Friday, October 28, 2005
THE F*@% YEAH FILES #7: Avengers visit Ultron without an appointment
If I had access to a Wayback Machine and could travel through time, there are a number of things I would do:
1) I would make sure that Kevin Maguire did all the artwork for the Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty mini-series, instead of just the first three issues.
2) I would steal and burn Young Dave’s piano key scarf so that he could never ever wear it again.
3) I would stop Terri Garr from acting again after Tootsie.
4) I would prevent Young Dave from actually standing in line to see Independence Day.
5) I would provide the Spartans at Thermopylae with repeating carbines and grenades, just for fun.
6) And I would make sure that George Perez drew tighter pencils in The Avengers #22.
I don’t know what it is about this issue, but it lacks the clean, tight artwork that I’m accustomed to from George Perez. The art looks rushed and scratchy. Perez is credited with “breakdowns” for this issue and Al Vey is credited with “finished art,” so that might be the problem. Vey inked over Perez’s pencils for most of the Busiek/Perez era, and I always thought the stuff looked great, but perhaps in the crush of looming deadlines Perez only had time for looser pencils. The rendering and composition looks great, but there’s a rough quality to the work that throws me off.
Why would I care? Because The Avengers #22 has like, one of the most kick-ass scenes of any Avengers comic ever! I just think it deserves the full-on Perez magic, that’s all.
The Avengers #22 is the big climax to the Ultron storyline, in which a team of Avengers fights to save their comrades from the clutches of the monstrous robot. In previous issues The Avengers have had to invade the nation of Slorenia (which Ultron has pretty much destroyed), repel a horde of undead cyborgs, slay a giant Ultron robot, and then fight pretty much every model and variant of Ultron that has ever existed. After all that, the battle-weary Avengers bust through a wall and face The Big Boss:
That's a good line, but then Thor can make anything sound cool. "Verily, good man, fill the God of Thunder's tank with five dollars worth of precious petrol from pump number five!"
You know, that’s the thing about Dramatic Entrances – you have to earn them. I remember reading some X-Men comics long ago – I think it was the Xtinction Agenda or something, the one when they were all trapped in Genosha – and there was like, a dramatic entrance or rescue every other page. It was the superheroic equivalent of a horror movie where somebody gets killed every 45 seconds. I ask you, would that be a scary movie? No. No, it would not.
I think there’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned storytelling values of pacing, varying the tone, building up to a climax, and making the reader invest emotionally in your story. This Avengers storyline accomplishes that – when the rescue team of Avengers finally busts in on Ultron, damn it, you are PSYCHED! Psyched, damn it!
That’s why this scene gets a special kid-friendly magical happy F*$% YeaH!