As the title suggests, this will not be your regularly scheduled review. I will rant, perhaps excessively, but within that rant you will find the popcorn kernel of an argument attempting to explode into your face! I will then present to the jury, empirical evidence in the form of scans from numerous Marvel comics from the last year or two to prove my theory. Including this issue of Hercules and this month’s Secret Invasion. My rant will be brutal and sometimes immature and hard to read. But, the argument I present is valid, and if you can look past the ridiculous fanboy ravings, you will see that I have a reasonable complaint and that Marvel editorial needs to sit up and take note.* Thus properly qualified, I begin my review/rant.
Event fatigue has finally set in for the Marvel Universe, and for me. The straw that broke my back? In this issue of Hercules: a Helicarrier falls from the sky. Hmm, sound familiar?
Recent Examples of “Downed Helicarriers” in the Marvel Universe:
1) New Avengers #23: HYDRA unleashes something like an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) that destabilizes a Helicarrier and very nearly crashes it into Manhattan.
2) Ultimates 2 #9: The Ultimate versions of the “Masters of Evil” launch an attack on the US that results in the “knocking out of the sky” of dozens of S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarriers.
3) Mighty Avengers #3: Ultron introduces a virus into the S.H.I.E.L.D. network that crashes a Helicarrier.
4) Secret Invasion #1: The Skrulls introduce an alien virus into the S.H.I.E.L.D. network that crashes a Helicarrier.
5) Incredible Hercules #113: Amadeus Cho introduces a virus into the S.H.I.E.L.D. network that crashes a Helicarrier.
6) Irredeemable Ant Man #2: In a flashback to “Wolverine: Enemy of the State”, the Helicarrier crashes after an attack by super powered HYDRA forces, or what I like to call “Assault on Helicarrier 13”.**
7) Hulk #2: Stark’s red and gold Helicarrier is knocked out of the sky during a fight with the new, red Hulk. Oh the humanity.***
During World War Hulk, the Hulk threatened to crash the Helicarrier, but Dum Dum promised not to mess with him. It’s funny; the one guy you’d think would be all about fucking up S.H.I.E.L.D. allows cooler heads to prevail.
Now, three of the five (now seven) examples presented were perpetrated by one Brian Micheal Bendis. Bendis likes to recycle plot ideas and devices. I’m sure everyone remembers the “storming the Helicarrier” incidents where Dr. Strange used magic twice, within the span of a few weeks, to break into and out of a heavily guarded Helicarrier. There was a tiny bit of backlash here, but nothing to ruin careers. But, that wasn’t the first or last time Bendis would “steal” from himself. Ask yourself, how many times has Bendis had the Iron Man armor malfunction or be ripped from Stark’s body forcefully? With no research, I can say that off the top of my head I can remember five incidents and two more written by Mark Millar.
The Iron Man armor “malfunctions”:
1) New Avengers #18: The Collective Man rips off Stark’s armor when Tony tries to confront him.
2) New Avengers #23: During HYDRA’s assault on the Helicarrier, the EMP they unleash also takes out Stark’s armor.
3) Civil War #5: Captain America uses an “Electron Scrambler” to incapacitate the armor.
4) New Avengers #25: Random dude hacks Iron Man’s armor and incapacitates him.
5) Civil War #7: Again, Captain America takes out Iron Man, this time using Vision to disrupt his armor systems.
6) Mighty Avengers #1: Ultron takes over Stark’s armor and turns him into a girl.
7) Secret Invasion #1: A skrull posing as Jarvis uploads a virus that not only takes down the Iron Man armor, but also every piece of technology it’s linked to including the Helicarrier (see above), the prisons, etc…
Speaking of the prison system… how many breakouts have we seen since the first issue of New Avengers?
Breakouts since New Avengers #1:
1) New Avengers #1: Electro breaks into the Raft and frees a ton of B-list villains.
2) New Avengers #37: The Hood breaks into what appears to be the Helicarrier and frees all his super villain buddies.
3) Secret Invasion #1: The aforementioned Skrull virus takes down The Raft and The Cube, not to mention Bendis having Mar-Vell attack Thunderbolts Mountain. For those paying attention at home, Thunderbolts Mountain has a detention block.
4) Incredible Hercules #113: Amadeus Cho’s virus also breaches Prison Alpha’s security in the Negative Zone. Funny that the Cho virus takes down Prison Alpha but the Skrull virus doesn’t.
What else? Okay, as I mentioned in my Secret Invasion review, I could go back and show you a scene from over 10 years ago that mimics the Skrull Pym/Mr. Fantastic takedown and the blowing up/sucking into the Negative Zone Baxter Building scenes… but I won’t, because after 10 years, it’s okay to steal from yourself in my book. Everything works in cycles, right? But recycling plot devices that are less than a year old, with nothing to connect them, that’s just lazy. Maybe Bendis will prove me wrong? Maybe all these attacks on S.H.I.E.L.D. security are related? Maybe some, I’ll give him that, but not all.
Oh, I thought of some more overused plot devices… blowing up buildings in New York:
1) New Avengers #25: Random dude threatens to set off some bomb that will completely envelop Avengers Tower and suck it into a black hole. He fails, but the idea is still represented.
2) Civil War #7: During the final battle between the registered and unregistered heroes, dozens of buildings are damaged or destroyed.
3) World War Hulk #2: During their fight, Hulk and Iron Man knock down Avengers Tower. And that’s not even considering all the buildings that were destroyed during the entire WWH event.
4) Secret Invasion #1: The Baxter Building getting sucked into the Negative Zone. Also, when that carrier crashes, how many buildings do you think that took out?
Heard enough? It’s easy to see Bendis is the biggest offender. I’m positive I missed some examples, my comic book knowledge is extensive, but my memory is not-so-good. So, I offer a “No-Prize” to the person or persons who point out an incident I failed to mention.
The Reasons I have a problem with all these so called “disasters”:
1) Iron Man armor: After the Extremis Upgrade, Tony Stark’s armor is supposed to make him near-impervious to outside attacks such as viruses. Even without Extremis, Stark is a genius. Why hasn’t he upgraded his anti-virus software? At the very least, his armor should be EMP protected.
2) SHIELD Helicarriers: How cheap must these things be that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t invest in better firewall tech? So tired of these things falling out of the sky like rain.
3) Prison Breaks: This one isn’t so bad, as it happened once at the beginning and once again at the start of the end of the Bendis Skrull epic. We do have some random prison breaks in the middle, like Cho’s virus and Daredevil busting out of Riker’s with Punisher, but I’ll let that slide.
4) The Destruction of New York: Okay, enough is enough. Let the city rest. I didn’t read Damage Control, so I don’t know how they explained the clean up process, but I’ll hazard the guess that no matter how they explained it, it won’t satisfy me.
In summation: Marvel, write something fresh!!! Don’t you guys see that when you reuse these tired ideas they lose their dramatic impact!?! “Oh, hey, there goes another Helicarrier. Whatever.” Is that the reaction you want? Because it’s the one you’re getting from me, a diehard Make-Mine-Marvel loyal reader/asshole!!! IT’S FUCKING RIDICULOUS!!! CUT IT OUT!!!
As for the issue itself? It was fine with a little bit of mediocre. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood… I know for sure it was worse than the last issue. That one didn’t have S.H.E.I.L.D. Helicarriers in it.
*Let’s be real, I don’t actually believe that.
**No-Prize for SeventhSoldier
***No-Prize for Pi_3.14159…