DC Disassembled?

There’s not been much interesting comics news of late. I’ve been waiting... and waiting... for an announcement on new series for the Legion of Super-Heroes and Justice Society of America. 

Instead, today, DC gave us this. 


My first reaction? Oh Lord, no. 

If I’m in the mood, I can enjoy some Brian Michael Bendis. His original Alias was an absorbing study of a ‘difficult’ character, giving us a different take on the Marvel Universe. Daredevil was a compelling drama that fit nicely with Frank Miller’s legendary run. His original Ultimate Spider-Man was a fun teen drama if you didn’t mind the original Sixties tales being stretched out to a ridiculous length - Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s 11-page origin became a seven-issue story!

But then came Avengers Disassembled, in which he had a mad Scarlet Witch turn on her teammates, leading to the deaths of Ant-Man and Hawkeye, She-Hulk ripping the Vision in two, the Wasp thrust into a coma and more. Then there was Dr Strange contradicting years of stories by claiming chaos magic didn’t exist... it was several issues of the Avengers merely reacting or, worse still, standing around doing nothing. Earth’s mightiest heroes acted like naive beginners. 


And when the dust settled, we got a team of New Avengers, one whose remit seemed to be sitting around bantering. After hundreds of issues as a reader, I was gone. 

I’ve tried many a Bendis book since then, as he has a habit of taking over favourite characters. Mighty Avengers, All-New X-Men, Moon Knight... but as the years have passed I found his writing tics more and more annoying - the swearing, lack of distinctive voices (suddenly every second sentence was ‘the hell?’), lunatic verbiage, rambling stories, unsatisfactory ‘endings’, haphazard treatment of continuity... a lot of the blame should go to the editors who apparently don’t touch his scripts, letting Bendis go his own way, trampling on established history and characterisations. In Avengers Disassembled, for instance, he made the Wasp a callous carouser and Hawkeye a himbo. 


And now he’s leaving Marvel to do who knows what at DC Comics. And that tweet could be read as confirming he’s going to have leeway to do whatever he likes. 

I do hope not. I want DC’s editors to actually work with Bendis to get tighter scripts, to keep characters recognisable. To serve the story rather than the immediate scene. To remind him that he’s part of a massive crew of creators working within a single universe, not the sole proprietor. 

I’ve heard Brian Bendis interviewed; he sounds a lovely chap, and it would be stupid not to wish him success at DC, because I want good comics. So I hope he eschews the big, flashy characters and writes strips that play to his strengths - maybe new takes on street level characters the Question or Jonni Thunder. 


Or given that he can write zingy dialogue when he doesn’t have several characters to deal with, maybe a new Elongated Man series showcasing Ralph and Sue’s relationship. Perhaps he could do well with Gail Simone’s Secret Six... But a Bendis Justice League or Superman or Wonder Woman? Please, no. 

It’ll probably happen, though - DC will wish to put their big signing on their big characters. But where do you think Brian Bendis should land at DC Comics?

And please don’t say Justice Society or Legion!


Brian Michael Bendis, DC Comics, Avengers Disassembled, Marvel Comics

Comments

  1. I've got a lot more faith in him than you do, Mart. Though I agree he'd do a fine job with Elongated Man. Wally West or Firestorm would also be characters that play to his strengths.

    Teen Titans would, too -- and would give me a reason to return to reading those characters, who've been kind of lost to me for years.

    I'd be astonished if he doesn't also have something cooked up for the Dark Matter/New Age of DC Heroes books coming up.

    (I wouldn't discount Legion either...but as I said, I enjoy his work a lot more than you do.)

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    1. Firestorm could be a very interesting fit, but having read the original snappy Conway stories I fear boringly drawn-out fare that would have me longing for the 70s and 80s. But then, that’s my problem with every Bendis book.

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    2. DC will probably reign him in his ultra decompression style comics

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    3. @Big Shadow: God I hope so. As I've mentioned elsewhere, he really needs to take a 6-month to a year break to recharge his batteries instead of just coming in right off the bat. But I doubt he will.

      God I miss Ralph and Sue though, and maybe, maybe Bendis writing them could work. If he reigned his shtick in.

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    4. Definitely, Bendis needs a break, a buffer between DC and Marvel, but he’s likely too enthuses. Who knows, we may get some great, surprising work... I love that story about him being inspired to join DC after visiting a Superman exhibit.

      And if it’s not true, hey, it’s showing he has a new story.

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    5. Geoff Johns will probably reign him in he left Marvel for DC when they forced their writers to use Bendis Decompressed write for Trades style

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  2. I think the creative well ran dry a long time ago with him and he's at DC because the deal gets him into Hollywood in ways that he couldn't under Kevin Feige.

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    1. Why are so many people so keen to work in Hollywood? Is it simply a money and lifestyle thing?

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    2. Yeah. They get to be like Stan Lee and Neil Gaiman and Kevin Smith and potentially make themselves into a brand...yeah, I'm predicting Bendis will be charging $120.00 for autographs when he reaches his golden years.

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    3. The really scary thought is that someone will pay up.

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  3. eye hope he just goes to Vertigo or does a New Age of Heroes Book keep him away from Justice League Priest's got that JLA has Orlando any of The Super Books or any Team Books

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  4. if he does The Question he should use JLU's conspiracy nut as a good basis along with Dennis O'Neil's old series as influence

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    1. God I miss that version of Q. It fit him like a velvet glove.

