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AICN COMICS! @$$Holes Round Table Review On JLA/AVENGERS!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

I feel bad for being so tardy with the latest @$$Holes column, so to make it up to you, I’m giving you a double-dose in one day. This is a special side column they put together for this week, and at the end of the column is something you’ve never seen before. It should give you guys plenty to chew on.

Greetings, Faithful TalkBackers. Welcome to the TalkBack League of @$$holes Roundtable Review. I am the Moderator, the omniscient and lonely voice of reason haunting the hallowed halls of @$$hole HQ. Every now and again, a comic book comes along that deserves special attention. At these times, the @$$holes gather from the four corners of the globe to discuss, deliberate, and debate about it ad nauseum. JLA/AVENGERS is such a book. Two titans of comic book creation, George Perez and Kurt Busiek, have joined forces to bring together two of the most powerful super teams.

It is uncharacteristically quiet here at @-Hole HQ. Your favorite @$$holes have gathered around a cheap, circular card table and it looks as if they are just about to finish reading this comic that has been years in the making. I can see their beady little eyes darting from panel to panel, flipping through the pages and mouthing each word balloon. Wait a moment. Yes. They’ve placed the books on the table. Let’s find out what they thought of it…

MODERATOR: So you've waited and waited for this comic to finally hit the stands. You've heard all of the hype and hoopla. Now that you've read it, what do you think? Was it worth the wait?

JON QUIXOTE: SWEET MOTHER OF CHRIST DID THIS KICK ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh God! Just a big ol' block of uncut, 100% pure Columbian Comic Book. I was going to bitch about the $10 Canadian price tag, but there is just so much packed into this comic that I think I ripped them off. 21 Years of Comic Book reading and I feel like I've received my great reward. Even all of that mumbo-jumbo about realities and vibrational planes, I just gobbled it up like a Pit Bull on a Kitten farm. Oh momma, I can't remember the last time I had a case of permagrin this severe.

SLEAZY G: I don’t know what the hell you are talking about, JQ. I read this fucker from cover to cover and we don’t get one scene with Emma Peel. What the hell were they thinking?

BUZZ MAVERIK: It delivered everything a super hero comic book should. A writer and artist told a good story and engaged my imagination. Perez is better than cinematic. The visuals are dizzying. Busiek is doing some interesting things with the characters. I like the line ups of each combat team and what we're being told about the individual universes.

AMBUSH BUG: Shoosh! All I have to say is, "Do you smell something? That's just this book, because it is THE SHIT." If you were a comic fan and have been jaded by the crap that has been churned out recently, read this book. If you just got into comics and wonder why the old schoolers love comics in the first place, read this book. If you're thinking about picking up a comic for the first time, read this book. It is filled with details for old timers, but accessible enough for those of you who don't know every detail that has happened throughout fifty years of continuity. This book will wash your car. It will cure your acne. It will tuck you into bed and make your netherparts tingle with fanboy glee.

SLEAZY: Speaking of netherparts, there were no shots of Sean Connery in a kilt with those old hairy balls of his either.

VILLAGE IDIOT: Wow. All I can say is Wow. Okay, I can say a few more things. I feel like I just saw a movie – and this is only the first part.

SUPERNINJA: This was a pretty outstanding first issue. And we've still got three more to go. My first impression is that I must have the rest of it. Right! Now!

CORMORANT: I had a blast with JLA/AVENGERS. It was "old school" in the best sense of the term, with classic super hero action, genuinely witty banter, and enough costumes to choke Bill Jemas into the grave. I yawned a bit at the cosmic manipulations going on in the background (CRISIS flashbacks, y'know), but overall, this baby's a tasty antidote to the "adultification" that's been spreading through super hero comics like a plague these last few years.

VROOM SOCKO: This book is bliss. The JLA fighting Terminus. The Avengers fighting Starro. Thanagarians fighting Skrulls. Lobo fighting the Shi'ar. This sucker exceeded every expectation I had. Bliss. This book is pure BLISS!!!

THE COMEDIAN: Not so loud, Vroom. We couldn’t start this thing until Lizzybeth finished her bottle of gin. It’s the only way her Indie ears can withstand all of this fanboy babble.

SLEAZY: Awww, look at her. All liquored up and passed out. Adorable, really.

COMEDIAN: Look. Her leg is twitching. I think she’s dreaming that she's running.

