Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogathon 14: The Road to Civil War

[Issues discussed in this post: New Avengers: Illuminati, Fantastic Four #536-537, and Amazing Spider-Man #529-531.]

This is an odd trade collection that I picked up one day as I wanted the New Avengers: Illuminati one-shot. It's the first of four Bendis/Maleev New Avengers one-shots/issues and introduces to us the Illuminati, who we saw in New Avengers: The Sentry. Shortly after the Kree-Skrull War, Iron Man calls together Namor, Professor X, Reed Richards, Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, and the Black Panther and they meet in Wakanda to hear his idea of putting together a large group, to effectively unify the world's superhumans as a cohesive whole. This idea is quickly shot down, but the idea for a smaller group to work behind the scenes, made up of the seven of them comes up. Except the Black Panther doesn't join. No worries, six members is still good.

We then get the group dealing with the Hulk problem, seemingly for good, by sending Banner to space, which sets up Planet Hulk and World War Hulk. During this time, Maria Hill mentions the idea that superheroes are responsible for the actions of supervillains are a while. Like, it's Spider-Man's fault for what the Green Goblin does because he could just kill him -- never mentioning that the system that simply locks him up again even though he escaped every time before may want to reconsider simply locking him up. I do love the irony of people blaming superheroes for not simply killing villains in a story that leads up another where people don't want superheroes doing anything without the government's approval -- a government that would try and charge superheroes with murder if they killed their villains. Oh ho ho, people sure are complex! The story also sets up the Superhuman Registration Act and Civil War.

Not much actually happens in New Avengers: Illuminati. It's all set up and weird fighting. I can't stand these characters when they question 'Who put you in charge' or 'Who says you can just do that?' when that's all they ever do. All of these characters simply decided that they're qualified to do as they like and have been doing as such for years. To pretend otherwise is wrong.

I like the idea of the Illuminati group. It makes sense. I don't think Bendis ever uses it in a way that works, but the idea is sound.

Alex Maleev is a goddamn good artist.

The other issues included in this trade are written by J. Michael Straczynski and the Fantastic Four ones are red herrings, supposedly building up the return of Thor in Civil War, but that's Clor... so their inclusion here is somewhat insulting. They're not very good either.

The Amazing Spider-Man issues work better as they cement the Peter/Tony friendship more and also deal with the creation of the SHRA in a larger way. They also reveal Stark as a corrupt jackass... and that US senators are assholes. This also isn't that great.

If this is The Road to Civil War, Civil War better be good. We'll see in 60 minutes, because I want to stop and talk about Bendis's New Avengers until this point in 30.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]