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avengersdisassembled04cover

"I also hope that when people read ‘Avengers Finale,’ they’ll see the love and care, which’ll help them appreciate the story and they’ll see it was done with the utmost love and respect." - Brian Michael Bendis

All the destruction in “Disassembled” was a product of the Scarlet Witch’s resentment over the fact that she had lost her children (who never actually, really existed in the first place), and she blames the Avengers for this tragedy. Why? We’re never clearly told, though it’s indicated that she resents the Avengers for keeping the tragedy secret from her. But why, exactly, she now deems all these heroes—who she’s previously saved the world with, lived with, laughed with—worthy of death is really still a mystery. What we can see is an antiquated stereotype that a woman’s logic will always be undermined by her child-bearing nature. Here is the Scarlet Witch, a weathered warrior, a proven hero, yet she spins out of control because her innate animal instincts as a mother smother all reason. She’d rather destroy long-time friends than ask that they explain themselves. Evidently, her maternal needs outweigh all to which her life has been previously devoted—goodness, friendship, redemption, love. How does this make sense? Well, we are told by Doctor Strange that the Scarlet Witch never really had proper control over her magic and, as a result, her sanity has been slowly compromised by her unruly power. And, here, again, is two tired, misogynistic messages: that a woman can’t control herself and that a woman in a position of power always leads to disaster. You can find these themes in many pre-feminist writings, yet it was commonly thought that perhaps we had put these themes to rest, now that women hold top corporate, political, and other such powerful positions across the world. Yet, Marvel must be a few decades behind in feminist theory. More embarrassing, Marvel must also be a few decades behind in their own continuity, seeing as the Scarlet Witch has been learning and mastering her powers over the past 40 years. After all, readers actually watched her training, something rarely seen with other heroes. Yet, this woman is still out of control? What’s worse—she now needs to be de-powered, forced into her rightful place by a man, a sorcerer supreme. - The Problem of the Scarlet Witch: When Bad Girls Go Good, but Not for Good

Story By: Brian Michael Bendis
Art By: David Finch


WARNING for sexism and aggressive exposition dumping.



And we wrap with Avengers #503...

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We cut to the present where Doctor Stranger monologues a bit and then...
The events of the past day. The devestation. The bedlam. I must ask you... is there anyone the Avengers have dealt with who has this level of mystic power? Someone who could orchestrate this level of chaos?


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Reed: Doctor, what are you thinking?

Strange: Please, please hear me out, we don't have much time... There has always been an uneasy structure to Maximoff's powers As a mutant - she was BORN with her powers over magic. Her "hex" power. It wasn't EARNED through spirituality. It was GIVEN to her without understanding of its consequence.

Falcon: But maybe the rules for her don't app...

Beast: I'm sorry, but didn't she have trouble controlling her powers in the past?

Captain America: Yes.

Carol Danvers: Wait! If - if it's chaos magic, then it can be reversed. You can bring them back! Please! Doctor, please, reverse this before it's too late. Bring back Scott! Bring back Hawkeye! Bring back...

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They keep trying to stick up for Wanda, Iron Man pops back up and then we get to this...

Iron Man: Doctor, I'm sorry, I have an immense amount of respect for you... but we cannot accuse a teammate of this kind of terrorism. I need more than your theory.

Doctor Strange: My theory... Listen to me. This chaos magic - the source of her new "reality-altering powers..." I am the master of the mystic arts - and I am telling you... there's no such thing as chaos magic...

(next comes a double page spread featuring more dialogue and Scarlet Witch of the past in skimpy outfits and being all evil in past series)

Please forget we are talking about your friend. And listen to me tell you the story of an orphaned mutant with a sordid, violent past... ...with powers she did not earn nor can she control... powers she never fully understood. Can you understand the delicate mindset of a woman, a person, who has control over reality?

It means reality controls her. Imagination becomes the enemy. Structure disappears. Reality, eventually, as she knows it, starts to slip away. Elude her. Blur. Drama, conflict, tragedy. They become EXCUSES to change the world to fit the image that she has for it. Anything she doesn't like, she can change. No matter how slight. People. Places. Things. Everything is hers to change. But every time she does that, every time she gives in to her desires, no matter how NOBLE they may be...

...a little more of her slips away. She loses herself. Her reason. But she struggles quietly every day to keep it in check - to keep it all together. For a person of strong mind and body, for a person of pure spirit... the task of coping with these powers would be all-consuming.

But here's a woman for whom, by the nature of her upbringing and chosen occupation... every day is stressful, chaotic... and after a life lived with lost love, violence, and drama, what does she do? She says to herself: "I deserve happiness. I want to bring something into this world that is good. That I can love." And she gives birth to children... even though she can't.

She played mommy to make herself feel like someone she thinks is normal. And that ends tragically as well? If I told you a story like this, you'd say to yourself this sounds like a person who has lost control of themselves on a deep psychological level. You'd say this sounds like a disturbed person.

(I personally say you sound like a sexist asshole with all the implications you are making, but whatever. We then have another double page spread of several panels from Wanda in several other series with only one paragraph)

Now does anything I have described NOT sound like Wanda Maximoff?

