Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sometimes, there's just no going out on a high note.

How does Jan smell?  Terrible!  See, 'cause her nose...ah, forget it.
While many probably recall that Mark Waid (with Ron Garney on art) got the shaft when Marvel's Heroes Reborn event kicked him off of Captain America, they might not remember he did a few issues of Avengers as well. Still, that may not have been a dream assignment at the time. After four hundred and two issues, the book would be cancelled and relaunched, with Rob Liefeld at the helm. Yeah, that didn't seem like a great idea then, either. This issue was "Onslaught: Impact 2" which only vaguely helps tell you what order these should be read in, but Waid recaps what Avengers are where, as the bulk of the team faces Onslaught's lieutenants Post and Holocaust.

Now, while he was a fairly formidable villain, with an invisibility cloaking device and an assload of ray blasters, what the hell kind of name is Post? Was that his real name or something? It's not like he was a mail or fence themed bad guy. He might as well have been called "Carl." At any rate, Holocaust and Carl are beating the hell out of the already-haggard Avengers.

I went with some scans featuring the Wasp, to supplement yesterday's post, but these also do a good job of showing Waid's Cap. Although he eventually would, I think Waid said for a long time, he didn't use thought balloons for Cap, because Cap would be thinking three or four steps ahead of him. Here, the Wasp is worried that Cap is giving up, and if Cap gives up, then it must be over. Cap is a little brisk with Jan, as he's got it all worked out, and he leads the team to a rally.

Also, based on this art, one of the changes for this version of the Wasp appears to be the ability to fly while full-sized. That may have been helpful, as shown elsewhere in the story where Jan airlifts a civilian out of danger, but I think it takes away from her visual distinctiveness a bit. OK, a flying purple and orangish girl with big wings, big hair, and huge...antennae is distinctive, I'll give you that.
Why does Thor have a chain on Mjolnir? Did he keep losing it or something?
Waid might be overselling Cap's importance here--Jan herself led the Avengers pretty successfully for a ton of issues, and if not her, Thor could probably get the ball rolling. (Although it's thankfully not brought up here, this was the teenaged Iron Man, in one of his final appearances.) In the end, Onslaught taunts the Avengers via the big TV screen in Times Square, and the Avengers have a ready response:
Look, by this point most of NYC had been wrecked anyway, so...
I maybe should've scanned Onslaught there: even if the concept's a little dicey, and Professor X had gone bad like twice already at least, Onslaught looks cool and definitely threatening. The art's a little sketchy this issue, which may have been rushed after the recent 400th issue; and I think Mike Deodato was doing a ton of work at the time. This was also inker Tom Palmer's last issue, and editor Mark Gruenwald thanks him for 126 issues on the book.

From Avengers #402, "End of the Line" Written by Mark Waid, breakdowns by Mike Deodato, finishes by Tom Palmer. I may need to change my tags, too: the Mark Waid one refers to fumbles, but he is a good writer. He might not turn this sow's ear into a silk purse, but he does give it a shot.


SallyP said...

Post? The villain's name was Post? Well, the first thing that springs to my mind, is the phrase "dumb as a ..." Which is probably not the reaction the author was looking for.

Ace said...

Post was in the very first X-Men comic I read. It was at the start of the Onslaught stuff, which I'll admit now I've had more experience with superheroes, may have lacked something... But back then it was "OMG! He's kicking their arses!"

... I was like 11... Gimme a break...

grifter said...

ah, those wacky '90s ...