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  5. I'm guessing he'll get the 60 issue sequel to The Watchman DC have planned after Doomsday Clock.

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    1. If DC wanted to 'break the internet', that's their opportunity. Don't let us down DC!

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  6. I love Bendis' work! Of his Marvel stuff only the Moon Knight and Spider Woman books left me cold. Disassembled/New Avengers brought me back into buying comics after years of being out. If he gets JLA maybe I'll enjoy a Justice League series for the first time this decade!

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    1. I’m enjoying Steve Orlando’s JLA rather a lot. So watch Bendis get that.

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  7. I think I like him better than you Mart, although my collection isn't stuffed with his work.
    I liked New Avengers, especially the odd ball team he put together.
    I liked Alias a lot.
    And I liked his All New Xmen with the young Xmen brought into our time.

    I do think he would work better in a darker, seedier, street level sort of book. Question is a good character. I was also thinking something pulpy like Dr. Mid-Nite or Wildcat.

    And I don't think the bright future of the Legion is his the right venue. Maybe Suicide Squad?

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    1. I hated Bendis’ New Avengers line-up - Spidey? Wolverine? A skrull impersonating Spiderwoman, then God knows who impersonating Spiderwoman?

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  8. Yeah, I'm definitely not a big fan of Bendis either. His early works always had a great start and really finished flat and most times very unsatisfying. His newer writing irritates me as well and generally why I don't read a lot of Marvel books anymore. He's probably going to get a Justice League book and maybe be part of the Batman family, and I have to say I'm pretty skeptical how he'll work with other DC writers. Especially since DC is arguable at the top of it's game with their stories right now... I'll be over here holding my breath and hoping for the best...!

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    1. It's weird that in all those years at Marvel he never seems to have encountered editors with enough character to stand up to his reputation. It may not even have been that Bendis would have a problem with being asked for tweaks, but that Tom Brevoort or Joe Quesada are whoover are such massive fans they gave him a 'golden hands-off' which no one dared challenge.

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  9. I'm actually predicting a lot of Bendis' creations will slowly be pushed aside as his name becomes more synonymous with DC..Jessica Jones, Miles Morales..they'll be in the background with Dakota North and Darkhawk...although the Netflix "Jessica Jones" is capable of continuing because it has a different texture to it..it's a product based on Bendis for non-fans of Bendis.

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    1. I wonder... it may already be happening, if a Bleeding Cool piece suggesting Miles' Spider-Man book is to be retitled 'Mile Morales: Spider-man' is correct.

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    2. Letting some new voices handle them might be the best thing for those characters, though. Miles Morales is a character I want to really like but he fades into the background far too easily, especially when everyone talks exactly like everyone else like they do in Bendis stories. And while it's also a company wide problem, it wouldn't hurt him or Jessica to be given a new direction and stick to it. For longer than five issues.

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    3. who will write him Robbi Thompson Christos Gage Sean Mckeever Mark Waid Fred Van Lente Christopher Yost?

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    4. I'll settle for "Literally anyone else".

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    5. I could see this happening too. Maybe not at first , or at least with characters like Miles and Jessica Jones, since they're still popular, especially Jones now with the whole Netflix thing, but eventually once that's run its course and no one else of worth dies anything with her, then yeah, they'll be quietly shifted to the side. I believe they;re already doing that with the time-displaced X-Men being slowly phased out.

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    6. Send those poor kids back home. Mind, as I understand it, they’ve been gone so long they’re now Marvel Hypertime variants of themselves, or something.

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  10. good news everyone snyder is doing a project with bendis so that should balance things maybe they r working on Captain Marvel

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    1. I think you're redefining 'good news' here...

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    2. Bendis cam write Young Heroes well enough Snyder can balance out his plodding an wasted page and other nonsense

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    3. We shouldn’t need two writers to get one readable comic, though.

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    4. some of the best comics had 2 writer The Incredible Hercules by GReg Pak and Fred Van Lente for example

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    5. Mishkin and Cohn, the Kesels, the Bierbaums with Giffen...

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    6. what comic did Mishkin and Cohn do?

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    7. Most notably, they created and wrote Blue Devil and Amethyst.

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  11. Now sue me, but thunderous news like this one most of times end up with a whimper, with "Big Name from Company A moving to Big character of Company B" event ending quickly and leaving little memory of it. I - hardly - remember Dan Jurgens on Spider-Man in the 90s, for instance: but of course there are notable and positive exceptions. My money is on "no big deal", for good or for bad.

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    1. That’s a very optimistic view. I hope for good things, but still lean towards a glass half empty of samey dialogue, unfinished stories...

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    2. and wasted pages don't forget that

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    3. I agree on this, it's likely tha a lot of unfinished work will be left: it surely happened back when The King did the same, the very first time this kind of switch occurred. And of course he did a lot of astonishing work. What I'm saying is that the DC universe will survive this in any case, and I don't expect a facepalm situation as with most of the New 52 missteps. The very fact we're talking about Shazam, Zatanna or similar, it's a sign they want to handle this very carefully: Rebirth was a huge sucess for DC, and longly due, so I hardly think they want to spoil it all.

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    4. That’s a great attitude, and of course, you’re right, the DCU will survive. But meanwhile, I’d hate to have to give up comics featuring favourite characters because he’s made them wise guys/gals in very slow non-adventures, as happened with the Avengers and so many more Marvel favourites.

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