldn’t. Hawkeye is the Last Avenger Standing. No matter the odds, no matter the difficulty, Hawkeye will always be there, fighting to the end. It’s one of the reasons why we love him.

On the other hand, if I’d just spent 2 issues under a cab and none of my friends came looking for me, I might leave them to fight Evil Magic myself.

7. In This Issue, An Avenger Dies!

You may be wondering why I haven’t yet posted a eulogy to Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, who died in this week’s issue of “Fantastic Four.” After all, Johnny was my favorite member of the FF. Well, here’s the reason: Comic Book Death is Utterly, Utterly Meaningless. Well, unless your goal is to get attention from the Utterly, Utterly Clueless Mainstream Media.

So imagine my surprise when I pick up the final chapter in the first “New Avengers” story line and the cover proclaims: One of these Avengers will Die! Oh, Lord. Ending your story by killing a character has become the most trite, overused, tiresome, pointless, meaningless, worthless act in comics. Comic book death has become synonymous with “creatively bankrupt.”

I won’t even bother telling you which Avenger ends up dying because, by the time you read this, he will probably have been brought back to life.

And there you have it. “Rise of Arsenal” may have been worse, but I didn’t read it. I will be selling my copies of “New Avengers” 1-6 on eBay as soon as I figure out how eBay works.

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