Note To Bendis

I was not aware that Henry Pym could shrink to subatomic size.

I think that’s another one of your mistakes.

Am I wrong?

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8 responses to “Note To Bendis

  1. I think the implication was “Yeah, Ant-Man is limited to a half-inch, but I could have made him go subatomic any time I wanted to!”, which is just plain weird and wrong. It’s like Reed Richards saying “Ohh, you want to revert back to Ben Grimm PERMANENTLY! Total misunderstanding on my part! Yeah, I could have done that ages ago, buddy!”.

  2. And if YOU care then you’re the big whining fanboy geek, talking in that nasal, fussy voice (you know the one)! Isn’t that fun? Whee! The last thing you want is for any criticisms of his stuff to make its way into the Powers letters page, say, ’cause there’s no way he’s going to let you come across any other way. So there’s no way to actually engage with him on any reasonable level if you have any kind of problem with anything he does. Party!

  3. And yet how is it that Brubaker’s tossing sacred cows on the barbeque left and right, and I’m loving it?

    Meanwhile Bendis can’t write two panels of Ant-Man talking about fucking shrinking without pissing me off.

    Oh yeah, it’s me. Must be me. And not, y’know, that Bendis can’t figure out how to write a scene of two characters having a cup of coffee without explicitly contradicting thirty years of backstory into the bargain. Bendis! He’s like latter-day Byrne, now, he just wants to do whatever.

  4. He’s just outside of his wheelhouse on a team book with so much history. I loved him on Daredevil, it was such a good fit for him. Ultimate Spidey, too. Books with small casts and either no history save what he makes up or very easily summed-up histories suit him. Avengers, though… yeah, that’s not a job for Bendis.

    The crappy thing is that there are genuinely exciting ideas in some of his Avengers stories. Ultron makes a bid for world conquest? Never a bad idea, and the promise of a new sheen on that old story was intriguing to me. The Avengers vs. the rest of Venom’s race? Absolutely! His long-boiling SHIELD/Fury mystery is something I genuinely want to see resolved. The Illuminati sounded like a FUN set of retcon stories, in theory! And I love the concepts behind his two Avengers teams. But he screws it all in the details, he inevitably bites off more than he can chew (I’m dreading his handling of the upcoming Skrull stuff, a story idea WAY too big for his style), and while he’s a fun concept-man, he’s just not a good fit for writing actual Avengers stories.

    Brubaker gets away with it because he doesn’t mold characters to concept, he lets the two work together. He introduces something audacious into his characters’ world and lets them react to it. The return of Bucky, a dead Cap in his own ongoing series, the third Summers brother – he hits his mark every time because it’s all about being true to the characters that are involved with these things. Bendis, on the other hand, will brutally hammer his characters into a shape that gives his idea all the breathing room it needs, so focused on the idea itself that he has no clue what a monstrosity the gestalt is becoming.

  5. I both loved him and hated him on Daredevil. I hated the illogic! And I wasn’t crazy about the repetition. But, it wasn’t all illogic and repetition, and some of it was even excellent.

    I loved him on USM (where it’s all about the repetition anyway…except, bizarrely, for Gwen Stacy’s death scene), BEYOND loved Alias (where who gives a damn if there’s a little illogic?)…and then there’s Powers, which aside from the stand-up routines (and how weird is it that those were annoying instead of great?) is just about perfect.

