Jumping into Comics

Monday, December 05, 2005

Roundtable Discussion #1, Part 1

Today we introduce our first regular feature of the blog, the Roundtable Discussion. Basically Goblin, Hook and myself will chat about something big (and sometimes, not so big) occuring in comics. As you'll see below, we'll be doing all these chats on AOL Instant Messenger. I've left it mostly unedited, as this is a rather informal chat and the typos aren't so bad.

Today's topic: Marvel Comics' "New Avengers" title, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by David Finch (issues #1-6, #11-13) and Steve McNiven (issues #7-10). We're 13 issues into the much-hyped run. Is it a success? A failure? And are these guys the real Avengers?

Gokitalo: Anyway, Hook and I were thinking we'd talk about New Avengers
TheMadHooker: You down with that, Homes?
Goblin4153: Hook doesn't even read NA.
TheMadHooker: I am very white
TheMadHooker: Sadly, it is a sucess from a finacial point
TheMadHooker: Pure money? Yeah, it wins hands down.
Gokitalo: Absolutely. Not to mention all of these characters have been in movies or movies of them are in the process of being made
Gokitalo: Hollywood's Mightiest Heroes
TheMadHooker: It's the JLAvengers, bitch
Gokitalo: Save Iron Man, I think
Gokitalo: We'll get to the "JLAvengers bit soon
TheMadHooker: Yeah, we say bitch now. And occasionally biatch
Gokitalo: HAH
Gokitalo: For those reading, Hook's referring to a funny comic strip that parodies the Avengers, titled "Avengers Toys: Disassembled." We'll post the link at the end of the chat
Gokitalo: So Goblin, you haven't had the chance to chime in yet. What are your thoughts?
Goblin4153: That's right, you can't get rid of me.
Goblin4153: *ahem* Anyway ...
Goblin4153: The book is of superb quality, I will admit. I avidly read each subsequent issue, but I have to say that these people are not the Avengers.
TheMadHooker: Before I yell "thank you" and go on a rant, why?
Goblin4153: I'm a fan of Wolverine, but he's not an Avengers. I'm not a fan of Luke Cage and he isn't an Avenger either.
TheMadHooker: I will take Luke Cage over Wolvie
TheMadHooker: Yeah, he was a Hero for Hire, but last I saw, Avengers got a 1000 dollar stipend
Goblin4153: The Avengers are supposed to be the heavy-hitters of the Marvel Universe and these are all street-level heroes.
Goblin4153: Captain America, Iron man and the Sentry can all stay - even Spider-Man can hang out), but the others are just not Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
TheMadHooker: That arguement would say that Hawkeye is not Avenger level
Gokitalo: This is true
Goblin4153: He would fall into the Spider-Man category. I'm not saying that every member has to be on Thor's level, but every member should not be of Hawkeye's level either.
Gokitalo: Right, that's fair
Gokitalo: I think what made the previous members of the Avengers "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" was that the whole was bigger than the sum of their parts
Goblin4153: I concur. And a team consisting of Cage, Spider-Woman, Wolverine and Ronin aren't exactly a powerful combination.
Gokitalo: Although they did do a nice job against ninjas
Gokitalo: Stinkin' ninjas
TheMadHooker: I'd give Spider-Woman a place on the team
Gokitalo: Yes
TheMadHooker: Ninjas should never worry the Avengers.
TheMadHooker: How many issues of ninja fighting was there?
Gokitalo: They handled the ninjas pretty well, actually
TheMadHooker: They should be able to.
TheMadHooker: They are the AVENGERS
TheMadHooker: These are people who are supposed to be ready to deal with any threat. Ninjas should not be hard
Gokitalo: They weren't
Goblin4153: Avengers should be battling Immortus, Korvac and Thanos - not the Hand.
TheMadHooker: That's my point
Gokitalo: Well, they are "Earth's Mightiest Heroes"
TheMadHooker: If they fight the Hand, it shouldn't be more than an issue
TheMadHooker: Nothing against the Hand, but the Avengers are way beyond their league
Goblin4153: The way I see it is if Daredevil - by himself - has defeated these guys time and time again, what threat do they pose to people of supposed Avengers' caliber?
TheMadHooker: So how long was that arc?
Gokitalo: Three issues
Goblin4153: And only on the last page of #3 did we find out who Ronin is.
TheMadHooker: What was the major purpose of the arc?
Goblin4153: The aforementioned Ronin discovery.
TheMadHooker: And then there was some people who still didn't know
Gokitalo: Introduce Ronin and a big Spider-Woman plotline
TheMadHooker: Was there a reason this needed to be three issues?
Gokitalo: In defense of having the Hand as a villain, the Avengers haven't tackled organized crime very often. If the Hand manages to extend its power considerably as New Avengers continues, it could very well be a threat worthy of Earth's Mi
Gokitalo: ghtiest Heroes
Gokitalo: Hook, this is Bendis
Gokitalo: A three-issue story is rare from him
TheMadHooker: And unneeded
