Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blogathon 43: New Avengers: Search for the Sorcerer Supreme

[Discussed in this post: New Avengers #51-54.]

The most recently concluded New Avengers arc has the group go up against the Hood. Again. It has Spider-Man unmask himself. Again. It has Bendis throw in a weird piece of character info that we should have known already. Again. It's the perfect Bendis comic to end on!

In New Avengers annual #2, Dr. Strange used dark magic to save the team and he's no longer worthy of the the Sorcerer Supreme title, so he needs to find the new one -- and he's just hoping it's someone good and not Doom. But, he's being pursued by the Hood whose demonic possessor/master, Dormammu, wants that Eye of Agamotto. Chris Bachalo draws the Hood/Strange segments in the first two issues of this story and those are gorgeous pages. Bachalo makes the Hood terrifying. Just a freaky, scary monster.

Billy Tan draws everything else and it's typical Billy Tan ugliness. He left the book after this story was done and thank god for that. Stuart Immonen came on board and you could tell Bendis was pleased with the way that worked out.

Before continuing with the Dr. Strange plot, I want to address the small bit of business that occurs without him: the team picks a leader and Spider-Man reveals his identity to them. After Clint's stunt at the end of last issue (the video calling out Osborn), the team has a meeting and... names Clint leader. A choice that makes sense no matter how many morons think Captain America should be leader because his superhero name is Captain America. Trust me, I saw that debate go on for way too long on message boards. Christ.

The unmasking of Spider-Man is handled well. Peter is, of course, a whiny little bitch about it. "But I don't waaaaaaaaaaant to!" But, he does it, because he should. It's then they we learn for the first time that Jessica went to the same high school as him! And had a crush on him! Before she got sick and went into a coma! Seriously! What the fuck? Shouldn't that information have come up sometime back when they knew that Peter Parker was Spider-Man before "One More Day" took that knowledge away? It's shocking here because you'd think that would have been covered then. I'm used to Bendis contradicting regular continuity, not his own... from twenty issues ago... ah well. [Edit: Am told that Jessica's crush on Peter was introduced in an issue of Alias that I have not read, which explains why I was completely wrong here -- but understandibly so. Just wanted to let you all know.]

Around then, Dr. Strange interrupts them and, soon, they're off to find the new Sorcerer Supreme with only the Eye of Agamotto as their guide. They wind up in New Orleans where the choice seems to be Daimon Hellstrom... Son of Satan? Oh, the Eye... it knows the score alright. There, they get into it with the Hood and Madame Masque. Part of the team handles her, while the other part handles him until the new Sorcerer Supreme is selected... Brother Voodoo! He arrives on scene, the day is saved, Dormammu is banished and the Hood is left very badly hurt.

A few more things:

* I like the choice of Brother Voodoo as new Sorcerer Supreme. He's different from Dr. Strange and could lead to some interesting stories.

* The Hood being injured and offered a deal for his power back by Loki is a repeat of the Black Widow II being injured and offered her looks back by... who was it again? Someone!

* Before taking on Madame Masque, Captain America asks if anyone else wants a gun -- you know, because there's a lady with a bazooka and guns out there -- and Spider-Man freaks the fuck out. I mean, he almost throws a hissy fit. He is so damn annoying in this storyarc with his whiny bullshit. "Oooh! Guns scary!" A polite 'no' would do the job. (And I say that as a very anti-gun person.)

* Clint deciding that they need to kill Norman Osborn at the end of the issue is great. Scott (commenter) said he doesn't believe Clint would kill and I think Bendis has put him through so much that, yeah, he'd kill a guy like Osborn. He's sick of nothing being right in the world since Avengers Disassembled and if killing Osborn fixes something, he'll do it. Thankfully, I won't discuss that conversation from #55 because Spider-Man is even whinier and annoying there.

We reach the end of the line for discussing Bendis comics. Well, discussing specific stories at least. What, already? I've only been doing it for 21 hours! But that's not the deal -- the deal is 24 hours, so I've got three more hours to fill. Join me in 30 minutes to see what I pull out of my ass first.

[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.]