New Avengers #19
Marvel (July, 2006)
“The Collective” part 3
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILER: Mike Deodato, Jr
INKER: Joe Pimentel
COLORIST: Dave Stewart
LETTERER: Albert Deschesne
PRODUCTION: Tom Valente
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Spider-Man realizes these are all the powers of mutants who lost their powers after House Of M. Hill, insisting on knowing what that is at probably the worst time possible, has telepathic agents probe his mind while the Vision is shut down and his memory files dug into. Captain America rescues his team a bit late but they head out to help Iron Man and Sentry deal with Michael, when one of the agents suggests seeing where he’s going rather than spark some new powers. He ends up crashing in Genosha.
What they got right: I will give credit where it’s due before I hit my rant. The art isn’t too bad and the mystery of how Michael became what he is now is of interest.
What they got wrong: You know why so many readers hate Maria Hill? This is why. During a crisis situation she insists on knowing everything when the heroes have more important things to do and already know enough to stop him. Ask them later and maybe they should tell SHIELD about this. (Not so much Hill as she’s proven untrustworthy thanks to this story.) She basically forces the info from Spider-Man and Vision (which is a violation of their civic rights and laws currently set up to protect), removing Peter’s mask yet again because apparently Bendis was really insistent on ruining Peter’s secret identity even before Civil War went into full speed. (We’ve seen it how many times in this series so far? By the way, what happened to the corrupted side groups within SHIELD and Hydra?) Even without the full information of House Of M I’m sure the agent listening in to “he has the powers of de-powered mutants” is enough to say “maybe see where he’s going and stop making him learn new powers”. And she’s talking like they’ll be forced to join SHIELD, which depending on the writer isn’t a priority, only registering as a superhuman is. And by the way Maria…
THAT ISN’T THE FRICKING LAW YET SO IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE ACT MAY SAY LATER BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT SHIELD AGENTS NOW NOR DO THEY NEED TO BE, YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO VIOLATE THEIR PRIVACY LIKE THAT, AND YOU’RE BASICALLY MAKING THE CASE WHY SHIELD OR ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY CAN’T BE TRUSTED WITH THE SUPERHERO COMMUNITY WHEN YOU’RE TREATING THEM THE SAME AS THE SUPERVILLAINS EXCEPT YOU CAN CONTROL THEM BECAUSE THEY WON’T EXPLODE YOU LIKE A SUPERVILLAIN WOULD!
It’s like that part in the actual Civil War comic when she wants to arrest Captain America because he’s not sure he’ll go along with the act, despite his identity already being known to the world, but since the law isn’t even on the books yet he hadn’t committed any crimes because there is no crime to commit and he hadn’t been asked to do anything yet under the as-yet-to-exist law. I hate Civil War and this story has been ruined by the garbage parts of it because Maria Hill is an awful person under Bendis. I was enjoying this story until this issue.
On the technical side, the two pages of panels being done so many times again are a bit much. Tony, this isn’t the time to go through EVERY possible reason Michael got his powers when they’re variants of the same theme and the solution is figuring out what does he want. Choose the most likely and get on with it.
Recommendation: I was giving this a timid recommendation because I don’t trust Bendis as a writer of something not his creation and this was the first time I was finding the story interesting. (Some of the artistic choices not so much.) And then this issue comes along and suddenly I’m not enjoying it so much. I can’t recommend this arc anymore as it takes too many of the worst parts of Civil War and showcases the nonsense to come.