SUPES: I grew up reading Marvel crossovers and have only read the DC Amalgam crossovers. It's refreshing that Busiek captured the differences between the DCU and the MU, but the characters don't appear to be set against one another in the typical fashion of who can beat up whom. Busiek has the novel idea that there's a story to be told. I'm looking forward to it.

BUG: Yeah, I read that Amalgam crap and the crossover crap between Batman and everyone. Hated all of those. The writers of those books didn't have any imagination. They just chose the characters and wrapped a shitty story around them. Busiek is actually making it interesting. He's sort of taking the old "split the JLA up into pairings" type-adventure approach from the SUPER FRIENDS and splicing it in with a CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS-type story. And guess what? It works.

VI: This book also made me feel edgy, Busiek has put two of my favorite characters, characters who should be the most simpatico (Captain America and Superman), in a situation where they're not getting along very well at all. Did I ever tell you guys how much I hate mind control?

JQ: Oh yeah, TOTALLY mind control. There's no way Cap or Supes would legitimately snap to the criticisms they toss.

VROOM: I love that Superman thinks the complexities of the Marvel universe means that the Avengers aren't doing everything they can as heroes. I love that Cap sees the idealized nature of the DC universe as some sort of fascist state. But the best part... the best part is this line from Hawkeye: "These losers, they're nothing but a bunch of Squadron Supreme wanna-be's. Five gets you ten they're mind-controlled."

VI: Yeah, like I said, "mind control." They're being a little too aggressive about it. There's some funny business going on there, even Plastic Man commented on it. Still though, the way Busiek plays off this contrast is ingenious. In fact, the thing was chock full of so much good stuff like that; stuff that exceeded my expectations too.

SUPES: You really don't think Busiek has something up his sleeve here? Or do you think he's just honoring crossover traditions? I think it's somewhere in between. Busiek is a good writer - I'd like to think he has a few clever twists on the classic concepts in the wings.

CORM: These kinds of contrivances are pretty stock when it comes to the super hero cliché of getting two "good guy" teams to beat hell out of each other. Should we be forgiving of the mind control contrivance or does Busiek deserve some heat for not being more innovative? After all, he's also breaking out old saws like "godlike alien manipulation" and the "high stakes scavenger hunt."

JQ: As far as the other stuff goes, I'd have to say that I'm pretty forgiving of Busiek employing genre convention here. There's a reason these 'scavenger hunts' are over-used: THEY'RE FUN. Really, I don't care that Busiek employs conventions or clichés, as long as it doesn't feel like he's doing so lazily. I totally don't get that here - I get that he's employing them because he likes them and knows that, when done right, a mind-controlled, battle royale followed by a paired-off race for Infinity Gems or Spears of Destiny can be a whole lot of fun for this book's audience.

BUG: That's it exactly. Today's creators are so concerned about doing something original. These old clichés CAN be revisited and they can be interesting. The writer just has to bring energy and actually TRY not to phone it in. Hero’s Quest stories have been around for ages. And the reason why is that they make for intriguing stories. If a writer with talent chooses to go this path, all he has to do is make it interesting and those old time stories can smell fresh as a daisy.

VI: Hey, wait a minute, I wasn't complaining about mind control in the meta-contextual sense. I hate mind control because it's uncomfortable to see my heroes, my proxies, behaving in such a way; not because I see it as a cliché. On the other hand, as you pointed out, mind control seems to be part of the stock-and-trade of team-ups, and yeah, perhaps cliché. But honestly, there's so much other stuff going on in the issue, it didn't poke.

VROOM: Blissss.

SUPES: That's the real question. Who is manipulating them? I have no friggin' idea. Busiek has delivered a great first issue, but I'm trumped as to how we can review this beyond speculation.

BUG: I don't have any idea either, but I'm having a hell of a time finding out!

MODERATOR: So you guys all seem to like the book. Is there a specific moment that stands out that is worth noting?

CORM: On a total geek level, I just thought it was funny as hell that the Crime Syndicate had their universe smoked in the first few pages, same as happened in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. These hoods just can't catch a goddamn break! Who knew they were such a good barometer of pending multiverse carnage?

VI: I guess knocking off the Crime Syndicate at the beginning of your Giant Blowout Limited-Series is quickly becoming a tradition. Always check to see if the Crime Syndicate Universe still exists in order to adequately assess the threat level.

JQ: When Kyle Rayner said, "those are some cool looking monsters though" during the JLA's visit to Marvel's "Monster Island," it was a wonderful shout-out, a great character piece too, if you consider that he's a pop artist who's never been exposed to Jack Kirby.

