Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogathon 15: Bendis's New Avengers Pre-Civil War and Some Ryan Adams

Before I get into Civil War, I want to stop a minute and discuss what we've covered so far. We've covered the first 20 issues of New Avengers (plus other stuff, but I'm ignoring it right now) and, as one commenter, Scott, pointed out, the team has only been on a handful of missions before disbanding. If you include the Sentry's involvement, only one. If you actually read the comics, you'll notice that the time frame hinted at tells us that, by the end of issue 20, only a week or so has passed since the breakout at the Raft. The events of the first 20 issues happen very quickly and in quick succession, but go by in our time at a very, very, very slow pace thanks to Bendis's writing style and art delays. Even if every issue shipped on time that's still more than a year-and-a-half in the real world for a week to pass there... that's weird.

Something the characters never really address in story is how much of this happens in such a short period of time. How the New Avengers formed and then broke up pretty much right away. Or, even later, how short a time Tony Stark was SHIELD Director (a month at most by my estimation). It's a weird method of writing comics, brought on directly by decompressed storytelling.

There's always been a difference in how characters and readers experience time in comics, but this is such a big difference -- made explicit by references to time within the comics -- that it's shocking almost. It actually gives fuel to the people who say that Bendis's Avengers aren't the real Avengers, because the team lasted a week before the two main members decided they hate one another.

I still have no problem with the characters that Bendis picked for his team, but they never feel like the real Avengers in the first 20 issues, because they don't do a whole lot. Four stories happen. Four. In an older comics storytelling style, that would mean this Avengers team lasted for four issues. Not the most effective way to build up characters like Luke Cage and Spider-Woman.

That said, I think elements of it work. I like the idea that so much happened in a week, that from the get-go, the New Avengers didn't have a free day, it was constant action and problem-solving.

I do think Bendis's New Avengers gets better once we hit Civil War though.

Also, I've been spending the morning/afternoon listening to Ryan Adams while doing these posts. I'm currently in the middle of lloR N kcoR, which used to be my favourite album of his, but would currently rank... I don't know, actually. Man, Adams is just so fucking good. He began alt-country, but does rock with ease and everything between. lloR N kcoR was done after his label rejected Love is Hell and is just straight-up rawk. It was the first Adams album I got. I joined the Columbia House music club and needed my 275 initial selections for a penny and something about the cover called to me. One of the best decisions I've ever made.

Love is Hell was released in two parts as EPs, the first of which shipped the same day as lloR N kcoR and, eventually, was released as a single album.

After this will be his double-album, his first with his band, the Cardinals, Cold Roses. It was the first of three albums he released in 2005. Three albums in one year, one of them a double-album. All three were unique in style and feeling -- and all three are fantastic. Cold Roses is some laid back rock, Nashville City Nights (also with the Cardinals) is country, 29 (totally solo, recorded before the other two, but released last) is depressing.

He began in a band called Whiskeytown and that stuff is okay. His first solo album, Heartbreaker has some great stuff, but Gold is where he really took off. Pure fucking brilliance. Demolition was a collection of demos and outtakes. He's got, like, 12 records sitting in the drawers. AT LEAST.

He didn't release anything in 2006, but released Easy Tiger, an album that doesn't credit the Cardinals officially over his protests. It was the finest album he did until 2008's Cardinology, which marked his swansong (sorta, no one belives it really) since he has an ear disease that makes the whole life in a band thing difficult. The song "Magick" off Carinology is essential listening and should have been the hit song of 2008 if anyone with any goddamn sense paid attention. Just a bit over two minutes and catchy as hell.

Here's my quick list of Essential Ryan Adams (limiting myself to one song per album plus a couple that break that rule when I so choose):

"Come Pick Me Up" (Heartbreaker)
"Touch, Feel and Lose" (Gold)
"The Bar is a Beautiful Place" (Gold 'side four' bonus track)
"Nuclear" (Demolition)
"English Girls Approximately" (Love is Hell)
"Note to Self: Don't Die" (lloR N kcoR
"Rock n Roll" (lloR B kcoR)
"Magnolia Mountain" (Cold Roses)
"Beautiful Sorta" (Cold Roses)
"The End" (Nashville City Nights)
"29" (29)
"Halloweenhead" (Easy Tiger)
"Magick" (Cardinology)

In 30 minutes, Civil War.

And seriously! DONATE, PEOPLE!

[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.]