Back when I was in junior high, I read this Forgotten Realms book called Shadowdale, written by “Richard Awlinson,” which it turned out was a pen name for an actual, honest-to-god committee. It turns out that the fine folks at TSR had decided that it was time to shake things up in their shared universe, so they all sat down and came up with a big shake-up thing, plotted it out, and then farmed it off to some schlub to write.

You know how people frequently say, “it reads like it was written by a committee” as a disparaging thing? Yeah, well, there’s a reason for that. Shadowdale was, and is, the single worst book I’ve ever read. It was bad in a lot of ways, but the single most maddening thing about it was the way that characters would do things for no obvious or sensible reason other than that the committee had decreed that they should.

With that little bit of background material starting off this entry, you might guess that my opinion of Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers: Disassembled isn’t very high. And right you would be. This is a totally arbitrary piece of work, and it reads like an obligatory exercise that Bendis just wanted to get done with as fast as possible. My hunch — loosely supported by the interview in the back of the book — is that Bendis really wanted to write a radically different Avengers title, but they first made him do a whole big “End of the Avengers!” event book.

So in addition to all the ways in which corporate-orchestrated Event books suck, there’s one more way that this one is lousy: The thing about superheroes is that they always face insuperable odds, and always triumph. So when you want to really bring them down for good (or as close to “for good” as the monthly comics game allows), you’re pretty much fucked. No threat is going to be plausibly awesome enough to defeat them. Planet-eating Galactus? Yawn. An entire alien race invading? Whatever. Super-ultra robots with amazing magical technology? Ho-hum. Gods? Pfft. So Bendis was basically fucked no matter what he did in picking a super-villain here; but even so, the one he did choose was exceedingly lame.

Bendis has written lots of great superhero books, but this isn’t one of them. Don’t read Avengers: Disassembled unless you’re really, really bored.


{{}} said {{timeAgo(comment.datetime)}}