VI: Busiek seems to be throwing in a lot of "bells and whistles." Don’t get me wrong, I like the bells and whistles, and Wands of Watoomb, and Mother Boxes, and Fin Fang Fooms, and stuff.

CORM: Hell yeah! Fin Fang Foom's guest-shot rocked the fuggin' house! But what I want to know is, how's a hardcore DC acolyte like you even know who Fin Fang Foom *is*?!

VI: Hey, I know my comic history! (Actually, Bizarromark pointed him out in a conversation.)

CORM: Busted!!

VROOM: Blisss.


COMEDIAN: Do you want to get a Lizzybeth @$$-whuppin’ Indie Style? I sure don’t. Keep it down.

SUPES: I really got a kick out of the scene when the Avengers arrive in the DCU to discover the hero-worshipping public. Makes you realize how much the Marvel characters get the shaft in their universe. The Avengers are more likely to get a protest outside of the mansion than fans hanging around for autographs!

JQ: And what about the Batman/Punisher thing? Huh? Huh? God, that's what the mid-90's crossover should have been. Just Batman beating the crap out of the Punisher. Not even panel worthy! I love it...some of the most deft comic book writin' I've ever seen.

BUG: Yeah, that was a great scene. But I just wanted one or two panels showing Bats handing the Punisher his ass - kind of like the famous "one punch" fight between Guy Gardner and Batman. That scene really shows us who’s the bad ass and who’s the poser.

BUZZ: I hope they give Iron Man a Tony Stark moment, like, "Everybody cool it for a minute, while Wonder Woman and I go uh...negotiate peace!"

CORM: Whereas I'm looking forward to the deep insight into the differences between Marvel and DC that'll be revealed when Hawkeye meets Green Arrow and laments, "Aw man, your bird-themed girlfriend is alive!"

VI: I thought the whole scene with the Avengers versus Starro was great, just for the sake of the juxtaposition. I mean really, this is what we signed on for: something very familiarly DC meets Marvel.

BUZZ: Yeah, the double splash page where the Avengers are fighting Starro was the coolest art I think Perez has ever done (Erik Larsen can bite me, btw). Also the splash page with Superman getting kabonged by Thor's hammer.

JQ: One of the things I'd like to talk about is Busiek's use of splash pages (and space in general). JLA/AVENGERS is a 4-issue, prestige format (supersized!) mini-series. To start, they spend two pages destroying Arkon's entire world (and kill Thundra! This is *in* continuity, right? God I hope they don't hit the "it never happened" reset button). ULTIMATE WAR was a four issue, regular sized mini-series. They took four pages to blow up a bridge. They have LESS space to devote to their narrative, and yet they chose to devote MORE of that space to a similar opening. I defy anyone to tell me that ULTIMATE WAR's opening destruction was more poignant than what Busiek did.

BUG: Busiek may have had some misses with POWER COMPANY and THE DEFENDERS, but his stint on AVENGERS sealed the deal with me. He really is a master storyteller when it comes to these icons. I seem to remember quite a few splash pages during his run, but I never felt as if they were being used as padding. Busiek really knows what he’s doing here.

JQ: So many writers today either don't care to write economically or they don't even know how. They'll use splash pages to set scenes, depict action, give dialogue more "impact", everything. Y'know why? It's EASY. If they have 22 pages to fill each month, they know they can gobble up a quarter of that with splash pages or fat panels. Yeah, it's got faults and contrivances and hokeyness, but when it comes to the actual nitty gritty of writing for a comic book, Busiek is outright SCHOOLING a lot of his "hipper" contemporaries.

CORM: And then Thor calls Starro, "Yon Cyclopean sea beast!" Ha! How about that for cool writing?

JQ: From the transitions (e.g. from Flash being attacked by the mob to his DCU return) to the way Busiek uses the Terminus and Starro fight splash pages as a means to convey MORE information than he could if he panelled the sequence by concentrating on moments, this is a model as to how comics - or really any structured medium - should be plotted. Tight and fast, Busiek gets in as late out as early as possible. Marvelous.

MODERATOR: The book seems to be illustrating the differences between the MARVEL Universe and the DCU. Marvel being set in a more realistic world, while DCU taking place in idealistic settings. What do you think this book is saying about each Universe?

VROOM: That bringing them together results in bliss.

COMEDIAN: Damn, Vroom. Get a room, will ya? You and this book. At the Motel 6. Now.