    But he just flounders like crazy in Avengers, Illuminati, House Of M, etc., and I think you hit the reasons why pretty well, although I also think there’s probably plenty to add, because I think Bendis has his own typical concerns just like any writer, and they’d be interesting to analyze. Obviously, he seems to like to blow shit up…but it’s more than that, too: I think he likes to blow shit up because he gets bored easily, and it’s the easiest way to handle details that he doesn’t really care about. Blow ’em up. Get rid of them. Get rid of the restraints. It isn’t about “having all these stories” you want to tell with the Sentry, it’s about being able to just do what you want when you want. Bendis thought the Hood was a really awesome character that he just had to use? Pshaw. He just saw a way to get around having to follow anybody else’s history, that’s all. I’m not really even sure Bendis has even done much more than flip-skim a Marvel comic anyway, if you know what I mean…

    Whereas I’m sure Brubaker has. I’ll admit I had trouble reconciling his Deadly Genesis and early Daredevil with his Cap and Catwoman, but by now I think it’s pretty obvious what his typical concerns are, too. Bendis (and Joe Q., as he’s always telling us) will “do anything for a good story”, but Brubaker won’t: he won’t do something that doesn’t make sense just because he’s groping for a climax or a cliffhanger, because he’s too detail-oriented for that, and as a result he doesn’t paint himself into any serious corners, as Bendis clearly does all the time. I didn’t particularly care for Deadly Genesis, and I still don’t, but it makes a lot of sense to me now as a Brubaker story, and so I’m willing to make allowances for it…especially since, you know, it finishes. It makes its changes and then gets out, and doesn’t force all future X-Men stories to deal with it or die. Again personally, I think Brubaker’s reimagining of Giant-Size X-Men #1 was, um, problematical…but then again it’s pretty minor stuff when compared with everything else that’s practically ever gone on in X-Men since about the time Kitty Pryde became a one-night ninja, right? So big deal, and who really wants to revisit the story of Krakoa The Living Island anyway? Hey, if you ever read that comic, you already know…the payoff for all its suspense was a bit problematical from the beginning. “Oh, now I understand, it’s…it’s…a LIVING ISLAND!!!” What, really? That’s it? That’s supposed to explain everything, that’s the big missing piece of the puzzle? Hmmm…are you sure?

    Deadly Genesis, while I wasn’t crazy about it, certainly isn’t any worse than that, or harder to live with long-term. And maybe it even throws a bit of light onto Claremont’s occasional no-good-reason-for-it Evil Professor X, you know? Anyway it paints no corners; if anything it gives future writers more room to move without tripping over old bits of junk left lying on the floor. And the characters all stay the same. I’m digressing quite a lot here, but in a way it lessens the dissonance between the old X-Men who adored their selfless leader Xavier, and the new X-Men who have been dealing with an untrustwothy, manipulative, and secretive Xavier for years now. One year, way back when, this all just changed, suddenly — but since Deadly Genesis, it didn’t “change”, but just started to come out, instead. And as a fan, I can’t say I approve of the fact that it did change, but since it’s been changed for a long time now, we might as well have an explanation for it, and Whedon’s “Danger” probably isn’t enough of one.

    Blah blah blah. Ramble ramble ramble. Anyway…what I’m saying is, inevitably you do have to let new writers muck about in the old past, and tweak some things. It’s not the end of the world. But Bendis can’t seem to abide hewing to a single thing that’s ever been written, and he doesn’t feel bound by character logic or any other sort of logic either. Every panel’s a crazy “gotcha!” that doesn’t make sense. Every character is in danger of being totally overwritten at the drop of a hat. Which might as well be read: every character is in constant danger of being objectified by the writer, if he senses that they might make “a good story”. Once you catch their eye this way, you’re toast — you’re shoved through the mangle of A Good Story, and you don’t come out the same. And all the other characters just kind of whistle and go about their business, pretending not to notice, or maybe they occasionally stop to remark “it’s good that Bendis did that, isn’t it? Yes, it sure is! It’s good, very good…”

    Christ, what time is it?

    Wow, am I rattling on.

  6. I’ve noticed ever since JLA vs. Avengers was published that Marvel seems to be amping up their characters a notch or two (Hulk, Cage, Thor, etc.). Is it possible that they’re preparing for the next encounter with DC in about a decade or so?

  7. Wilfredo –
    If they are, then I’m gonna have to burn my comic collection, because thats the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and I’ve been wasting my life, oh my god wheres that razorblade…

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