It’s my 30th video in 30 straight days! Another obscenely productive November here at Crushing Krisis.
In this episode I tackle the beginning of Brian Bendis’s New Avengers run, but not before I share my love for the art of drag and why Emma Frost used to look more like a man.
Want to start from the beginning of this season of videos? Here’s the complete Season 1 playlist of Crushing Comics.
Episode 30 features Avengers Disassembled (Amazon), New Avengers, Vol. 1 (Amazon), New Avengers, Vol. 2 (Amazon), which are all included in New Avengers by Brian Bendis Omnibus (Amazon), and Avengers Disassembled: Iron Man, Thor & Captain America (Amazon) – all of which are covered in the Guide to New Avengers.
Not a fan of watching videos – or just not able to watch right now? First, did you know you can speed up YouTube videos? Just click the little gear icon to change the speed settings. I know that makes me much more apt to watch.
Alternately, you can keep reading for the full transcript. Please keep in mind that this season of videos is shot off the cuff with no chance to review the books ahead of time, so I might occasionally fudge some facts (usually addressed in the video by subtitles).
Hello and welcome back to Crushing Comics! I’m your host Peter and we are here to fall in love with my comic book collection all over again.
You will notice this shelf behind me is starting to fill up very nicely. We’re now done 6 blocks out of 20 as we continue to unpack my oversized collection. Let’s just forge on to the next block. Here we go!
It’s not like me to have a shirt of a sexualized woman on, so I feel like this requires some explanation. this is actually one of my favorite drag queens, Ben de la creme. fantastic!
I love drag as an art. It’s interesting that I didn’t just come to it in the modern day with things like RuPaul’s Drag Race, but I came to it… actually, partially from RuPaul, who I remember from the early 90s as she [began to] really hit mainstream. But I have always loved drag. Maybe because I grew up in Philadelphia and there were Mummers, which so often were in drag.
Gosh, the mummer’s. That could be it’s own episode.
It’s kind of like a holiday parade for the New Year’s, but it involves a lot of people dressed up as clowns and wenches. Historically it was almost all male, so there’s a lot of cross dressing in that.
I don’t know how to explain it [indicating drag, not the Mummers]. Maybe it’s just [because I’m] a big Wonder Woman fan and I thought it was cool if anybody dressed up as a powerful woman, whether it was a man or a woman, but I remain a big drag fan. If you read my blog, Crushing Krisis, one of the regular features over the past couple years has been covering RuPaul’s Drag Race, [on] which Ben de la Creme was a contestant, and also some other drag stuff.
So that’s totally unrelated to comic books, but I just happen to have this shirt on and I couldn’t help but talk about it. I doubt we’re gonna pull a comic book out of the stack that has a thematic connection to drag. Boy would that be interesting.
Oh yeah, no connections to drag whatsoever.
Although I will say this, totally unrelated to these comics. I read at some point about how Emma Frost is usually illustrated. The White Queen. Now she’s drawn as very very pretty and [as] this kind of like blonde bombshell, but if you think to older Emma Frost she was drawn as very severe. I read at some point an artist saying the way that you get that classic Emma Frost look is you actually draw her with very masculine features. Like, she’s a beautiful body and this blonde hair, but her face is actually like a very kind of chiseled masculine face. That’s what made her look the way that
I thought that was really [interesting].
Totally unrelated to drag and Emma Frost, this is the first block of Bendis Avengers, with one sort of semi-related book mixed in. This is Avengers Disassembled, and then the disassembling of other Avengers in the franchise, and then the first two New Avengers volumes.
Avengers Disassembled – we’ve spoken about this a little bit before, but I never tire of digging into it. Just this idea that Bendis basically just got to do whatever he wanted with Avengers. You know, we think [he is this] huge star right now. I mean, recently the news broke that he’s leaving Marvel for DC and what a big deal that is.
At the time he was kind of a big deal. He’d been writing the Ultimate Spider-Man. He wrote Alias. He wrote Daredevil.
But [he] hadn’t been put in charge of the big toys in the way that he has been now.
So this was really weird to just like give him Avengers and say, “do whatever you want.” And he does it in spectacular fashion. I mean, this just will catch your breath in your throat if you’re an Avengers fan, because he just so quickly
just so many terrible things … to Vision, to She-Hulk, to Hawkeye.
Here’s the thing: a lot of terrible things have happened to a lot of Marvel characters. And it’s like … just because a few people died and there’s an attack or whatever does that mean the Avengers are over?
It doesn’t have to, but this really causes the Avengers to question what it means to be Avengers and if they really are doing the right thing. And if they really have what it takes to survive in the universe. (Which is a question that’s answered in New Avengers, but that’s what this is.)
This has now been reprinted both in the Complete Collections for Brian Bendis and also in the Brian Bendis Omnibus. it’s very much a part of New Avengers, rather than a part of the Avengers run that comes before.
I also have in here this book called Avengers Disassembled. This is like a strange marketing ploy of taking the end
of the series of the three – the trio of Avengers: Thor Iron Man and Captain America – and putting them into one volume
to co-market to that volume coming out.