Gokitalo: It might've been able to be squeezed into two issues, but honestly, it didn't seem that drawn out
Goblin4153: Sadly, Goki si correct. It was surprisingly concise for Bendis.
TheMadHooker: What is teh biggest reveal for this series?
TheMadHooker: Ronin's secret ID?
TheMadHooker: AND
TheMadHooker: Goki do you know who it was?
Gokitalo: How Spider-Woman got her powers back
Gokitalo: Shhhh
TheMadHooker: *Does want to give away the answer*
Gokitalo: Not yet, I haven't gotten Issue 13
TheMadHooker: *doesn't
Gokitalo: Thanks
Goblin4153: If someone hadn't explained who it was to me, I wouldn't know even after reading it.
Gokitalo: So it was someone very obscure?
TheMadHooker: Yes
TheMadHooker: YOu may know
TheMadHooker: I know. But it was underwhelming
TheMadHooker: Imagine this
TheMadHooker: Scooby Doo episode
Goblin4153: Not entirely obscure, but only ever appeared in one book. If you didn't read that book, you'd be totally lost.
TheMadHooker: the entire episode is atease that the villian is Fred
TheMadHooker: When the mask comes off, some random person says "Oh that's my uncle Bob!"
Gokitalo: Maybe if Bob had appeared before in that episode...
Gokitalo: But I see your point
TheMadHooker: Okay
TheMadHooker: Let's say he appeared in.... Speed Buggy
Gokitalo: Now that works
TheMadHooker: Minor role in that show
TheMadHooker: But he's unmasked in Scooby Doo
Gokitalo: *tsk*
TheMadHooker: If you only watch Scooby Doo, or don't watch Speed Buggy on a regular basis, Uncle Bob means nothing to you
Goblin4153: And on that surreal note, another question: Does the Sentry belong on the team?
Gokitalo: Ooh, good question
TheMadHooker: no
TheMadHooker: Next question
Goblin4153: Care to expound a bit there, Mr. Orator?
TheMadHooker: sure
TheMadHooker: No, he does not
TheMadHooker: Better?
Gokitalo: I think I'll agree with Hook on this one. Sentry hasn't had much time in the spotlight yet, but one of the first things we saw him do in the title was use lethal force against Carnage
TheMadHooker: Technically
Gokitalo: He did it to save someone's life, sure
TheMadHooker: He wasn't an Avenger
TheMadHooker: Avengers don't kill
Gokitalo: But that wasn't the only way he could have handled it
TheMadHooker: But Black Widow used a similar threat waaaaay back in like the early 20s
TheMadHooker: True
TheMadHooker: I will say no for a different reason
TheMadHooker: He can be too strong
Goblin4153: Black Widow has killed. Hawkeye has killed. Mockingbird has killed. USAgent has killed.
Gokitalo: Well, that's why they're "Earth's Mightiest Heroes," Hook
TheMadHooker: But that can eliminate the excitment factor
Gokitalo: Yes
TheMadHooker: Unless you pull a Doctor Manhatten all the time with him
Goblin4153: That's exaclty why he's kind of out of his mind.
Gokitalo: As for what Goblin said: how many of the Avengers you mentioned (save USAgent) killed because they were out of options or because they were in villainous roles at the time?
TheMadHooker: Mockingbird had an option
TheMadHooker: Hawkeye's was a complete accident
Goblin4153: it's also why his character was built with a serious split-personality. He's always caught between Robert and the Sentry.
TheMadHooker: Don't forget, Warbird killed
Gokitalo: Right
TheMadHooker: I think the best thing would be to find another person for that role.
Gokitalo: As long as Sentry doesn't make a habit out of it
TheMadHooker: It just makes it too hard to write a threat that could be considered tough enough with Sentry on the team
Goblin4153: Okay, so you're saying, Hook, that he's too powerful to make good storytelling?
TheMadHooker: I have a similar problem with Genis on New Thunderbolts
TheMadHooker: No, I'm saying he's too powerful for a team book to keep it going for too long
TheMadHooker: Even Thor was vastly depowered over a while
TheMadHooker: Look at someone like Taskmaster.
TheMadHooker: He used to be able to give the Avengers fits. Sentry? Probably not
Goblin4153: But isn't that why both Sentry and Genis are created with such pathos as to limit access to their god-like abilities? Doesn' this make up for the possible lack of threats in a storytelling capacity?
TheMadHooker: I just think that there should be a realistic cap on the powers. Not have to resort to he's Firestorm, but more confused
Gokitalo: Maybe the solution would be to use the Sentry sparingly?
Goblin4153: But all of these characters are immensely powerful. Iron man has fought the Hulk to a standstill, Cap has killed a vampire with his bare hands.
Gokitalo: And Wolverine is a tough man to keep down
Gokitalo: Plus he has unbreakable claws
TheMadHooker: Ask me if Wolverine deserves to be an Avenger
TheMadHooker: Cap was in a bad fight. He barely won
TheMadHooker: Iron Man had to work hard
TheMadHooker: Sentry..... was just a one note character. I would've liked to see him become a footnote
Gokitalo: But what if the Avengers had to face something on the level of say, Korvac? Wouldn't the Sentry be useful then?
