Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blogathon 46: Bendis and Obscure Characters

The obvious 'obscure' characters Bendis brought back during his run are the Sentry, the Hood, and Noh-Varr, all three stars of mini-series from a few years previously that hadn't appeared since. Bendis brought them all back, changed what he thought needed changing, and been using all three since... though Noh-Varr the least. The Sentry and the Hood have figured rather heavily into his plans.

But those aren't the only characters Bendis has brought back. Probably his biggest 'save' of a character is Luke Cage. Sure, he's not obscure, but Bendis first started working on him in Alias and, as we saw, he eventually made him an Avenger. An Avenger you take seriously. A guy who's been an Avenger for 55 issues (56 as of Wednesday). That's a serious pedigree for the former Power Man. Not only that, but Bendis has given him a wife and kid. He turned a dumb stereotype into a responsible family man and pillar of the community (despite his legal status as a fugitive -- the people in his community know that that law is bogus and Luke Cage still has their respect).

People (including myself) will rag on Bendis for bringing back characters and changing them, but Luke Cage is the answer that says 'Sometimes it works. Sometimes it is 100% on the money.' Because Bendis's Luke Cage is a fantastic character, a better one than he was before Bendis. I can't imagine someone disagreeing with that assessment. Yeah, yellow shirt, tiara-wearing Power Man was funny and all, but this is better. A million times better. Luke Cage is the man.

Bendis also redid Nick Fury, turning him into a serious spy in Secret War. Or Spider-Woman, creating a compelling character about to get an ongoing series with some good hype. He even put Dr. Strange on the Avengers. Bendis's run has been marked by a fondness for looking at unexplored characters with potential and bringing them to the forefront... I wonder how long it will be before he turns his eyes to 'traditional' Avengers...

I really like that part of Bendis, because he does some good work as a guy who 'fixes' characters. He has a knack for find that part of them that's cool and interesting. Nick Fury as the badass superspy -- people have tried to pull that off, but few have. All Bendis did was have him act like a real badass superspy would, which is do anything to get the job done.

While I don't like his work so far on Noh-Varr, I can't argue with his general direction of success in reforming characters.

In 30 minutes, some more stuff about Bendis. Duh.

[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.]