Uncanny Avengers Annual (2014) Review


STORY BY Rick Remender

ART BY Paul Renaud

Rick Remender takes a break from his reality splitting, time hopping madness of his Apocalypse Twins story arc. Instead, Remender gives us a satire about the entertainment industry while using Mojo as his surrogate. The story begins with Mojo trying to pitch his new high concept story arc to a room full of statistic vomiting board members until they finally green light a story about the Uncanny Avengers being attacked by their supernatural counterparts. Sound familiar because it should. This is a nod to the DC crossover event, Forever Evil, which was kicked off by Justice League and Justice League Dark fighting each other before they united to confront a larger antagonist, the Crime Syndicate. This metafictional nod sets the tone for the whole rest of the issue while Remender consistently makes fun of the poor choices the artists, editors, writers, and critics have been guilty of making in the Comic Book if not Entertainment Industry as a whole.

It’s interesting when the board members tell Mojo the story needs more highschool type drama in order for its target demographic to better relate to the characters. This is a self-referential sucker punch to Young Avengers, Jean Grey’s School, Hellfire Club, Avengers Academy. It has become increasingly frustrating watching the story arc play second fiddle to the love quadrangles. Brian Michael Bendis has admitted that the relationship between Emma Frost and Scott Summers made little sense. Storm is now with Wolverine instead of Black Panther. Does it matter? Nope, but the writers will still use this gossip to world build like it was one of Grandma’s daytime soap operas. Seriously, Logan is old, hairy, short, broke, angry, alcoholic, who had killed his “one true love” who he was having an affair with. Yet, Wolverine has slept with more people that would make even Emma Frost blush. If Wolverine didn’t have the healing factor, 80% of Marvel’s female population would have STD’s because of him.

However, the big jab is towards audiences in general. Remender comments how today critics are too afraid to say they don’t understand a plot. Instead, they will take the opposite approach and compliment the story no matter how indecipherable the story may be. No one wants to appear stupid so everyone goes along with the flow. In addition, if the story is too straight forward, people will whine about how boring it is. Basically, Rick Remender has boiled critics down to an adolescent child who suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder.

Quite honestly, how can we argue? Plot twists, action, and relationships being shoveled in just to keep peoples attention doesn’t equal good writing. Soon, it turns into a tangled mess and like Rogue in this story warns, “don’t pull too hard at the loose plot strings”; otherwise, it will cause the whole story to unravel. Perhaps the audience should dare to question the integrity of these stories. Hang on Mark Waid. How’s Daredevil able to jump around a city without killing the little girl with a bomb inside her gut or Hulk jumping around the city with his brain hanging out? Let’s not even get into the babbling nonsense of Faction’s Inhumanity or Spenser and Kot’s Secret Avengers.

In addition, it’s always a pleasure when writers stab at marketing research which force writers to curve their writing towards what is hot and trending in order to connect with their target demographic. For example, using a Marvel version of twitter in place of dialogue boxes even though it slows the pacing to a grueling stop is just as tacky as when the 80’s Teen Titans would reference Michael Jackson or product slogans. Yep, here’s looking at you Brian Bendis and Kieron Gillen.

Rick Remender has given us a fun commentary about the state of the Comic Book Industry. Although it came out of nowhere, it is nice that an A list writer validates the back slide of comic book standards. Although a critic can now be anyone with an internet connection, a 7th grade level of education, and a working knowledge of pop culture, doesn’t mean the industry should lower their own standards. Somebody should take accountability for the quality and content.



PPF 3/26

This week, we discuss, Avengers AI, Infinity: Heist, Daredevil, Thor chapter 1, Iron Patriot, Conan the Barbarian, Thief, Final Fantasy X HD, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Divergent, Nymphomaniac, Haunted House 2, X-Men, and more

Daredevil: Hardcore (2006)

05-dd-hardcoreIn this story, the Kingpin starts making his comeback. While he is pitilessly murdering all those who crossed Mr Fisk, he has Typhoid Mary and Bulls-eye go after Daredevil. Bendis and Maleev do an amazing job of capturing the dangerous insanity of Typhoid Mary, rather it be with her hissing and singing or her cruel dismembering and love of fire.
Then there’s Bendis’ Bulls-eye. Most arch nemesis in comic books will use the damsel as a way to lure the hero into a trap. Instead, Bulls-eye simply takes pleasure in hunting down, torturing, and killing Daredevil’s lovers before he goes after Daredevil.
Yet, what’s brilliant about Bendis’ writing is that Kingpin is still the most feared character of this story arc even though Bendis’ largely does this through exposition and monologues. We actually don’t see him commit violence until the final act of the story. With Kingpin it become impossible to guess who will be the next victim.
However, Kingpin didn’t count on his plan pushing Daredevil over the edge, Not only is the brutal origin of Bulls-eye’s scars revealed, but also we see how Matt Murdock is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. This story is violent, dark, and extremely psychotic, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing team up between the artist and the writer, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.

Daredevil: End of Days (2013)

Daredevil-End-of-Days-008-cover-674x1024Daredevil: End of Days comes across as Brian Michael Bendis’ swan song for his Daredevil years. Within the first few pages, we see a reenactment of the fight between Bulls-eye and Daredevil from the Hardcore story arc; however, this time it ends with the death of Matt Murdock. In fact, if you haven’t read Hardcore, it would be best to do so before reading this; otherwise, Bulls-eye’s fate may remain as an unresolved mystery.
The highlight of Bendis’ run on Daredevil was his ability to get inside the warped minds of the villains. Instead of seeing meaningless violence and crimes, Bendis made sure the readers understood the psychotic motivations of the characters. In this arc, the villains have overcome their violent tendencies and are trying to live normal lives. Typhoid Mary and Elektra have become soccer moms who may or may not be raising Matt Murdock’s bastard children. Owl and Purple man had taken their abilities to running corporations. Kingpin tried to peacefully come back from exile only to be beaten to death by Daredevil. Then there are endearing sociopath like Frank Castle who agreed to be locked up in prison because it would be easier for him to slaughter the guilty.
There are some parts that also suggest that journalist Ben Ulrich or Matt Murdock might actually be Brian Michael Bendis himself. We see Ben Ulrich hammering out rough drafts and scribbling down notes of Daredevil’s final story which almost break through the fourth wall. Then there is Frank Castle explaining that Matt Murdock’s ego is too large to let the Daredevil die with Murdock. The Daredevil will be resurrected again and his personality and history will change with each new person who puts on the mask, such as Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Brian Michael Bendis, and now Mark Waid.