Goblin4153: Sentry is also almost powerless against his alter-ego, the Void. And, as was depicted in New Avengers itself, the Void is able to manifest on the physical plane.
Gokitalo: That's also true
TheMadHooker: The Sentry is just a mess of a character
Goblin4153: Which is interesting.
Gokitalo: I agree with Goblin
TheMadHooker: I disagree
TheMadHooker: He's not a good mess
TheMadHooker: I will post the next question
Gokitalo: Sure
Goblin4153: You've even admitted, Hook, that you agree with me that Captain America is a boring character because there's nothing really to him other than "American boy scout."
TheMadHooker: He's boring in his own title, yes. But in the Avengers, there is something there
TheMadHooker: anyway
Gokitalo: Hook, you're not reading his title
Gokitalo: :-P
TheMadHooker: Let's compare this run to the first 13 issues of Buisek's
TheMadHooker: Who wins?
Goblin4153: I honestly don't believe you can compare the two.
Gokitalo: As someone who hasn't read this issues (sadly), I couldn't say
Gokitalo: these*
Gokitalo: (I'm referring to the first 13 Busiek Avengers, by the way)
Goblin4153: I see Avengers and New Avengers as two wholly seperate entities linked by a (somewhat) common tile.
TheMadHooker: BUt you can
TheMadHooker: They are both the Avengers
TheMadHooker: ONe is just the good Avengers
TheMadHooker: WIth interesting stories
Gokitalo: I don't think that's fair, Hook
TheMadHooker: And the other one is written by Bendis
Gokitalo: Let's say if you had to judge the two in terms of quality
TheMadHooker: Wait, since when do I have to be fair?
TheMadHooker: Quality?
Gokitalo: Or better yet, which one did you enjoy more?
TheMadHooker: Hands down, Buisek's
TheMadHooker: The twists and turns were there
Goblin4153: Yes, but again, Hook DOESN'T READ NEW AVENGERS>
Gokitalo: He keeps up
Gokitalo: But you're right
TheMadHooker: What is the biggest revelation?
Goblin4153: That's totally different.
TheMadHooker: and did it wow you?
Gokitalo: I know
Goblin4153: There's no way he can judge the book in terms of quality just be knowing the basic plot outlines.
Gokitalo: Right, I didn't mean to say he did
Gokitalo: I was merely pointing out that Hook has at least some idea of what's been going on
TheMadHooker: I'm comparing the bare stories. What was the biggest thing to happen in New Avengers?
TheMadHooker: And did it wow you?
Goblin4153: Why does it need a big event for it to be good?
TheMadHooker: Not at all
Goblin4153: If that's your game, tho, then the event of the book would be the breakout at the Raft.
TheMadHooker: I'm talking about emotional pow
TheMadHooker: I'm talking Wonder Man being brought back from the dead in Morgan's world
TheMadHooker: I'm talking the Avengers fighting against an entire world that is out to get them
TheMadHooker: I'm talking about them being completly overwhelmed, and pulling out the win
TheMadHooker: I'm talking about Hawkeye fighting it out with Cap
TheMadHooker: I'm talking Cap offering to step down for Clint
Goblin4153: Watching Emma Fros bring the Sentry's wife into his head and try to force him to realize who he is as the Void is trashing the combined mights of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Dr. Strange.
TheMadHooker: Anymore?
Gokitalo: One moment I particularly liked was Wolverine telling Iron Man that he didn't think he'd make a good fit for the team
Goblin4153: Or Iron Man telling Captain America that the world the Avengers were formed to protect is dead now.
Goblin4153: That they need someone like Wolverine on the team because the odl guard wouldn't cross lines that the new ones have already moved beyond.
TheMadHooker: that
TheMadHooker: To me
TheMadHooker: Is a HORRIBLE sign
Goblin4153: Sign of?
TheMadHooker: That is one of the things that pissed me off the most
Gokitalo: The fact that this new team is okay with having members who could cross the line the Avengers rarely did?
TheMadHooker: I personally don't like heroes who kill
TheMadHooker: Who will kill
Goblin4153: Not necessarily killing, but in general. They're willing to go covert or do things somewhat underhanded to take out the bad guys.
TheMadHooker: If you bring it out sometimes
Gokitalo: That too
Gokitalo: Guys, I'm going to have to head up to dinner for now. But feel free to keep chatting, I'll post all of it up
TheMadHooker: I say we call it a day for now
TheMadHooker: We'll pick it up later
TheMadHooker: ?
Gokitalo: Works for me. Goblin?
Goblin4153: Sounds good to me.
Gokitalo: Alrighty. I think this chat's been good. Unstructured, but good
Gokitalo: But I must jet. Later guys
Goblin4153: Unstructed is just the way I fly, marie.
Goblin4153: Later ...
TheMadHooker: see ya
That concludes Part 1 of our chat on "New Avengers." Keep your eyes peeled for Part 2, which will be up in the next couple of days.

"Avengers Toys: Disassembled": http://mysite.verizon.net/fanboyprime/avengers/


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