Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Comic Review: Avengers- The Children’s Crusade

    The first thing one notices about a comic book or graphic novel is the art, which is also an important element in enjoying the story.  Unfortunately, the art for this book isn’t good.  It is in a semi-manga style, where everyone looks the same, with the only cues being costume and skin color.  And then there’s the writing.  Comics being what they are, dialog is of key import, and the dialog here is stilted and unnatural.  It’s not as bad as the Chris Claremont stuff I gripe about whenever I drag X-Men into a discussion, but it’s not very good, either.

    I know that inter-party conflict, and heroes fighting (or just being awful to) heroes is a long standing tradition in the Marvel universe, but the regular Avengers (as opposed to the Young Avengers) are so unrelentingly awful that they seem far more villainous than the traditional villains.  How are these guys supposed to be heroes at all?  And then the X-Men show up, and they’re even bigger dicks.

    Everyone keeps talking about who the most powerful person/mutant is.  It sounds like kids arguing about whose dad can beat up the other’s.  And with the introduction of each new hero and each new villain, it’s like an arms race of one-upmanship.  “Oh, yeah?  Here’s Magnito!  Oh, yeah?  Here’s Dr. Doom!  Oh, yeah?…”  And when they’re not blaming each other for every misfortune and imagined slight in the history of the Marvel universe, they’re blaming themselves.  It’s this cycle of flip-flopping emotions that reminds me of the worst part of dating, where the only thing you can be sure of is that anything you do or say, or don’t do or say will be wrong.

    This whole book is like a shopping list of things I hate about comics from the Big Two.  It’s like tuning in to a soap opera, where the same handful of plotlines are running at any given time, with characters rotated in or out.  X mutant is a good guy now; Y mutant is a bad guy; A mutant comes back from the dead; B mutant gets killed.  And nobody learns anything about anything, making the same mistakes and choices over and over again, sending the story back around for another turn of the same old same old.  I feel like I could pick up an issue of The Avengers or X-Men from 1969, 1989, 2009 or today and essentially, nothing will be different.

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade
Author: Allan Heinberg
Artist: Jim Cheung, etc.
Publisher: Marvel
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3638-5


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