The Spider-Man-ification of The Avengers

avengers-annual-2012If you’re familiar with Spider-Man, then you already know that it’s fairly routine for someone to shout, “It’s all Spider-Man’s fault!”  It’s his proverbial cross; he has to be the hero at the sacrifice of his personal life, not tell anyone he’s Spider-Man and then watch as public opinion is turned against his heroic exploits by J. Jonah Jameson (editor of the local paper), or anybody else whose job it is via the plot to make Peter Parker’s life a living hell.

These days, Spider-Man is in The Avengers and The New Avengers (come to think of it, he’s also in The Future Foundation, which is part of the reason why no one can agree which costume he’s supposed to be wearing when, and I thought he left proper Avengers and is only in New Avengers now, yet he’s all over the annual issue, but those are rants for another day); two teams, one human spider – fine.  The problem is, both Avengers books are starting to turn into Spider-Man books.

Look, I’m all for Spider-Man; he’s a fun, interesting character that’s great to have around in a team book.  (I prefer just a seasoning of Spider-Man – I can’t read any of his solo books.)  When you’re collecting personalities, the wise cracking, boy scout oath observing, web headed all crawler is a must for The Avengers, but the thing that’s begun to happen is both The Avengers and The New Avengers have inherited his problem.

Check out Avengers Annual 2012 and you’ll see that Wonder Man has returned.  He’s going around making the case that the Avengers must disband because they do more harm than good; whether it’s property damage, civilian casualties, the death of teammates or Wonder Man got a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking, he’s sure the Avengers are to blame and the world would be better off without them.  As a former Avengers himself, he  knows all the dirty secrets and where all the bodies are buried.  He showed up once or twice to yell at them before he started punching them in the face, but make no mistake – he took his message to the media and now people are constantly protesting the Avengers.

If you flip through a few pages of New Avengers #20, you’ll see that Norman Osborn is back and, like he previously threatened, he’s making life hell for the New Avengers and doing his best to smear them in public, setting up yet another round of protests from a city that would be nothing but a smoking crater without them.


You know, like during the Fear Itself miniseries, when Manhattan was turned into a smoking crater.

I’d guess that this is happening because both books are penned by Brian Michael Bendis, who has written a ton of Spider-Man comics in his time.  Also, both the Wonder Man and Norman Osborn stories are very similar:  they both assemble a team of super powered beings to fight the Avengers, they both work on damaging the Avengers reputations and they both are really starting to piss me off as they do the same thing as one another!

Knock it the hell off!

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on January 17, 2012, in comic book reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’ve long had issues with Bendis taking the Avengers and making them come out more like the ones who are causing the problems than the ones solving the problems. Maybe I’m way to biased (as the Avengers historically were a collection of my favorite heroes at Marvel), but if I’m a normal dude ploppin’ about the Marvel Universe, and I see Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor fighting someone or something, even if it was my own mother, I’m guessing they are in the right and my mom’s secretly some sort of supervillain.

    Bendis has done spectacular things. I will be the first to admit that. But I’m also the first guy to say he can’t really handle a team book, let alone two. He builds the adjectiveless Avengers as the more classic team, but with unnecessary edge. Cap’s fightin’ mad, Tony’s doing stuff behind everyone’s backs, and he’s loadin’ up on other popular characters when he really shouldn’t. New Avengers are led by a guy with the biggest chip than anyone else has ever held on their shoulders which leads to bad decision making and the overall appearance that they have absolutely no clue how to be a team. Luke Cage is a decent character. He’s been a decent Avenger. He is NOT a good leader (or at least he’s written more as an angry black guy instead of a good character with the potential to be a good leader).

    I don’t mind if Bendis wants to poke a little fun at how easy right wing politicians and talking heads want to tear heroes down for their own ends, but you’re right, it’s not ultimately very well done. These recent stories have been better, but I just want someone to make them heroes again. Force them to face real threats instead of being the perceived bad guys.

    And yeah, if someone came along and turned my city into a smoking crater and I watched the Avengers defeat them, I’d likely be on their side, not the thing that nearly killed me and all my friends, family, and loved ones.

  2. Thanks for dropping truth bombs, Geoff – as usual, you’re my authority on all things Avengers.

    Yeah, it’s hard to see Cap, Iron Man and Thor beating someone’s head in and think, “I bet the Holy Trinity is on the wrong side of that fight.” It’s silly to have virtually everyone against the Avengers (from the talking heads to the common man) and nobody to take up their cause. No, “Hey, thanks for saving us from the whole Fear Itself thing. It was pretty dumb, but thanks for saving our lives.” That was like 5 minutes ago and people are already on their front lawn waving signs?

    my core problem is that both of these books seem to be running identical story lines, they both have the same problems and they’re both written by the same guy. How did Marvel let this happen?

    I do wish Bendis would handle Luke Cage a little differently. I like that he makes decisions quickly, but yeah, he sure seems out of control a lot and his team is always a mess, but under Bendis, Cap doesn’t seem to think this is a problem. The Brubaker Cap would be in Luke’s face – hell, the Mark Gruenwald Captain America would be all over this.

    And can we PLEASE decide who is in what book? (Hawkeye is on the cover of New Avengers 20; are Spider-Man and Wolverine out of proper Avengers or not?) And if Spider-Man is wearing the black and white FF uniform or the traditional red and blue? I don’t care which, Marvel – just pick one!

    I guess Ed Brubaker can’t right every issue of every book. =(

  3. Interesting article. My issue with the Avengers is that there is no semblance of continuity. By continuity, I don’t mean that you have to stay true to what occurred in the 60s or 70s, but rather your writers and editors are working as a team to provide some sense of consistency. By having spider man in multiple books, to me it appears as if the writers and editors are too lazy to try tie everything together and instead as the article alludes just goes for putting the most recognizable character in as many books as possible. If any of you are old enough to remember or have read the marvel books of the 60s 70s, and 80s you would notice that the writers and the editors often made the effort to tie various books together such as Iron Man and the Avengers while still preserving the independence of the two storylines. Having SM in multiple team books as well as his own flies in the face of this tradition.

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