Marvel Comics + Bendis Reveal Future Avengers Plans

Norman Osborn is back and so are the Dark Avengers!

John Romita Jr. is off Avengers; Daniel Acuna is the new ongoing artist!

Bendis begins the march towards the Avengers movie in 2012!


Earlier today, Marvel Comics held a press conference coming off the heels of the teaser image revelead yesterday announcing the new Dark Avengers in the pages of New Avengers #18.  On the call writer Brian Michael Bendis and editor Tom Brevoort shared details of what fans can expect coming up from the Avengers line of books in the short term and long term future.

Beginning with New Avengers #16.1, with art by legendary artist Neal Adams, Bendis kicks off what he’s calling “The HAMMER War” which is basically the return of Norman Osborn.  After getting out of prision, Norman Osborn is introduced to what HAMMER, the organization he founded during Dark Reign, has become.  Picking up the story from the Osborn mini-series, Bendis explains that Osborn, “gets out of prision and is surrounded by his followers, and a plan has been put together without his knowledge.  The plan is that HYDRA, The Hand and AIM have all joined together under his banner.  Working together under Osborn’s leadership, pulling together for the same goal and that’s more than Steve Rogers pared down Avengers can handle.” Included in this new organization along with Osborn is Madame Hydra, Gorgon and the AIM scientists as Bendis explains, “It’s more than what the Avengers have ever had to handle.  One of their largest threats, up there with the biggest fights they’ve ever had.  A battle being fought by smart people who have fought the Avengers before and have learned from their mistakes.”

On Avengers #16.1, Bendis worked with Neal Adams and inker Tom Palmer (the creative team reunited for the first time since they did the Kree/Skrull war in Avengers back in the late 1960s) to fill the issue with things that he’d want to draw, including characters Adams has never drawn before like Wolverine, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones.  “Neal Adams drawing Dr. Strange? What a treat” said Bendis.

From New Avengers #16.1, the story continues through the pages of both New Avengers and Avengers, but Bendis pressed that readers don’t need to read both titles to enjoy the story.  But, Bendis points out, “85% of the people who read these books, read both of them – but for the others you want to make something exciting for them to try and this is old school Avengers.” He also added, “Something gigantic happens in every issue, but if all you read is New Avengers, you’re fine.  New Avengers will deal with the Dark Avengers, while Avengers deal with HAMMER as an entity and their secret weapons that have a lot to do with the modern history of comics, like Civil War”

In terms of what HAMMER has become, Bendis explains that something has happened within AIM that provides an opportunity for the Dark Avengers to re-emerge.  The Dark Avengers will include some characters that we know, some that are brand new and some that are re-invented.  But much like the last edition of Dark Avengers, they will be Avengers amalgams, Bendis shared that the Dark Avengers will have a Thor, a Hulk, a Hawkeye, a Spider-Man and “some scary crap that’s more technologically advanced than anything Tony Stark has ever seen.”

In terms of the pages of Avengers, Bendis couldn’t reveal much as he didn’t want to spoil the ending and reprocussions of Fear Itself, but in Avengers #18, the team will be making a huge lineup change, featuring 2 characters who are “Classic Avengers” and one member will be a brand new edition to the Avengers. 

Art-wise, Avengers #18 features a cover and interiors by Daniel Acuna.  Bendis confirmed that after Avengers #17, John Romita Jr. is off the book and Acuna will be joining as the ongoing artist for the foreseeable future.  When asked by Romita was leaving, Bendis explained “John Romita Jr. is off to do something special with me down the line. So to free up his schedule, he’s off Avengers.”  Acuna previously worked with Bendis on issues of New Avengers.

When asked if this storyline has anything to do with the Ultron story that was hinted in the Avengers #12.1 story, Bendis explained that the Ultron story was coming down the line with art by Bryan Hitch that is, “georgeous” but not directly tied to this story, rather a part of the rededication of the Avengers editorial team to line up stories in anticipation of the Avengers movie in 2012. Bendis shared that “We’re building up to the summer of Avengers in 2012 in the best possible way… to tell the biggest stories Marvel can tell.  This is the start of tremendous Avengers stories from everyone involved for the next year.”

New Avengers #16.1 hits stores on September 28, 2011, followed by New Avengers #17 on October 12, and Avengers #18 on October 19, 2011. And New Avengers #18, featuring the Dark Avengers hits shops in November 

Check out the covers to Avengers #18, New Avengers #17 and #16.1 below:




  1. sad to see JRJR go 🙁 

  2. Yay Neal Adams!

    Boo everything else!

    Like I said last night, Bendis isn’t giving me anything here to care about for the Avengers. I was hoping to hear more about Ellis’s ‘Secret Avengers’ run (like more artists announcements) but I guess not.

    Is anyone really excited to see MORE Osborn? Plus Acuna is a decent artist and Romita Jr. hasn’t done his best work in ‘THE’ title but….man what a downgrade. 

  3. Im excited love what bendis has done with avengers.

  4. I didn’t like JRJR’s style on Avengers at all. I know I’m probably in the minority. Might pick it up again with the new artist.

  5. Avengers went from having my fave artists to one whom I don’t like at all I really hope he doesnt stay on long cause I was loving avengers

  6. Really bummed on the Acuna and Osborn announcements.  Time to reconsider my Avengers pulls.

  7. To me, the best part of the Avengers books have been the art. Even though Avengers wasn’t the best I’ve seen him do, I’m sad JRJR is leaving Avengers. And I don’t know what it is about Deodato, but I can’t get enough of what he does. I think it’s the fact that he makes whatever book he’s on darker tone wise. He was a perfect fit for Dark Avengers and I was sad he left Secret Avengers. The only thing about his art though his he always makes people a little more toned than I’m used, especially Spider-Man

  8. Osborne and the Dark Avengers? Didn’t we just do this? And Bendis is writing it, let me guess every other line is going to be some one-liner. I love Acuna’s and Adams’ art though.