VI: What does this say about the two universes? Why, that the DC universe is better, of course! Seriously, Busiek is obviously looking for grist, so perhaps he's accentuated the differences for the sake of contrast, but I think that the distinction that he made holds up. It's effective grist, let's see where he goes with it. Maybe Marvel could stand to use a little DC in its universe, and vice-versa.

BUZZ: This is probably what the book is saying, but it you really look at it, Marvel is no more realistic than DC. That's what the fans say. The Marvel characters, as we know them, have only been around since the 1960's. The DC characters have been around since the '30s and '40s. A lot of Marvel was a reaction to DC, which later reacted to Marvel in the '80s. The only real difference in the universes are in the minds of the fans and their self images.

CORM: Excellent point, Buzz. Maybe that's why I had to wonder why the DC heroes would be so shocked about the destruction of Genosha when their own world has experienced similar tragedies with Coast City in GREEN LANTERN and Kansas in the cruddy "Our Worlds at War" miniseries. And why Marvel's heroes would be so shocked that the people of the DC Universe revere their heroes...when both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four have appreciated huge public support at times.

SUPES: Corm, come on. Busiek isn't interested in reflecting on the current state of the DCU or the Marvel U. or even recent continuity, such as the crap known as Our Worlds At War.

CORM: It's just shorthand storytelling - I know it, and think Busiek is using it very effectively for a four-issue mini - but Buzz's point stands. Marvel might be a little darker and more paranoid than DC right now, but both companies regularly drift to and fro on the pendulum between "realism" and "fantasy." Busiek's nailed the current balance, though, which is really all you can ask for. Wonder if the project will feel dated in five years when Jemas and Quesada have been ousted and replaced with ultra-traditionalists,

even as DC's turned all their books into slow-paced soap operas to reflect the success of SMALLVILLE?

SLEAZY: Don’t you hate it when they argue?

COMEDIAN: Yeah, it makes my eyes cry when Maw and Paw fight.

SUPES: It's not short-hand. Busiek is telling a story based on his love of the JLA and the Avengers. Not the current convoluted continuity, but the classic aspect of their universes and the characters that make them so endearing. You're arguing something that's irrelevant to this story.

CORM: I'm just musing on the fact that both Marvel and DC have had their light and dark periods, such that even the broad trends (Marvel's darkness and DC's optimism) almost balance out over a period of time. Imagine the 70's Cap meeting the Batman of Miller's "Year One" for an example of the universes flip-flopping their general trends. Or consider that in the 90's, Marvel's cosmic adventure title, QUASAR, was pretty retro and innocent, while in the pages of Quasar's DC counterpart, GREEN LANTERN, Hal had become a mass murderer. See what I'm getting at?

VROOM: Bliss?

CORM: No. The supposedly defining elements of the Marvel and DC universes start to become grayed-out over time. I suppose Marvel still has a slight edge in realism, though, continuing Stan Lee's high concept from the 60's. When I say Busiek is using "shorthand," it's not a criticism so much as an acknowledgment that he's looking at big-picture perceptions of Marvel and DC. Which is just fine for a short miniseries.

SUPES: At the end of the day, I think that despite the differences between the universes, what will be said is that the heroes ultimately share the same qualities and value the same things, despite the way their respective universes have shaped them. They'll just had to smack each other around a little to realize it.

MODERATOR: What does this say about the loyal fans of the Marvel Comics and that of their Distinguished Competition?

VI: What does this say about the fans? Why, that DC fans are much better, of course! Well, I suppose that you could say that DC fans are more optimistic, or have a stronger hunger for denial; or that Marvel fans are more mature, or are small, small people with hostile views towards the world. Despite whatever real world evidence any of us might have to back this up, most comic fans cross from company to company. It's like asking what Neopolitan ice cream says about people who like chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla.

BUZZ: I think fans are attracted to each publisher because of the great characters. I personally became a Marvel Zombie because the DC characters were so well known because of SUPERFRIENDS, the various BATMAN and SUPERMAN TV shows, etc. I associated the DC characters with my early childhood, and the Marvel characters seemed more grown up. They weren't, as I learned, and I remember being stunned when I found out that Artist A and Writer B whom I loved at Marvel, also worked for DC. How could I hate their work at one company when I dug 'em at the other?

CORM: This is actually one of the discoveries that I think separates the mature super hero fan from the company loyalist zombies. I'm speaking relatively of course - *all* super hero fans should be able to acknowledge that they get off on a juvenile genre. And while no one should be ashamed of this, no one should fool himself into thinking that one style of men-in-tights is drastically deeper than another.