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Doctor Strange knocks her out since her mind was already delicate...

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With that, everyone just kind of goes home and we treated to four pages from when Scarlet Witch & her brother first joined the Avengers back in the 60's. Certainly better times........




That was a load of s**t.

Date: 2017-01-15 03:12 pm (UTC)
cyberghostface: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cyberghostface
Does this really warrant a warning?

Anyways I didn't think the last issue was that bad, I thought Wanda was sympathetic given what the Avengers did.

Date: 2017-01-15 11:19 pm (UTC)
thehood: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehood
Bendis rationalization that maternal instincts made her crazy was pretty sexist, so i don't think you're wrong.

Date: 2017-01-16 03:57 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tcampbell1000
I'm not entirely seeing the sexism angle. Losing your kids is traumatic no matter what gender you are, and the Vision having no emotions at the time it happened could be said to shield him from the worst of it later. Plus, he got a great scene in JLA/AVENGERS where he had to be talked down from throwing two universes to the wolves rather than accept the loss of his kids, so there was that.

But it IS pretty inconsistent with what's been done before (Wanda had been a freakin' rock for years before this), and following up Kurt Busiek's run-- arguably the most painstakingly researched run in comics-- with a brief Geoff Johns interlude and then this was jarring, to say the least. You can say that mental illness often isn't spotted by one's closest friends, but that only excuses so much here. The story openly mocks the connection we readers believed we had with Wanda (as well as with Jen and arguably several others on the team).

And I really see absolutely no purpose to throwing the idea of "chaos magic" under the bus, since if it doesn't exist, then what the heck IS Wanda using and is it the same thing she HAS BEEN using, or what? Don't hold your breath waiting for an explanation on that one.

Date: 2017-01-16 12:07 pm (UTC)
katefan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] katefan
I agree with the sexism criticism. I would also add that Finch's art didn't help matters any either in regards to it's exploitative nature. It's art like that that I think in part has caused the push to "legitimize" female heroes by putting them in unsexy outfits (i.e. Spider Woman, Captain Marvel). There was never anything wrong with a touch of cheesecake provided it wasn't taken to extremes.

But having Captain Marvel fly around in what amounts to a thong? Yeah... :(

Date: 2017-01-17 03:24 pm (UTC)
wizardru: Hellboy (Default)
From: [personal profile] wizardru
And then the artist simply cannot help but shove her ass into virutally every shot that Carol is in. It's very hard to take her seriously when the art is going out of its way to objectify her continually at every turn.

That said, I really like Captain Marvel and Spider Woman's current outfits a lot. It's not like there's a shortage of sexy costumes.

Date: 2017-01-15 03:53 pm (UTC)
byc: (Default)
From: [personal profile] byc
The series that started it all.

I remember Finch being a better artist then this, even back then.

Date: 2017-01-15 04:29 pm (UTC)
an_idol_mind: (Default)
From: [personal profile] an_idol_mind
I'm not totally familiar with the Scarlet Witch - is this stuff at all consistent with previous portrayals?

One of the issues I have with Marvel and DC right now is that certain writers tend to bend characters to fit their plots rather than letting the characters as they exist drive the plot. I feel like it ruins the purpose of an ongoing continuity.

Date: 2017-01-15 05:51 pm (UTC)
lamashtar: My crap writing senses are burning! (crapwriting)
From: [personal profile] lamashtar
Its a retread of John Byrne's work on Scarlet Witch. Which is itself a retread of every other time they gave Scarlet Witch godlike power and soul connections with eeeevil things. Busiek and the Twilight Sword. Some earlier writer and making the Witch essentially born to be the perfect host for Chthon. (And now her son wants to call himself Demiurge, which is the name of a critter that was a contemporary of Chthon...)

Unfortunately, there is a gender trend. Similar male characters often learn to overcome their unfortunate fates. The women tend to get left with "power makes them go crazy evil". But Asgardian/Wiccan/Demiurge started getting treated like his mom, so equality?

Date: 2017-01-15 08:39 pm (UTC)
kenn_el: Northstar_Hmm (Default)
From: [personal profile] kenn_el
Most of those earlier portrayals overpowered Wanda by means of an outside force (Morgan, Chthon, etc.), while this insists she's just crazy, and, you're right, it's annoying. I pretty much dropped Marvel at this point except for the occasional revisit. Wanda was barely able to defeat a villain on her own, and, while I liked that they made her more effective, the power levels she wields throughout this series were meant to define her as a threat.
At least Jean Grey was possessed.

Date: 2017-01-16 06:24 am (UTC)
lamashtar: My crap writing senses are burning! (crapwriting)
From: [personal profile] lamashtar
Oh, they retconned this heavily. The kids exist, Wanda was possessed. Its not a Dark Phoenix out, where somebody who looked like her did it, its a Parallax out, where its you but with a cosmic force twisting your mind around, so you get forgiven but still remember doing all the bad shit.

Date: 2017-01-15 11:17 pm (UTC)
thehood: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehood
Like the whole thing with Bruce Banner in Civil War II, which didn't really fit with what Pak was doing.