  9. Glad JRjr is leaving. More Kick Ass and other things. Sad to hear he’ll be back working with Bendis down the line though.

  10. @TheNextChampion  I’m excited about it!

  11. We really need Immonen back on one of these books.

  12. I started out liking the Bendis/JRJR Avengers, but then the Bendisisms started piliing up and the Heroic Age turned into the Chatty Cathy Age, Take Two.

    At this point, the only Avengers announcement that’d make me sit up and take notice is if they announce that Bendis is FINALLY leaving the franchise. Seriously, I loved his Ultimate Spider-Man (the first 70 issues of it) and LOVE LOVE LOVED his Daredevil . . . but I can’t stand much of the guy’s writing anymore. WAY too many forced pop culture references and misplaced out-of-character irreverent dialogue. I feel like I lose IQ points every time I read a Bendis comic now.

    That said, Acuna is an awesome artist. I can’t imagine people who like (or at least don’t mind) Bendis having a problem with him coming on board. Then again, people complained about JRJR’s recent art too. And I admit it wasn’t his best art, but I didn’t think it was atrocious; it looked like regular JRJR art to me.

  13. @froggulper You’ve been ranting about Bendis for a LONG time now.  Why do you still read his books?

  14. @Minion  AGREE.  I love SR.  Was disappointed with JR.  Thought the art was a negative.

  15. I am intrigued by the recent Wonderman storyline, but not excited at all about Osbourne. Bends tends to obsess with some crappy characters like Sentry, Hood, and Brother Voodoo. Hopefully Osbourne goes the way of Sentry and Brother voodoo after this story.

  16. Yay Acuna! As much as i love Romita Jr, Acuna is amazing. Really excited for this!

  17. @TheNextChampion  I’m kind of excited about having more Osborn too. I know he was kind of overkill during Dark Reign, but by the time the book comes out, it will close to a year and a half since we’ve seen him in a major way. He was the major villain in Marvel for close to a year, so I think it would be poor on Marvel to just make us forget about him and then bring him back years later with most of his impact lost.

  18. Don’t really know much about Acuna, but I know I wasn’t exactly loving the Romita art, so I guess a change of pace will be nice. But yes, I totally agree with people who are having a tough time with Bendis’ dialogue and pacing. It’s just not my kinda thing. I really hope these next arcs will see a change, not just in art, but in writing style.

  19. Seeing as how I bought Avengers only because of JRJR, I think I’ll drop the series with #17 and if I hear good things about future arcs, I’ll pick them up in trade.

  20. *Spoiler* Didn’t Gorgon die in Secret Warriors? I think Madame Hydra did too, unless its a new Madame.  Hickman basicly dismantled Hydra, they have no leaders at the end. *End Spoiler*

    That sad, I’m glad Acuna is back, JrJr’s art doesn’t do it for me. 

  21. pushing spoiler off the main page.

  22. The announcement of Osborn coming back made me drop Avengers. My pull list got a little too big after going from 1 DC comic to 12 with the relaunch coming, and I needed to drop a few books. Seeing where Avengers is going made the decision for me. Which is OK with me. I haven’t really enjoyed Avengers the way i wanted to since Kurt Busiak left the book, and I need money in my budget for DC comics, as well as those Jonathan Hickman “+” comics coming out from Image. So it’s not something I’ll be too upset over.

  23. I’m usually not an Acuna fan, but I like that #18 cover. Maybe he just needs a different inker or colorist?

  24. I think I’m happy with every piece of news here. This is awesome!

  25. Here I was hoping Bendis would be giving up one of the titles. He needs to give someone else a crack at them.

  26. Maybe JRJR will draw something I will read. Tried 3 times and never thought Bendis’ Avengers was very good. Don 19t feel he gets the characters at all. I have liked other things by him, especially Ultimate Spiderman, but I think he is wrong for a big team book.

  27. @JohnVFerrigno  Busiek? That’s been almost ten years. And it’s really amazing when you think about because between his legendary run and now Bendis’s run, there was only really Geoff Johns and Chuck Austen on the book. Bendis has been doing Avengers for about seven years now

  28. @Fett02  I know how long it’s been, believe me. That’s how long it’s been since I got an Avengers book the way i wanted it. I thought Bendis’ Avengers book was good at first, but over time, I started gtting it more out of habit than actual enjoyment. It has moments I like, but overall, it’s just not what i want out of the Avengers. I don’t have the money to buy things I’m not enjoying anymore, so after all these years, i’m saying goodbye to the Avengers. Hopefully the new Justice League and Justice League international will fill the team book void in my heart.

  29. Great! I love Acuna.

  30. dropped the books with the Fear Itself crap–won’t be coming back.

  31. Cap is about to reject Black Panther for not being American enough. At least he should if he reads his own assessment from
    Last year. & has he forgotten that Ghost Rider is bonded with a demon & unpredictable at times?

  32. I’m too excited for DC’s September and too tired of Bendis’ writing to really take much notice of this, it sounds like more of the same to anyone who keeps up with the books without reading them (solicits and skimming).  I’m hoping that DC crushes Marvel in sales for 6 or 8 months straight so Marvel has to get their shit together and refocus their line.  That would really get sales jumping right around the time of the Avengers movie. 

  33. I just want to check? Is that a mis-print in the article or is there an Avengers 16.1 AND and a New Avengers 16.1? In which case is Adams doing art on both?

  34. edit comment?