LIZZY: BWAH!!! Did you just put “mature” and “superhero fan” in the same sentence?

SLEAZY: Oh shit. Lizzy’s waking up. We’ve gotta wrap this up before she stretches out for another superhero fanboy @$$-whuppin'.

MODERATOR: What about the art? Did Perez do a good job handling this plethora of characters? Is there anyone you would've chosen that you think would've handled this book better?

VI: The art was absolutely amazing. The way Perez managed to const-- wait a minute, did you just use the word "plethora"?

VROOM: A plethora of bliss, maybe.

COMEDIAN: Christ, someone get Vroom a bib, he's starting to drool.

BUZZ: No. Busiek is an excellent writer, but the art is the first draw on this one! This is George muther-grabbin’ Perez, one of the greats to emerge from the Bronze Age! George was the young star when I was deep in my Marvel Zombie days and he instantly became king of the team book. AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR, INHUMANS. Later TEEN TITANS.

CORM: I'll tell ya, if we could raise the late, great John Buscema from the grave, I think he'd give Perez a run for his money. Gene Colan (with Tom Palmer inks) would be pretty slick, too. Only problem is that I don't think either of those gents had a great love of the genre, and for a project like JLA/AVENGERS, you need someone who loves superheroes so much *he'd marry them*. And that's Perez. Also, Perez's storytelling strikes a particularly nice blend between classic American "snapshot" storytelling and the more

cinematic traditions of the East. He's absolutely the best man for the job.

SUPES: Perez is a great storyteller. No doubting that. I like that he gives each character individual features, but... The main reason I'm not a Perez fan is that Thor has a pig's snout on the cover, and Wonder Woman goes from beautiful to plain in the same issue. Perez doesn't render the character's features consistently. Whatever, it's really unimportant and I'm being superficial. The opening with Eternity holding the Milky Way Galaxy in his hands was absolutely beautiful and cinematic.

BUG: No one. And I mean no one. Draws like Perez. Okay Phil Jimenez does, but he always makes his women characters look mean and witchy. For me, George Perez is THE super hero artist.

SUPES: Can we have a comic book fashion moment? My one irk about this project is Wanda having the Cher "Gypsy, Tramps and Thieves" outfit. I know Perez designed it (horrible), but Busiek is going for classic here. Wanda looks like she would win a prize for the worst perm of the 80's. As a chick reading comics, I've never understood why artists don't peek at Vogue mag once in awhile.

SLEAZY: Call me picky, but I think Perez should draw Emma Peel as Uma. And he should give Connery’s balls more hair and oldness.

MODERATOR: Oh my dear sweet lord! Let’s move on to the writing. Busiek seems to handle these characters pretty well. Is there anyone else you think would pull it off? Ennis? Morrison? Johns? Zimmerman (tee hee)?

CORM: If Grant Morrison had penned the thing, you know we'd be getting wilder, more challenging concepts, but less in the way of respect and sense of history. Between the two, I'll take Busiek, but I wish he'd surprised me a little more with the set-up.

VROOM: Don't even joke about something like that. Just mentioning the name Zimmerman throws off my bliss.

VI: Actually, Grant Morrison did pen something like this once upon a time. It's called EARTH-2. And although it's not on the same scale as AVENGERS/JLA, it explored the same idea of heroes crossing over into a different, albeit familiar world. The concepts Morrison applied could be considered head-ier, and the entire package could be seen as pandering less to fanboy sensibility, but if you could find some way to equalize the standards does anybody really want to say that EARTH-2 was better than what we've been given with AVENGERS/JLA so far? I think it's at least safe to say that EARTH-2 wasn't nearly as much fun.

BUZZ: While I don't think anyone could do a better job than Busiek, I wouldn't have any trouble with Mark Waid or Geoff Johns or Jim Shooter or Steve Engelhart or Marv Wolfman writing the book.

VI: I suppose you could also compare this with Geoff John's JLA/JSA: VIRTUE AND VICE, which I enjoyed; but so far, I'm enjoying JLA/AVENGERS more.

BUG: There’s a moment in this book when the Avengers kicked the JLA back to the DCU. In one tiny panel, Aquaman cannot believe the audacity these lesser heroes have to do such a thing, Plastic Man is ready to go back and fight, and Green Lantern makes a cocky comment. It was a tiny panel, but it showed that, like no other I have seen, Busiek is the most talented writer when it comes to writing these icons. I’d love to see Busiek on JLA for a while. I’m sure it would be a doozy. Zimmerman? Morrison? Ennis? Please. Busiek actually likes super heroes and is having fun writing about them. Those guys don’t even like the genre they write about. Maybe Waid, maybe Johns.

