While new Marvel comics arrived last week (including King In Black #2, which is a solid entry in the ongoing crossover) and a few more will arrive tomorrow, one of the things I love most about the holidays is the digital sales that happen over at ComiXology. Nearly every publisher puts on a sale that lasts a couple of weeks, which means I always have trouble deciding what I’m going to pick up.
Right now, Marvel has a bunch of sales happening, including the deepest discount I’ve ever seen on all of their Masterworks titles. I’ve been debating big time about dropping dollars on all the Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four collections available, just so I could have so much Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Stan Lee goodness available at the touch of a button. For the sake of my pocket book, I might have to choose one or the other, and I’m honestly leaning closer to ASM. I’ll let you know what I decide.
One sale I did pull the trigger on is the Greatest Runs sale, and the books I picked up were volumes 1 through 7 of Brian Michael Bendis’ The New Avengers: The Complete Collection. The seven volumes are about 2800 pages give or take and feature some of the most important and entertaining Marvel stories of the last two decades.
Brian Michael Bendis came onboard Avengers while also writing Daredevil, which to this day I argue is the most consistently good run of comics I’ve ever read. He was also the writer of Ultimate Spider-Man, where he was also delivering another amazing run of stories. Bendis had the innate ability to put these street-level heroes through the wringer time and time again, making them sympathetic and relatable. When he got his hands on the Avengers, he did the same thing, starting with the Avengers Disassembled storyline, that introduced a Scarlett Witch whose powers were out of control. Sounds familiar, right? I think we’re going to see something just like this play out in Disney+’s WandaVision shortly.
With The New Avengers, Bendis’ concept was clear – take the biggest names in Marvel and band them together on the new team. That meant characters like Spider-Man and Wolverine joining up with Iron Man and Captain America formally. Bendis also took the time to help make B-characters like Jessica Drew’s Spider-Woman into a top tier star; Luke Cage became an even bigger icon under his own name rather than his previous moniker of Power Man.
I loved Bendis’ work on The New Avengers when it came out back in the day; I have hardcovers on my shelf, and I often go back to the series first storyline, “Breakout” as the perfect example of how to put a team together. I’ve nearly completed Volume 2 of my reread and I’m happy to say that all the stories hold up remarkably well. I’m genuinely looking forward to getting to all the Secret Invasion stuff, as well. I remember being so impressed with all the building blocks Bendis had put in place at the time. Though I also remember being let down that the majority of the characters he’d killed off wound up coming back.
The New Avengers was and is prime Brian Michael Bendis, and with the series so reasonably priced and on sale now at ComiXology, it’s the perfect time to read a run that helped define comics for the new millennium.