Pick of the Week

May 18, 2011 – Avengers #13

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.0
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.9%
Users who pulled this comic:
Story by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey & Wayne Faucher
Colors by Chris Bachalo
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, Javier Rodriguez & Paul Renaud

Size: pages
Price: 3.99

As soon as I closed Avengers #13 I knew two things. One: that it would be an issue that people would either love or hate. Two: I am one of those people that love it.

I am a long time Avengers reader who has been just about as big of a fan of what Brian Michael Bendis has done with the Avengers books since he took over with Avengers Disassembled as you can possibly be. For the last seven years, Bendis has guided the Avengers family of titles to a place of prominence that they haven’t seen in my comic book reading lifetime. Right now, the Avengers books on the whole are the most popular and important books at Marvel Comics, which means they are the most popular and important books in all of American comics.

After seven years it would be easy to start to think that Bendis had done everything he could possibly do with the types of stories he has told with the Avengers. But then Avengers #13 (appropriately enough, a Fear Itself tie-in) comes along and he finds a new way to structure a story and I fall in love with the book all over again.

Throughout the last year, we’ve seen an oral history of the Avengers done in the long standing style of oral histories best utilized, I think, in the Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller book, Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, and here we get a new spin on that idea as the story telling device features the Avengers sitting down for a documentary and talking directly into the camera. (It’s a documentary that has apparently been going on for a long time considering the fashions seen in the first two pages.) The first person interviews not only serve as a framing device but also appear throughout the issue to comment on the action, much like the way you see every reality show structured these days.

Man, remember when The Real World was good?

Um, anyway…

The story in Avengers #13 exists in parallel with Fear Itself #1. It is certainly not required reading to understand or enjoy Fear Itself #1, but it does take a couple of scenes and let you behind the curtain to see what was either going on in some of the characters’ heads or what was happening in the background. And really, that’s what Bendis has done best over the years — put us into the heads of these people and flesh them out as people whose interpersonal relationships are just as important as the world shaking battles they engage in.

As the issue opens up, the various members of the Avengers talk to the camera about all of the big events that they’ve been through over the years as a way of setting up Fear Itself, where we learn about all the anxiety and doubt that they had at the time of the events in the first issue, and just how many people were not 100% behind Tony Stark’s grand plan to rebuild Asgard. This lead to my favorite sequence of the book where, at the party on Asgard seen briefly in Fear Itself #1, Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman have a heart-to-heart about their lack of romance in their lives and while they contemplate making a move on Thor, Ms. Marvel accidentally stumbles upon the secret… thing going on between Hawkeye and Spider-Woman.

Drama! Intrigue! Awesome!

This is how you do a tie-in. If you’re not reading Fear Itself, the story in Avengers #13 stands on its own, but if you are reading Fear Itself then it enhances and adds texture to what you’ve already read.

There’s something else that Avengers #13 does that, so far, Fear Itself has failed to do and that is make me really excited to read more Fear Itself. Avengers #13 ends with ominous warnings about what’s to come (most of the first person interviews in this are clearly happening after Fear Itself) and the way that Bendis handled the rising tension on the final page made me exclaim to myself, “Oh no! What’s going to happen?!”

(In my head. Not out loud. Out loud would be weird… right?)

Of all the 180 degree turns that I have done on my thoughts on certain artists’ work in the last five years, the one I might be most happy about is Chris Bachalo. His work used to be enough to keep me away from a book. Now? I can’t get enough of his stuff. Bachalo is a guy who does big, crazy action and not someone who you would think of as a “talking head” artist. But here in an issue that is 95% talking heads (with one big, crazy two page action scene that is quite jaw dropping) his work really shines. Bachalo and Skottie Young are probably the two best guys working in comics when it comes to going off-model on these familiar characters. Usually going off-model is a bad thing, unless you’ve got a whole lot of flair and talent — and Bachalo has both. I love his giant chinned Red Hulk and they way his Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman are exaggeratedly lithe. There is a whole lot of style in Bachalo’s work, and it is so very refreshing in a comics market that seems to be increasingly full of artists whose work lacks a definable and recognizable identity.

I have said on the Pick of the Week show many times before that if Bendis wrote The Avengers hanging out and talking every week I’d be thrilled, and while Avengers #13 is a new variation on that theme, it is what was revealed in those conversations that made this issue so very much fun. I like relating more to these characters. I need to relate to these characters if I’m going to care at all what happens to them. This issue made me care more about Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman, and in that sense it served its purpose wonderfully.

