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Picture Book: Graeme considers timeliness, avenging from 10/17

Graeme McMillan

Is it completely shitty and cheap to make some kind of “MIGHTY AVENGERS #5? I didn’t know they still published that book!” joke? I mean, okay, it’s been three months since the release of the last issue – which was itself a month late – but does that excuse making such a lazy joke about a late book?

Of course, things would be different if there was anything about the book that excused such a delay, such as it being, you know, good. I think that’s the oddest thing about the delays in publishing for this particular title, because you can’t really see where the hold-up is. Frank Cho’s art is nice enough – his dismissive Hank Pym is particularly enjoyable – but it’s not the excessively detailed kind of work that you look at and think, “Well, I can see how much time that must’ve taken.” A lot of the panels lack backgrounds – or, at least, backgrounds from linework; colorist Jason Keith should be congratulated for his contribution to the book – and the panel design is simple enough (and, in some cases, faulty enough; the page where the Sentry crashes through multiple walls, it’s odd that he doesn’t also move left to right on the page as he does so, surely?) that there’s the impression that Cho is an artist who worries about his figurework so much that it slows him to a crawl… An impression backed up, in part, by the lack of kineticism of the artwork; it’s pretty, but all so damn static.

The lack of energy is felt even moreso because of the lightness of Brian Bendis’s script, which obviously was intended as an all-out action blockbuster, with scenes of punching and missile hi-jacking and people shouting. The problem with that is that, when the art fails to convey that energy, there’s not enough in the writing to save the book from being dull. Ironically for a Bendis book, a wordier script might’ve helped things.

The worst thing is, if this book had managed to keep to a monthly schedule, the Eh quality of the issue might not really feel like such a big deal. Sure, it’d be a letdown, but you’d only have another month until everything moved on, and how much can you expect with only four weeks to create a book and so on… We’ve still got an issue to go before we see how this Ultron storyline finishes, even though New Avengers is already crossing over with the follow-up storyline, and Illuminati is being withheld because MA #6 has to precede it. It’s the Civil War delays again, on a smaller scale; when you have Bendis saying on a podcast that “so much” is being held up because this book is so off-schedule, and the book itself is suffering so much because of the delays, and the reason behind the delays, you have to wonder whether the idea that keeping a consistent team for the trade is the thing is really worth screwing up other schedules for.

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