This series continues to delight. Johnny Storm is now a billionaire, heir to Reed Richards’s patent earnings. Of course, it’s pretty clear Reed’s on his way back, but still, it’s an amusing turn. Quicksilver is being written as something other than angry, for a change. If I’m honest, Rogue as team leader still feels forced to me. Is there a female X-Man (irony unintentional) who isn’t leading her own team? I get it, it’s long overdue that we had equality on that score, but it still feels a bit forced. On the other hand, anything that puts Jean Grey, Rogue, Kitty Pryde and Polaris into the limelight is okay with me.
But my favorite part of the issue was simply the first panel in which we see the Beast’s blue, furry, smiling face as he snatches an escaped balloon and returns it to a young Avengers fan. He’s been blue and furry right on through, but ol’ Hank hasn’t smiled a lot in recent history, and that’s a bad thing.
He even acknowledges this over a beer with his alive-again best friend, Wonder Man. “Look, I know you’ve been dead or diffused, however you’d like to categorize it… So you’ve missed my spectacular screw-ups.”
So I’m really tired of my favorite characters from my childhood being written all mopey and apologetic for the evil they’ve done. Because those characters would not have done evil, as they were conceived back in the Bronze Age. Remember the line from Jessica in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Well I think, once and for all, that Hank, Wanda, Jean Grey (and, come to think of it, every Avenger who participated in the travesty that was Avengers #200) should be issued a t-shirt reading, “I didn’t turn evil, I just got mind-raped by the Marvel Architects so that they could sell ‘Events.’”
Seriously, all the “evil” shit that these characters have done has been the equivalent of the mean and brutish things that the Superman covers of the 1960s made Superman appear to be doing, only he didn’t actually do those things inside the book. I feel like writers like Jim Zub, Dan Slott, Kurt Busiek and a host of others have had to put a lot of effort into cleaning up the messes in between “events,” and trying to make our characters likable again after some marketing genius has all but torched their credibility.
Fortunately, Zub seems to do a really good job at clean-up. He pulls Hank and Simon out of the doldroms and into a street fight with Whirlwind, after which they resolve to “Be a little better tomorrow than we were yesterday.” Oh, and Wonder Man’s a pacifist now. It’s been too long since we had a hero of that description. I hope he’s going to hang around.