Published on August 5th, 2012 | by Mike Harding0
Marvel Graphic Novel Collection Issue 16 Review
“You’re going to reap just what you sow“, Lou Reed wrote this for his song Perfect Day, and in Avengers Dissassembled, that’s exactly what happens (albeit that the team experience the complete opposite of a Perfect Day). In August 2004 Brian Michael Bendis was given control of the Avengers. At the time he had produced work on Daredevil and Alias, and had built his rep as the 800 lb. Gorilla of Marvel Comics, by putting his characters through the wringer, and observing how they react.
Bendis decided that he would apply this technique to The Avengers, the Marvel Universe’s premier (if not at the time,most popular) superhero team. In order to bring The Avengers to the level of recognition it deserved, he decided to dismantle it;, literally razing it to the ground.
At the time The Avengers was not Marvel’s flagship title, as well executed as it was, it just didn’t rank up there with some of the other titles released at the time. A lot of fans reacted in their usual angry mob approach and deemed Bendis’ idea ridiculous, saying he had no right to mess with the team that they loved, yet didn’t support.
Now, at this point in time, it has been eight years since the book was released, and if you’re reading comics today, then you know what happened in this book, as it has shaped the face of the Avengers and the Marvel Universe as a whole since the last issue was released. Let us be honest, Bendis may be a lot of things at times, but this book was his introduction to everything we know now. So, here’s where that spoilers start. An uneventful conversation at Avengers Mansion is cut short when the recently deceased Jack of Hearts, arrives in the mansions grounds. He’s there just long enough to whisper an apology to Ant Man (Scott Lang, not Hank Pym), before he detonates, leaving a huge, fiery crater, killing Ant Man. The team is still dealing with this situation when, The Vision, plows a Quinjet into the mansion. Vision apologies to the team for his betrayal before spitting Ultrons out of his mouth.
Things just get worse; as teammates go berserk, are injured, are publicly disgraced. Even when every Avenger who has ever been arrives at the mansion in support, things go wrong and another Avenger dies.
It’s at this point that Doctor Strange, the Marvel Universe’s pre-eminent authority on the mystic arts, appears, (about four hours too late, but he has an excuse, so it’s ok) he works out that Everything they’ve endured today has come at the hands of one of their own — Wanda Maximoff, the reality-bending Scarlet Witch.
Wanda is a complicated character, the daughter of Magneto, and married to a robot, but in this book Bendis is right on the money. His suggestion is, that someone with her powers, who’s endured the things she has, would stand a very good chance of cracking up. What Wanda didn’t know until Janet “Wasp” Pym slipped up, was, that she had two children, who were not real, and she had to give up. Wanda’s mind had been altered (oddly not the rest of the Avengers though), so that she would not remember this event.
Wanda feeling pretty pissed with her team-mates lashes out against them, pitting them against villains and heroes that she creates using her powers. Ultimately, it is Dr Strange who is able to defeat her, and then Magneto arrives on the scene to take her away (oddly the Avengers just let the man, who is at the time, reportedly dead, and had destroyed most of New York during Planet X , just do what he wants).
In some ways, criticizing Avengers Disassembled is a bit unfair. It is, after all, really was just a set-up story, not just for the new New Avengers title but also for the House of M miniseries, in which Wanda’s powers create a world in which everyone gets their hearts desire. Sadly this leads to “No More Mutants“, which led to the decimation of the mutant race. that then led to the Messiah Trilogy. Whilst in Young Avengers Wiccan and Speed discovered they are Wanda’s children, which led to Children’s Crusade (in which Wanda returns from hiding), which led to the current Avengers vs X-men story, featuring the return of the Scarlet Witch to the Avengers..
Still, Disassembled is packaged and presented as a standalone story, and on that score it is value for money, Despite the face that for three of the four issues of the “Chaos” arc the characters just react to the events assaulting them, and they have to rely on a non Avenger to help them, it’s still a good book. There are moments of pure emotion, and there are moments that leave you stunned by people’s actions.
Avengers Disassembled David Finch’s provides artwork that is very well suited to the story’s widescreen action sequences, of which there are plenty, and he also handles the more personal scenes well, for the most part. The book also contains a “Finale,” in which a handful of Avengers mainstays hold a kind of wake for the team (impressively rendered, mostly, by a host of guest artists), is a touching salute to the best moments of Avengers history.
So is it actually worth that ten pound price tag for a hardback? a quick check on the internet has hardback editions of the book priced at around thirteen pound with the trade paperback edition at nine pound. Based on that alone this does seem value for money. However, there is a problem, over the past few weeks, the extras section of these releases has improved dramatically. The information given in Marvels was brilliant, and so informative. It is a shame then, that this book features what I consider to be the worst of the extra content.in both content and quantity. We are given a reprint of a few pages of the Avengers issue that introduced Wanda and Quicksilver as part of Captain America’s “Cooky Quartet” which was included in any collection of Disassembled. The extras are basically a variant cover for Avengers 500 by John Cassaday, and an interview with Brian Michael Bendis regarding the story he wrote. The “Story so far…” section may as well just describe the events of the book as it pretty much tells you who is behind the events that unfold.
Future releases revealed are Avengers Forever (part one already released) as books 14 & 15, New Avengers: Breakout as book 42, and Secret Invasion as book 58.
The Next book to be released will be New X-men: E is for Extinction, which is the first part of Grant Morrison’s run on X-men. This will be an interesting book to see, as the actual story is only three issues long (New X-men 114-116). In the past the book has included New X-men issue 117, and in some cases New X-men Annual 2001 which is printed in landscape rather than profile.
So with the added issue reveals this week, the list now looks like this:
*Titles in BOLD have already been released*
Book 01: Iron Man: Demon in a bottle
Book 02: Uncanny X-men: Dark Phoenix
Book 03: Captain Britain: A Crooked World
Book 04: Wolverine
Book 05: The Mighty Thor: The Last Viking
Book 06: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars part 1
Book 07: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars part 2
Book 09: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Birth of Venom
Book 10: Spider-man: Kraven’s Last Hunt
Book 11: The Incredible Hulk: Silent Screams
Book 12: Wolverine: Weapon X
Book 13: Marvels
Book 14: Avengers: Avengers Forever Part one
Book 15: Avengers: Avengers Forever Part two
Book 16: The Mighty Thor: In Search of Gods
Book 21: Spider-man: Coming Home
Book 22: Spider-man: Revelations
Book 25: Spider-man: Blue
Book 26: Wolverine: Origins
Book 27: Captain America: The New Deal
Book 28: The Ultimates: Super-Human
Book 29: The Ultimates: Homeland Security
Book 32: 1602
Book 33: Secret War
Book 34: Avengers: Disassembled
Book 36: Astonishing X-men: Gifted
Book 37: Astonishing X-men: Dangerous
Book 40: House of M
Book 42: New Avengers: Breakout
Book 43: Iron Man: Extremis
Book 44: Captain America: Winter Soldier
Book 45: The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk part 1
Book 46: The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk part 2
Book 47: Fantastic Four: The End
Book 50: Civil War
Book 51: Fallen Son: Death of Captain America
Book 52: Thor: Reborn
Book 53: The Eternals
Book 55: World War Hulk
Book 56: Thunderbolts: Faith in Monsters
Book 57: Wolverine: Old Man Logan
Book 58: Secret Invasion
Book 59: Captain Britain & MI13:Vampire State
Book 60: Siege