Plus, I love romantic drama on a team dynamic. There isn’t nearly enough of it these days to suit me. (Hello, Teen Titans! I’m pointing at you.)

These are the kinds of issues that I love, and the reason why, after all these years, I’m still reading comics.

Conor Kilpatrick
I love me some good gossip.


  1. Nice choice! I had a feeling it would be this one. I was actually one of the few who was in between with this issue. I didn’t love it or hate it. The art was great, concept was fun, and some interesting things are developing. However, the issue felt like a retelling of Fear Itself which doesn’t seem so necessary but nevertheless not a bad issue.

  2. I flipped through it at the store. Shame Bachelo’s art was a bit underused since most of the issue was tiny panels of talking heads. Also, I’m sure Josh is gonna be thrilled about the new direction for Hawkeye. Great review conor.

    My POTW was Thunderbolts. Great characterization (especially on Juggernaut) and two fantastic artists on board. 

  3. I agree this was a fantastic issue, not my POTW but a fantastic issue none the less.

    I went with Witchblade #144

  4. So good. My favorite bit was Spider-Woman trying to get Ms. Marvel to shut up and telling her “Disassemble.” Spidey throwing up in his mask was pretty great too.

  5. The Real World was never good.

  6. @conor: Not to get too off topic but I am quite surprised you gave Batman and Robin a 5 this week. Can’t wait for the show to hear your thoughts on it.

  7. Batman and robin

  8. man i loved this, this is my potw.  Art was fantastic and made me somewhat interested in fear itself.

    Is Bachelo staying on the book or was this a one shot?  I’d love to see him do an all romance issue centered arround ms. marvel/spider-woman story with bendis writing.

  9. The Ms. Marvel/Spider-Woman dialogue wad classic Bendis, and had me smiling from ear to ear on the subway. Who knew Ms. Marvel would have such a hard time finding a date? Also, the panel where Hawkeye smells Spider-Woman’s pheromones was classic.

  10. Lolwat.  Why do you encourage this type of gross self-indulgence?

  11. Batman Gates of Gotham was my pick. Exciting detective story with a mysterious steam punk villain? I’m there.

  12. …and over in the OTHER Avengers book, Mockingbird is dying and Hawkeye is vowing bloody vengeance. Normally I could care less but that juxtaposition is weird to me.

  13. Excellent Pick!  

  14. I still can’t really enjoy the way Bendis makes everyone throw around witty banter and quips. That is fine for a few of them, but not every Avenger needs to be Spiderman.

  15. Something appropriate about a Fear Itself tie-in the week the world is supposed to end! Tin Foil Hats people!!

  16. Conor and I couldn’t have more opposite opinions of Bendis and the Avengers. I’m a long time reader of The Avengers as well and I can’t stand what Bendis has done to them. This issue is no exception. In fact, combined with Bachalo’s annoyingly over-stylized “art” I really found nothing I liked about this issue.

    But hey, that’s the fun of it…different opinions and no one is right or wrong.

  17. Well, it seems Conor’s assertion about lovin’ it or hatin’ it are about right, and I loved it.  While it’s true Bendis does his best to give everyone something funny to say, they’re still very much distinct characters with their own voice.  And that art, oh that art.  wow.

  18. I miss Generation X.

  19. I miss Shade the Changing Man.  This was good but USM is my pick.

  20. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to side with the Haters on this one. I picked it up purely for the Bachalo artwork and, despite being mostly talking heads, it still wowed in that department.

    But, I’ve never been a big fan of Bendis’ superhero work. I think he works best with regular people talking about regular things. This book should not have been that. Ostensibly about the Fall of Asgard and Tony’s big idea to resurrect it as some kind of new symbol of hope, there’s a lot that could be said here. Focusing everything on gossip & girl talk seems a little like me talking about the awesome pizza I had for lunch while standing in front of the ruins of the Twin Towers. It just seemed out of place for me and did exactly the opposite of what Bendis intended; it took me out of the story AND got me really annoyed.

    There was one tiny bright spot in the writing of this issue that I wish was expanded on (and I’m sure is in one of the many Fear Itself tie-ins) and that was the little bit about how the other Avengers forgot that Thor has feelings, too and that this whole event was important to him personally and not just some stunt or another mission for the group. That’s the kind of interpersonal stuff I want to hear from my Avengers. Not Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel going gaga over Thor and Hawkeye.