CORM: Nope, not even Johns, who seems to have a great handle on the DCU, but a shakier grasp on the Marvel Universe. Busiek's got everything that counts, from an ultrageek's knowledge of Marvel and DC to a very appropriate traditionalist writing style to a keen sense of wit. Jim "SECRET WARS" Shooter would've had some fun with the project, but he'd have distorted a lot of personalities to make it work. Busiek's da man.

SUPES: Busiek is perfect for this project. Waid also loves these characters as much as Busiek, but I don't think he could pull this off. Waid likes extremes. Busiek knows how the characters work, what makes them tick - he's more subtle. Johns also falls into this category. But this was a labor of love for Busiek and it shows.

MODERATOR: Enough with all of this praise. Pick a least favorite scene or general weakness of this book.

VI: Aw man, why you gotta harsh the mellow? Well, I suppose at the same time that I'm enjoying a lot of the old comic book standbys that you all mentioned earlier, (like the mind control and the search for the McGuffin), in a way, I'm also forgiving them. And as you all know, love means never having to have your comic book say it's sorry. Perhaps if I wasn't so familiar with the structure, I'd be enjoying it more.

VROOM: There is no weakness here, only bliss.

SUPES: For me, it was the moment that the Spectre showed up to collect Terminus. The JLA *gasp* as their old friend Hal Jordan reappears. Enough with this, already. It's been done, done and done again in the DCU. That Superman is shocked to see Hal as the Spectre YET AGAIN makes me yawn and want to check my email.

BUZZ: The only thing I haven't liked so far is that the weird, Lovecraftian cosmic menace, Krona, morphed into this chubby blue guy with male pattern baldness. What's wrong with being a malevolent space shadow with plasma-bright eyes?

JQ: You do recognize Krona as the exiled Guardian of the Galaxy, the crazy mad scientist of Qward, and one of the centerpieces of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS? If I recall correctly, he was one of the Anti-Monitor's lackeys, and wound up murdering Mirror Master, Icicle, and some bearded guy in a skirt - I'm sure one of our more DC savvy fellows could fill you in better. It's been about 19 years for me.

VI: JQ’s right. Krona is the ancient Guardian of the Universe responsible for causing the universe to become the multiverse, kicking off into "Crisis On Infinite Earths." And, well, he looks like a fattish blue guy with a receding hairline. He wasn't a lackey of the Anti-Monitor, he was just the Faustian guy who got the ball rolling. Quite a surprise to see him because, to my knowledge, we haven't actually seen him since the flashback in Crisis.

BUZZ: Oh. Him. Looks like a geek. He should stick with the giant shadow look. This has been another episode of @$$hole Eye For The Cosmic Villain Guy.

CORM: I'm not a big fan of the cosmic types using Earth heroes as chess pieces, so those first few pages with the Grandmaster, Krona, and Eternity left me cold. The Watcher gets a pass, 'cause he's always just chillin'. It's all worth it, though, if only to see Busiek and Perez expertly handling world's-coolest-Avenger, Hawkeye, again.

VI: I think it's also worth mentioning that there are going to be people out there who are *not* going to like this book, or at least have a tepid reaction. We give a pass to the old saws, we admire what seems like fundamental superhero action, but at the same time, we have to acknowledge that there's a contingent in comic fandom who has no love for this kind of comic storytelling at all.

CORM: True. And they need to be put down like the filthy Genoshans.

BUG: One thing that was just painful for me wasn’t even in the book at all. It has to do with the regular AVENGERS title. I challenge anyone to read this book and give me a good reason why Hawkeye is not on the Avengers as a regular character. To me, Hawkeye was the star of this issue. His absence from the regular title is one of the main reasons the book is hurting. Every line was classic. His strong presence here just magnifies the weakness of the regular series.

VROOM: I’m filled with so much bliss, it makes me have to pee. BLISSSS!!!!!!!

LIZZY: Wha-what? Are you guys doing another Roundtable? Don’t you @$$holes ramble about sooper heroes enough in the regular column?

COMEDIAN: Oh shit. She’s up.

SLEAZY: Meeting adjourned. Run for it if you value your @$$.

MODERATOR: And with that, the @$$holes ran home. Except for Lizzy who got another drink. And Sleazy, who began to watch THE AVENGERS movie and eat chips. And Vroom, who couldn’t run because he had to pee.

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