Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blogathon 45: Why I Keep Reading Bendis's Avengers Books

One of my goals with this blogathon was to figure out why I keep reading Bendis's Avengers book. I almost dropped them post-Secret Invasion (actually, the tie-ins had me almost drop them during Secret Invasion -- at least, temporarily). But I didn't. Why? The book is rarely great. The odd issue here and there manages to get out of that 3-3.5 star range that the book seems stuck in. Now, 3-3.5 stars isn't bad, but it's not amazing. A book that consistently performs at that level could easily get cut from my reading list -- Invincible Iron Man is at that level, but got cut. I like New Avengers more than Invincible Iron Man yet rank them at similar (if not equal) levels of quality... what's up with that?

One explanation could be the amount of time and money I've put into this run. I don't want to quit because then I'll have all of these comics without an end -- an incomplete run. I reject that theory as I've done it before with other titles. Keeping a run going has never been a concern of mine to this point.

That means I must be getting something else out of these books. There is New Avengers's position as the central (and key) book to the Marvel universe right now. Read it, you know what's going on in the MU. That's a pretty good reason to keep up... sarcasm. Sorry. It's not. I don't care about that sort of thing. If I did, I'd be buying Blackest Night. If it's important enough that I need to know, I'll find out somehow.

So, maybe the writing is just... good? Maybe I don't drop the books, because I simply enjoy them quite a bit. While the objective quality may be close to Invincible Iron Man, the subjective quality is more varied. Maybe these books just speak to me on that personal, hard-to-define level. As I said at some point during the day, I like good dialogue and Bendis does good dialogue. His characters are grounded with real concerns. They react (and act) in somewhat real ways. You get the feeling that they deal with some of the same crap you do -- the day to day living crap. When Luke and Jessica have a fight, they don't automatically split up, they work through it -- like real people more often than not (at least when they're married).

While Bendis's writing is usually in the 3-3.5 stars range, he sometimes jumps up to 4 or even 4.5... he can be great and it's fun to watch him flirt with greatness all of the time. One scene in an issue may be great, while the rest are mediocre (Dark Avengers #3, for example). Bendis rarely lays down on the job -- some may mistake his natural pacing and dialogue for laziness, but it all has a purpose, even if it's just lame attempts at joke... or random nonsense that people say.

I read it because I enjoy it. I enjoyed the hell out of rereading his work, even the not-so-great stuff. Highly entertaining.

In 30 minutes, I don't know what yet.

[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.]