COVER BY: Romita Jr., Janson & Hollowell
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: John Romita Jr.
INKS: Klaus Janson
COLORED BY: Dean White
LETTERED BY: VC’s Cory Pettit
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE DATE: March 30, 2011
Let me start out by saying there are few truly bad stories I have read that guest-starred the Watcher (some issues of What If …? notwithstanding). This is certainly true with Avengers #11.
After a break at the Comicsville Filling Station last issue, the Bendis-machine puts the pedal to the metal this go-round, concocting and excellently executing one of the best Avengers tales of this or any writer’s run.
A brief for-the-trades break last month brings us this month to some heavy action, some cosmic roamings and truths, and (at least for this reader/reviewer) some much-needed information on soon-to-be-Avenger (I assume) the Red Hulk, aka Thunderbolt Ross.
We still had some in-humor with Spidey, of all folk, noticing Uatu’s presence; Thor’s true-to-character speech pattern (thank you, Brian); and the Thing cut-off in mid-“Clobberin’.” But these were small moments, and never took away from the urgency and intensity of the script, something that was somehow lacking last issue.
I mean, Steve/Cap yelling “Avengers Assemble!” again in this series had my neck hairs standing at attention. Spine-tingling!
There is an old story that has become comic book lore: It has been said that, while working on Spider-Man, the giant-size poster-like book, writer/artist Todd McFarlane during a fan press interview once threw all his pages, which were full splashes, up in the air and said they could be put together anyway to make the same story. This to me not only smacked of the grossest cynicism, but also showed very little regard for the craft of writing (a craft in which I number myself). For that reason, I have never liked full-page mags because it takes away, I feel, from the drama of the splash/double page spread and its intended meaning.
That said, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson and Dean White have done some of their most awesome Avengers work to date in this issue. The power of each full page panel moves Bendis’ story along at a dramatic pace, especially during the battle between Thor, Red Hulk, Subby and the Hood (you cannot get better than Namor yelling “Imperius Rex!”); Xavier and Robbins; and the Hood’s journey on the Astral Plane. Cool and cosmic!
Others may desire to spill the beans about the shocking last panel but I will not. I am just afraid, knowing how Bendis thinks and feels, that what is presented is not what is, if you get my drift. We will leave it at that.
Truly, this was an issue of Avengers to be not only enjoyed but savored and is definitely a two- and maybe three-read mag. Here is hoping for a great conclusion to this mostly successful (and cosmic) arc.