Tuesday, January 21, 2014

An Extraordinarily Bad Day

Part One of "Chaos," which fired the opening salvos of the "Avengers Disassembled" story, had our assemblers reeling from multiple attacks on their home ground--and from their own members, including the Vision, Jack of Hearts, and now the She-Hulk, who has back-handed the Wasp into a coma and (from the looks of things) crushed Captain America beneath a truck.

She-Hulk now turns her rage against the only two team members left standing to oppose her--Hawkeye and Captain Britain, who are joined by another Avenger arriving on the scene of carnage.

Iron Man, as we saw last time, has come under an attack of his own while at the United Nations--being forced by an unknown power to endure a drunken state even without having downed one drop of liquor, and finding himself subsequently threatening one of the delegates. As a result, he's being held accountable at a dressing-down by the White House:

Iron Man then responds to the Code White situation at Avengers Mansion. And, in a nice touch by writer Brian Bendis which gives an unquestionable nod to Iron Man's seasoned experience as an original Avenger as well as one of Marvel's charter heroes, he floors She-Hulk without a word upon arrival, using a thundering right that ends the fight then and there.

Afterward, Iron Man digs out Cap, finding that his shield has saved his life. Captain Britain, however, has been critically wounded, as has the Wasp, who has been located by the Falcon still in her wasp-sized state. But before Falc can air-lift her to the hospital, the giant-sized--no, the colossally-sized Yellowjacket appears and grabs them both in order to hasten their trip.

What is this--the Ultimates? I suppose we can assume one of two things: either Bendis intends not only to disregard Hank Pym's well-known difficulties with attaining giant-size stature but also to set a new, near-limitless standard for how big this guy can grow, or artist Peter Finch was told to instead draw a mini-Celestial. Either way, how convenient for the plot that this now-massive Avenger arrives too late to, say, swat away a destructive Quinjet before impact or scoop up a bunch of attacking Ultrons, eh? More on that thought in a minute.

At any rate, casualties are assessed, and notes are finally being compared. But we'll find Part Two of this story to be more of an interim issue than anything which advances the story for either us or the remaining Avengers.

We know that SHIELD is conducting its own investigation into this crisis, so that leaves the Avengers who have survived serious injury to attempt to piece together the situation without the benefit of their database or other equipment. The scene which we end up with is something of a disappointment, with two full pages of dialog which essentially goes nowhere with mostly unrelated, nonproductive talk about this kind of battle being long overdue for people like the Avengers. Things don't really turn productive until the Falcon suggests that Ultron may be directly involved. It's a dead end--but it's interesting, and gratifying, to see both the Falcon and Hawkeye take the lead in this strategy meeting.

Somebody tell me what's been accomplished here, with all this rambling talk. Nothing, that's what.

Iron Man, of course, has information of his own to add regarding his experience at the U.N., but the meeting turns sour when he sees that his history with alcoholism has colored his teammates' judgment against him, due in part to Yellowjacket giving his eyewitness account of the incident.

Cap and the Falcon decide to believe Stark, with Hawkeye still doubtful and Yellowjacket a definite nonbeliever. In terms of the plot, it could all be a case of misdirection on Bendis' part, pointing the finger of suspicion at Yellowjacket since Pym is the obvious one to go off the deep end and stage this insane assault on the Avengers. Pym was absent during the attacks; Pym, a biochemist who had access to Stark, was present with him at the U.N.; and Pym chooses to remain behind at the hospital when another emergency call from the mansion comes in. Regardless, the damage is done, with Iron Man flying off in bitter disappointment and, as a result, a potentially vital clue to this situation being put aside.

As for that call from the mansion, it looks like Code White has been responded to in force.

The action picks up again in Part Three, with the cover caption boldly proclaiming that "One Of These Avengers Will DIE!" What, again?? This new Marvel Comics Group doesn't fool around when it's hitting the reset button, does it? Which is kind of the beef that letter writer Mike Robinson had with this storyline after putting down Part One:

As we see this story continue, we'll find out if associate editor Andy Schmidt's promise of "great stuff" is an opinion shared by others. Something tells me that we haven't heard the last from readers on the events of "Avengers Disassembled."


Here's artist Peter Finch's original double-page rendering of that last group shot.

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