Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Frank Cho (w/Brandon Peterson)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: The Avengers finally have a few strategies to deal with Lady Ultron, and maybe save Tonyís life in the process. Thatís if Sentry doesnít screw everything up, and if Pym actually knows what heís talking about.
Comments: Well, the thought balloons have reached new levels of annoying nattering. Bendisí misuse of them as subliminal counterpoints to the spoken is a slight joke that he stole from Kevin Nealon, and it should end. Plot-wise, this issue is as about as predictable an ending for this type of story as one could expect. This series has pretty much been the Independence Day of comics since its onset, and this issue Hank Pym (the never really all that Giant Man) uses Ares as his agent to perform a Jeff Goldblum solution on pesky advanced technology. I donít really get why primitive tech can do what high tech cannot, but itís all just a handwave, anyway, to get us to the reset button the series of horrid events driving this glacially paced first arc needs to finally get around to the second one.
Ares has been the star of this new misconceived attempt to reach out to old Avengers fans, for the simple high concept reason that Tony (when he returns) repeats from an earlier issue: Heís ďThor and WolverineĒ all at once. Heís our version of Hercules, in fact, who was the fun-loving flavor of macho bluster of the Ď60s once for this title. Ares doesnít bluster, heís instead deadly serious, but heís just as unrecovered and irascible an example of untamed manhood as Herc used to be. Vin Diesel gets to be him in the movie. Okay, or the Rock.
Sentry, on the other hand, is the wild card that Bendis still hasnít tamed, in the slightest. He just simply writes him badly. With a hero who can do anything, literally, the only way to keep him under control is to make him an emotional wreck. Thatís what heís been for every second since Bendis unearthed him, and it changes little this issue. Thereís always a ďwhat just happened?Ē flavor with Sentry, and itís stuck on repeat. Heís the ultimate passive hero: he only reacts, never acts.
More interesting is the Wasp/Hank tension (sheís jealous of him hitting the sheets with Tigra, and he calls her a cheap name for the second time I think in this series thus faróno, they donít actually spell it out, but the vulgarity is clear), if only because it may lead somewhere and is more interesting than their many unlikely reconciliations. Also on the soapy front, Wonder Man tells Ms. Marvel to stop protecting him in a fight just because theyíre getting it on.
I donít know why sexual politics havenít progressed past the Ď50s in Bendisí books, even though manners and chivalry have certainly degraded in a current fashion. The conclusion to this story is obvious and uninspired, just a deck clearing exercise to get onto the next story, which the sister title has already moved beyond months ago. Why Bendis canít keep two books he writes on schedule with each other is another question, but until he can Iím not sure about the wisdom of interlocked stories.
The issue looks great, as usual, with Cho more than capable of rendering the familiar occurrences inside: A microscopic journey into an artificial environment, a maddened hero who does more harm than good, a last minute save that shouldnít work but does because of dramatic timing. Itís all pretty shallow, but action-filled, which still makes it more fun than the usual issue of the companion title.
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