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How to upset the balance of Earths Mightiest Heroes!
The Avengers: Disassembled - Brian Michael Bendis
Member Name: carl_lazarevic
The Avengers: Disassembled - Brian Michael Bendis
Advantages: Dialogue, core storyline, artwork
Disadvantages: A little too fast paced.
House of M, Secret War, Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign. Most of you probably have no idea what those terms mean, but if you've read anything Marvel related in the last 5 years then maybe those names are familiar to you. Basically, these are the names of the big events that have pushed the heroes to their limits and consistently changed the status quo of the Marvel Universe. Of course it all had to start somewhere, and where it started was with the events of Avengers Disassembled.
Avengers Disassembled chronicles the events of Avengers issues 500-503 which saw the Avengers being relentlessly attacked on both a physical and emotional level. Plus it includes the one shot Avengers Finale which concluded the careers of The Avengers as they had previously existed. It's also written by my favourite comic book author Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spiderman).
The story starts simply enough with a group of Avengers chilling out around the Avengers Mansion when a recently deceased member tries to gain access to the grounds. Ant Man tries to contact his friend, but this is a course of action that ends up costing him his life. A Code Red alert is immediately sent out summoning all Avengers to action. Meanwhile Tony Stark (AKA Ironman) is tied up with his own problem. In his position as Secretary of Defence he has to appear before the United Nations, but finds alcohol related issues are interfering with his performance. Back at the Avengers Mansion Vision (He's one of the Avengers) unleashes a group of Ultron robots onto the currently weakened team, and She Hulk loses it big time and goes on a rampage.
Hawkeye believes that these are all totally unrelated events in a really bad day for the Avengers. Ironman however claims not to have touched a drop of alcohol in years, and sees his drunken state as proof that a third party has coordinated these attacks. This is a theory that carries a lot more weight when a whole lot of other bad stuff starts kicking off within the hour.
If I'm perfectly honest I'd say that it's in this constant barrage of action that the book starts to falter. A lot of people criticize Bendis for his usual decompressed style of writing, which means he can spend 5-6 issues on a story that could have been told in 1. Avengers Disassembled suffers from the opposite effect. 4 issues is just nowhere near enough time to fully develop the deconstruction of the avengers. There's no room for the reader to breathe and take in what's happening between the attacks and as a result you barely feel anything, even when some fairly important characters are killed off unexpectedly.
Still I would definitely say that I enjoyed Avengers Disassembled, and the reason is in the writing from Bendis. To put it simply the guy knows dialogue. He knows how to script a scene realistically enough that a group of characters sitting in a room talking about nothing in particular can be enjoyable. It's not just limited to the easy going flirting before everything kicks off either. Bendis dialogue; when its given time, actually manages to add that much needed weight to the story. When She Hulk goes mad you actually feel the intimidation that her team mates feel, because of the way their responses are scripted. The horror of an Ultron attack actually feels horrifying because of the way the characters react, and there's one stand out hospital scene involving 2 characters I loathe that still managed to leave me with a lump in my throat. I should also note that when the villain is finally revealed, Bendis dialogue ensures that you not only understand their actions, but empathize with their feelings at the same time.
It's hard to explain to someone who's never read a Bendis comic, but people say this about Tarantino films all the time, so I'll explain it in the same way. Bendis writes dialogue that people would actually say, and it makes his work great. Also; when the other super heroes show up to help, Bendis proves why he's still the best man for writing Spiderman with some absolutely hysterical one liners!
On the art front I'd say that David Finch's art blows the competition out of the water. He puts so much effort into the colouring of every shot that the story really comes alive. His action scenes in particular look stunning, and I challenge anyone to witness his slow morphing of She Hulk in the panels leading up to her scene not to be impressed by his ability to let the images tell the story as the action flows by.
All in all I would definitely recommend Avengers Disassembled to anyone who's interested in either the team, or the darker Marvel Universe that this story kicked off. Just bear in mind that having it all crammed into a 4 issue arc does mean that a lot of impact fails to connect, and the reader will find themselves getting a little breathless.
Summary: Read if interested in either the team, or the darker Marvel Universe that this story kicked off