Every once in a while, you encounter a rare story
that is, essentially, a fight from start to finish,
and which is supported by such intensity and
character drama that the reader is instantly swept
along for an adrenaline driven ride that is the
greatest rush a comic reader can experience.

This is not one of those stories.

General Information

Title: Avengers: Disassembled

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator(s): David Finch through most of it, with
about ten others
doing a couple of pages here and there, including
Jack Kirby, Michael
Gaydos, David Mack, Steve McNiven, Mike Mayhew,
George Perez, Alex
Maleev, and others.

Original Publication Date: This event began with
Avengers
#500
this summer, and just ended in October.
The paperback
collection due in January will include Avengers
#500-503
and
Avengers Finale.

ISBN: 0785114823

Cover Price: $15.99 US

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

The Avengers get attacked by just about everybody,
and several of them
die. Then Dr. Strange shows up and explains some of
what’s happened.

In the end, this is a deck clearing exercise to pave
the way for
The New Avengers which launches in the first
week of
December. This explains why the mansion and money
are gone, and why
most of the team isn’t around.

High Point

Captain America informs a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent of the
proper way to
address Jarvis.

Low Point

This felt jammed together from start to finish. It
should have taken
over a year to prepare for this, rather than just
rushing through it
to get to the next team.

If I had to pick the worst single moment, it would
have been
Dr. Strange’s entrance. Now, I like Dr. Strange, and
have a lot of
respect for him. What I disagree with is what it
means about the
Avengers in this story. To me, the Avengers are the
team that work
together to solve any problem. They should be the
most capable group
in the Marvel Universe, with the greatest resources.
Not having them
figure out the reason they’re being torn apart on
their own is
completely out of place for the team. This isn’t
what this group has
done and has stood for. They should have solved it
on their own.

The Scores

This is about as original as your typical
fanfic from a
ten year old reader. Lots of old enemies show up,
lots of people die,
and then it all gets explained away when a character
who isn’t even an
Avenger shows up. I give it 2 out of 6.

The artwork created for this story is great.
I like Finch’s
work a lot. The Avengers Finale epilogue
has a rotating
artistic team, much like Ultimate Spider-Man
Super Special

did, and they all do fine work. (Mike Mayhew’s
Captain America needs
work, but the rest looks anywhere from good to
great.) It’s the best
part of this story. If you by the trade paperback,
skip the words and
just look at the pictures. It’ll make just as much
sense, and might
even be more enjoyable. The only real artistic snag
is the lack of
consistency you get when you keep changing artists
like that. I give
it 5 out of 6.

The story is, well, practically
non-existant. They get
attacked by a bunch of enemies, face the real enemy
(who, buy the way,
is stopped by Dr. Strange while the Avengers are
getting their clocks
cleaned again) and then decide to break up. That’s
it. The identity
of the real villain doesn’t even make a lot of sense
to me. I give it
2 out of 6.



Characterization is the one area that Bendis
has been quite
dependable in throughout the past. Those days are
over. There is no
real depth to any character we see here. We get
glimmers of depth for
Jennifer Walters and Tony Stark, but the rest of the
team (including
Captain America, the clear focus of the story) is
comprised of an
assortment of one-tone, one-dimensional paperweights
and cannon
fodder. I give it 2 out of 6.

The emotional response bombed. I was
waiting, issue after
issue, for something that could pull this extended
fight together into
a cohesive whole, and it never came. The deaths came
too quickly and
too cheaply to have any impact. Cap’s “you talk to
this man as if you
were speaking to me. As far as I am
concerned, this man is
an Avenger,” was pretty cool, but that was very near
the beginning of
the story. The next truly resonant moment was in the
epilogue that
was outside of this story, when the characters in
Avengers
Finale
were remembering the greatest moments the
team has faced.
The art was cool, but frankly, the only ones that
meant anything to me
as a reader were those that talked about stories I’ve
read. How many
readers today have read moments that aren’t collected
in trade
paperbacks? I’m sure there are a lot, but as
something billed as a
way to draw new readers to the Avengers for the first
time, drawing on
what came before this heavily is not the best plan.
If you want to
start fresh with the Avengers, wait for the first
collection of
New Avengers instead. I give it 2 out of 6.

The flow had two problems. The art flowed
very well until
the rotating team came in with issue 503 and
Avengers
Finale
. The story flow was restrained by the
lack of any visible
logic to the title. The events were there, but we
didn’t have a
strong character driven backbone to keep the reader
interested until
the logic behind the attacks came forth. This story
reads terribly.
I give it 2 out of 6.

Overall, it reads like a deck clearing
exercise designed to
give Bendis the team he really wants to right. You
might as well call
it Avengers: Disappointment. This creative
team did so, so
much better with Ultimate X-Men. I really
hope that the new
roster will work out better, but this doesn’t give me
a whole lot of
hope for the title. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Avengers: Disassembled receives 18
out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

I’ll be picking up New Avengers when it
launches next week,
but it’s going to have a hard time convincing me to
stay on in the
long term after this display.