    Hulk #33 is my POTW. Gabe Hardman and Jeff Parker haven’t done me wrong yet. 

  21. I didn’t realize they made a comic of The View.

  22. Hawkeye and Spider-Woman together makes no logical sense whatsoever.  While Jessica is not the Skrull queen who posed as her, she still looks exactly the same as the woman who stole his wife away from him for YEARS and led him to believe she had died through her Skrully replacement.

    Am I the only one who remembers the events from Secret Invasion?  How the hell would Clint be so okay with his divorce to the woman he loved and grieved for years to the point that he could actually be attracted to the person who looks exactly like the orchrastrator of that entire event?

    Makes NO sense. 

  23. Its only comics i know,i register to the site only to tell how come you can pick this comic as potw.
    this comic is an insult to fear itself and to BMB readers.
    years i visit the site : you had better days.

  24. @dani  I wrote 1,000+ words expalining how, but if that’s not enough, there’s always the 10 minutes coming up on the next podcast explaining why. Perhaps it will be more clear then.

  25. conor: your review is great, only the assuption (bendis,avengers,talking heads is auto,,potw) i disagree. and by the way i like BMB very much.

  26. Avengers- Avenge something.

    I like dialogue and personal time as much as anyone.

    But the reason those “baseball” moments are great is b/c they are accent moments.

    Not the main course.

    SO much sitting around talking and gossiping is like stuffing your face with cotton candy.

    No matter how well written.

    Siege was great- but Bendis is wrong for this book overall.

    He’s just too tempted to slip into this mode- that works great for some books and poorly services this one. 

  27. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @ericmci  The Avengers just came out of a great action arc with the Hood and the gems. Plenty of Avengers action going on in this and all the other Avengers books. 

  28. I’m one of the people that hated this issue.  For 12 issues, this book has melted my face off with non stop badassery, cameos by three of my favorite characters (Galactus, Thanos, and Apocalypse), the Infinity Gauntlet, Thor beaning Galactus right between the eyes (I have GOT to get the original art for that!) and I just lurves me some John Romita Jr.  This issue was such a weird, offputting 180.  Like Cormac mentioned, the Hawkeye/Spider-Woman stuff was odd to me, with what has been going on in New Avengers.  Bendis has worked Spider-Woman into this stone cold badass role, and now, she’s making goo goo eyes and acting sheepish like some lovestruck preteen.  The Spidey puking at the raw eggs thing was kinda lame, though, Rulks “I like eggsh” was real funny to me.  I think it was the goofy smile on his face.

    Polarizing issue, for sure.  Guess that’s what makes it a great PotW.

    Just the cover to Super Dinosaur Origin Special made it PotW for me.  I haven’t even read it yet, but a Tyrannosaurus Rex controling giant gatling gun weilding robot arms with little joysticks manipulated by his tiny arms made me buy the book.

  29. It’s funny but I was sure this was Ron’s pick right until I got to the byline at the end.

  30. I had to do a double take & make sure I hadn’t just finished a generic issue of Betty & Veronica.

  31. @Peteparker  I kinda agree.  Romances trump grudges I guess in the storytelling dept.  But not in real life.

    But Clint and Jessica together is a dumb pairing.  Maybe not Rogue and Sentry dumb (somebody fucked up worse than Bendis), but it’s a mistake.

  32. I would’ve rated this issue higher, but I can’t freakin’ stand Bachalo’s art. I really wish he’d go and draw something creator-owned. 


  33. @Diabhol  So do i but for completely different reasons. love him

  34. @Diabhol  Very well said. That is exactly how I feel. I’ve always felt his work is distracting and is more of an attempt to stand out than work hand-in-hand with the writer to tell a great story.

  35. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @keith7198  Not in this case. The expressive character renderings really helped in this issue. 

  36. @PaulMontgomery  I certainly respect and appreciate your opinions but I thought the characters looked inconsistent and borderline goofy. Bachalo’s faces drive me nuts. I didn’t feel any genuine expression from the characters. I thought they looked silly. For example, the Red Hulk was so over-stylized and was drawn in noticablely different proportions. Distracting.

    In the podcast, Connor mentioned he felt Trevor McCarthy probably wasn’t the right artist for “Gates of Gotham”. That’s how I felt about Bachalo on this issue. In a story that stepped back from the super-powered action and looked at the characters, I would loved to have been able to look at the characters and relate to them instead of seeing Bachalo being Bachalo.

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