I read New Avengers #20 today because I didn't have to pay for it. And I have noticed a really bad pattern.
House of M? A hook, way too many issues coasting through the hook, then an answer and resolution within 5-6 pages at the end of the mini making you wonder if Bendis got caught wasting time before finishing his script and had to sort of wrap it all up quick or be found out. I'm not saying House of M was a bad idea, it could have gone pretty far to be the next AoA if given half the chance. Instead, we got a convincing intro, issue after issue of wasting time with splash pages or self-congradulating pats on the back, and Deux Ex Wanda at the end.
The New Avengers! Some of Marvel's most popular characters coming together under not only America's Greatest Hero, but the most popular Avengers founder (well... he used to be). How possibly could we go wrong here?
Well, filling your first issue of a major storyarc with really big splash pages of things like Earth. Possibly killing a superhero team between panels with no rhyme or reason. And then suddenly sidetracking your heroes with a telepathic intrusion into a helpless Spider-Man by a secret government organization that's on the Avenger's side. All we know from the past few issues regarding the Big Threat is that it's all the mutant powers in the world that were taken away (guys, it's DNA. That's like saying if she'd said No More Blondes we'd have a big ball of Blonde Energy in space.) is that it's this poor schmoe named Michael, it's really very powerful because he absorbed all this wandering mutant power and he's looking for Wanda, maybe.
Which brings us to the last issue in the arc, where someone raps a ruler on Bendis's desk, he stops daydreaming and has to end this thing. We start with Magneto because the poor man ain't getting any play in the mutant books and really, the man needs some screen time. He's writing a journal, maybe a memoir, maybe a suicide note, maybe a livejournal post, about how miserable he is these days, all thanks to his kids. Why does Bendis write him so whiney? What happened to the fist-shaking, grandstanding man we all knew and loved? Did taking away his mutant power take away his spine? Well, his emo journal is stopped because Michael's shown up on Genosha, 'births' (their words, not mine) the mutant power energy and it is in fact, looking for Magnus.
Okay, I can deal. We might get the old Mutant vs. Human fight back again and the X-Men might have more reason to get their act together. The New Avengers land on Genosha with a 'Now what?' on their faces as they note the place not only creeps them out, but Magneto still lives here (oh and the rest of the cast of Excalibur, who I don't think all abandoned ship in Son of M). Cut to Magneto, getting harassed by angry looking black and yellow word bubbles who are giving him his powers back (possibly, they didn't spend too much time with this) and demanding he do his mutant dominion thing again. Okay, again, I can live with this. Nice to see Magneto get a kick in the butt and put on something besides his pyjamas. It's okay. Now, the mean black and yellow word bubbles demand Magneto say his name (Make your own pervy joke here, kids, it's fun!), finally revealing what is actually behind this awesome power and guess who?
No. Seriously. It's XORN. Or... like a manefestation of him. Or... Jesus, I don't know. I thought the whole Xorn thing got resolved in X-Men and everyone just decided that Morrison's X-Men was just a dream. Or part of Wanda's crazy. There is no good reason to bring the name of Xorn into anything, anymore, we're done, why did you bother, Bendis? Why? The Avengers hear Magneto yell Xorn's name and give a collective 'Wha?', running towards the unknown because well, it's their book and there should be something to fight around here. Just in luck, the Xorn entity decides that what's a Magneto without followers, throws his powers aroundead Genoshans and presto! Mutant Zombies! The New Avengers have something to do now.
Can I just make a point here? Can we STOP calling the Sentry 'Bob' in public, on missions, in front of people? It's like reffering to Batman as Larry. It's dumb, and it should stop now. In fact, the New Avengers have been awfully cozy with first names haven't they? So, a good boom mike should make Civil War kind of ... never mind.
As the New Avengers rally to fight the horror eqivolent of ninjas, the President calls SHIELD and asks them to nuke of Genosha in order to stop all this madness once and for all. The mean and evil dragon lady of SHIELD What's Her Name (dude, Fury's back in some books, why is she still here?) has her heart grows three sizes that day and decides to put her faith in possibly the most AWESOME collection of heroes the Marvel Universe's marketing deptartment has to offer and gives them a chance to fight this out. Wow. What a leap.
Cap, obviously, has a plan. Or talks a good talk. You see, SHIELD has a chick that can cause small earthquakes in people's brain, so she's going to do that to Magneto, killing him to get the Xorn out, at which point Ms. Marvel's going to draw it to her using her absorbtion powers, Iron Man's going to put a stasis field and the Sentry is learning that the only way to deal with your problems is to throw them into the Sun. It's the new Nuking it from orbit, the only way to be sure. Mind you, the plans are kind of sketchy on my part because there was a shot in there of the Sentry at Magneto with the poor old man asking to die. I do not blame him.
This all works. Don't ask, it just does as the Golden Bob of Good seeing a face yelling at him as he dumps the Xorn Thing into the sun. Magneto isn't dead, he's in a coma and when he wakes up, SHIELD wants to try him for crimes against humanity. BECAUSE THIS HAS WORKED SO WELL IN THE PAST. In the space of a sinlge page, we see a helicopter taking off with Magneto's comatose body and we see it blow up. They announce no body, figure it got incinerated and shrug. The chick with the mindquake thinks she's suddenly on the Avengers roster, to which Captain America politely says 'No, but we'll keep your resume on file.' The kid who had absorbed all this nonsense in the first place is told while he's naked, hairless and scared out fo his wits that congradulations, you're a mutant! And boy, does Wolverine want to give you such a pinch for killing Alpha Flight. Luke Cage wonders if out of all this we'll get a new hero. If I was Michael, I'd move to the middle of nowhere and fish for the rest of my life. Oh, and ask for a shirt, because really people. Iron Man tells the SHIELD lady that he knew about the bombs and she says to him that now he knows what kind of pressure she's under. So, I guess we're supposed to like her now or something. All this and hey! We're Disassembling for the Civil War! So be back in 30.
In the honor of the Colbert Report, here's all you need to know: Magneto may or may not have powers and has disappeared. There are two new mutants on the scene (so, an even 200?), Michael Pointer, a energy absorber and Daisy Johnson, a seismic disruption causing SHIELD agent. The SHIELD director (in this book, from Civil War) isn't such a bad person, she just has really mean orders from higher up. And this all might not matter anyway because we're Disassembling.
And I didn't pay a thing for all of this.