They… some of them have a sense of finality to them. I mean, they were carrying the Avengers Disassembled
banner at that time, but only Thor really gets REALLY disassembled. Because Thor go through his Ragnarok, which we’ve spoken about [on an] earlier episode as we were unwrapping the Thor by JMS omnibus. Because Thor goes away for several years after this.
Iron Man and Captain America … I mean, likem some stuff happens to them, but they get relaunched directly into
other series and life goes on.
This doesn’t really connect to any oversized books beforehand. I think eventually Marvel is gonna work their way through the Cap, Thor, and Iron Man series – all of which are the series that start in 1998 (except for the Captain America
series, that had been restarted already). Eventually we’re gonna get those in over size, and it’s not gonna feel the need to marry up to this book.
So should you pick this up? I think you should pick this up if you want to see what was happening with other Avengerss at the time and you don’t necessarily have an interest in having the whole run of each of those Avengers on their own. That’s why I have it on my shelf and that’s why it’s the companion book to Disassembled.
Interesting: at some point we’re going to unwrap Secret War – not Secret Wars, but Secret War, and that is a Marvel event book but it also goes between Disassembled and New Avengers, because it happens in the Avengers-less gap. It’s Bendis playing with, “What would happen in a world where there are not Avengers to deal with things,” and Nick Fury is kind of exclusively dealing with that stuff.
Then we start New Avengers.
New Avengers… look, I will talk some trash on Bendis and I will talk some trash on his Avengerss run, but this first New Avengers story is just a lot of fun. It’s really, really hard to not enjoy it, no matter how much of a comics curmudgeon you are.
This idea of, like: what if some big bad stuff happened and there were no Avengers? And the X-Men are off doing whatever the X-Men do. Who would get assembled? Right? Does Captain America still feel beholden to do that? Yes. Does Iron Man still feel like he’s got to show up? Yes.
But who else shows up in a world where Hawkeye is gone, Scarlet Witch is gone, Vision is gone … you know, we’ve lost so
much of the core of what we think of as Avengers.
Cap puts together a team, partly with intent, but partly out of convenience,; and it’s really interesting who winds up being on that team. Spider-Woman. Luke Cage. Wolverine. Spider-Man. That is not a team… and also Sentry and the unnamed Ronan.
This story focuses just on the very beginning, which is there’s a breakout from that super-powered prison that Marvel has off the coast of New York. What is it called? The raft. The super heroes need to chase down the supervillains, but there’s
no Avengers to do it.
Spider-man kind of gets roped into the Avengers because this is his turf anyway. There’s actually a companion book
(it’s not oversized) called Spider-Man: Breakout that’s a miniseries that shows more of Spider-Man chasing down
This is a very different team of Avengers. And then Bendis just kind of thrusts them into some interesting happenings that follow up on drama within SHIELD, but then also starts to tease the beginnings of what role Spider Woman has to play in the long term of the series (which is really interesting and plays itself out in [volumes] three and four, which we’ve opened previously).
That first book is from #1-10, and the second book is from #11-20, which covers the period of House of M and runs right up into the beginning of Civil War.
Something that’s interesting is House of M was very much self-contained. There are books that for a few issues decided to dip into the House of M continuity and show what could happen there. Captain America did it for an issue and Uncanny X-Men did it for an arc.
[New] Avengers didn’t touch it. Partially because Benidise was writing [House of M] already, so he was telling the
stories he wanted to tell. [Also,] because of the “no more mutants” thing that happens at the end of house of M, there’s a
repercussion in the universe that the Avengers deal with and it feels much more natural than the Avengers later getting into X-Men-y stuff.
Even though it’s a very X-Men villain and it’s a very X-Men threat, it’s a natural outgrowth from House of M. It’s the
natural next story. It feels like something the Avengers would tackle. That’s not one of the times that I have a problem with the Avengers kind of stepping in on the X-Men’s business.
I would say this beginning stuff of New Avengers is great. If you like Avengers, if you like Bendis, if you just want to read a good in continuity Rock’em Sock’em comic book run – I would absolutely recommend this. And you don’t have to get
the OHCs right now. All the stuff I just plucked out is covered in the New Avengers by Bendis omnibus, along with (I believe we’ve established) the contents of Vol. 3. Or there’s Complete Collections now to get it in.
I recommend it. It’s good and it’s what made Avengers into the modern franchise that it is today.
Happy to have these books back! I’m sure that I will probably reread them at some point as I do an even grander Avengers reread. I’ve read all the way from Disassembled – in these hard covers actually – from Disassembled all the way to the end of Bendis’s Avengers reign in order to prep for reading my much maligned Avengers vs. X-Men.
I think if I were to do another read, I would probably start as far back as Heroes Reborn or maybe Busiek taking over the Avengers.
So: here’s the official shelving of the beginning of the Bendis era of Avengers … and as per normal, I don’t think we can fit it all where it belongs, so we’re just gonna fit where it can and I’ll re-shelve in between episodes.
This has been another episode of Crushing Comics! Thank you so much for watching, listening to me to talk about my drag enthusiasm, and also listening me to talk about my comic book collection, which I am falling in love with all over
Tune in next time for even more unwrapping! Thanks so much.