Date: 2017-01-15 11:29 pm (UTC)
an_idol_mind: (Default)
From: [personal profile] an_idol_mind
That's actually exactly what I was thinking about.

Date: 2017-01-16 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daningram.insanejournal.com
That seems to be a pattern with Bendis. He derailed JMS' Thor for Siege, and on a lesser scale, Brubaker's Captain America

Date: 2017-01-15 04:31 pm (UTC)
zylly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zylly
Man, I liked bits and pieces from Bendis's New Avengers (and disliked a lot more), but this is just awful. Especially after all the work Busiek put into setting Wanda right. And hadn't Wanda gotten her memories back years ago anyway? And even if she hadn't, there's no way Jan is that airheaded or insensitive.

While many writers picked up on the threads over the years, I put some of the blame for this on Byrne. He's the one who decided Wanda was reality warper powerful, prone to crazy, destroyed a perfectly good marriage, got rid of the kids, threw out all of Vision's character development (ignoring the fact that he'd been a complex, emotional being from literally his second appearance)...

Date: 2017-01-16 12:11 pm (UTC)
katefan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] katefan
Yeah, I agree with what you're saying about Wanda. I loved Busiek's run and this took one huge dump on it.

Bendis is over rated imo and this proved it. I don't see why he couldn't have continued where Busiek and Austen left off.

Oh, but then we couldn't have gotten that utterly amazing work House of M.

That was sarcasm.

Date: 2017-01-16 11:16 pm (UTC)
zylly: (Hypothetical Situation)
From: [personal profile] zylly
Busiek's run was one of the best, maybe second only to Stern's. He crafted a reasonable explanation for Wanda's powers, set her up to a level of amiability with Vision that had been lost, and was generally moving her forward pretty well.

I'm willing to accept that the Avengers brand was floundering (though I've no access to any sales information from the time period). Busiek created a pretty hard act to follow, Johns floundered under editorial dictates, and Austen... was Austen, we'll leave it at that.

Even if some form of radical reinvention was needed (and from an executive position, I can understand the inclusion of Spider-Man and Wolverine into the new team. Flagship characters on a flagship team make sense from their perspective), and I don't accept that it was, destroying what had come before this badly was not necessary.

Bendis does have characters he does well; but this wasn't it.

Date: 2017-01-15 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] scorntx
Argh.

Five minutes of research on Wikipedia, five damn minutes. Or just reread some of those old handbooks lying around.
Guess what? Wanda wasn't a willing member of the Brotherhood. And she quit. Her and Quicksilver both.
"A premiere member". There were like two other people, and one of them was Toad. And the other was frikken Mastermind.
It's not like one day she just went "hell, let's kill all the humans." Magneto blackmailed her and Pietro into joining after saving their lives.
Five goddamn minutes to just do some basic fact checking. Would that actually kill Bendis? Would his head melt?

... and why does Carol go from defending Wanda to attacking her?
Why is Peter being so judgemental about the Vision?
Why is Jocasta not calling him on his vitalist bs?
Why does Bendis think utterly trashing a character and destroying their reputation for no more than shits and giggles counts as "love and respect"?

Ugh.

Date: 2017-01-15 07:19 pm (UTC)
mastermahan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mastermahan
Of the many shitty things about Disassembled and its aftermath, the declaration that "Wanda is crazy cuz she married a toaster lol" was always a particular pet peeve of mine. Vision is clearly a sentient, emotional being. His brain patterns are based on a human's. His body is nearly human, not that that matters - he even has a sex drive and working tear ducts.

The whole thing smacks of how homosexuality used to be defined as mental illness, or the justifications used to ban interracial relationships.

Date: 2017-01-16 06:36 am (UTC)
lamashtar: Jesus Troll (jesustroll)
From: [personal profile] lamashtar
One scene I enjoyed was when Vision comes back and checks in on the in-laws. He denies feeling bad about it, so Quicksilver comes back and says, "Oh, so you DON'T have feelings? I was right all along?" ::shit eating grin:: And Vision just gives him this I hate you so much look.

Date: 2017-01-15 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] remial
"love and respect"?
you keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

Date: 2017-01-15 05:46 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (victorian witch)
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
Poor Wanda. When I heard about this years ago I knew it was a good thing I quit reading comics around that time. *sigh*

Date: 2017-01-15 07:02 pm (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
Here's a "take" on how Magneto recruited Wanda and Pietro.
http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/4265230.html

Date: 2017-01-15 07:20 pm (UTC)
lordultimus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lordultimus
I think the Tom King Vision series established that the Vision erased her memory at some point.

Date: 2017-01-15 08:32 pm (UTC)
tigerkaya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tigerkaya
Oh god this bullshit of a storm. I look forward to the day Bendis moves to DC and takes a crap on that universe. The faster he leaves Marvel the better.

Date: 2017-01-15 11:23 pm (UTC)
thehood: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehood
People have been saying that since 2002, at this point i don't think that's happening. He'll probably stay at Marvel until retirement.

Date: 2017-01-15 08:53 pm (UTC)
captainbellman: It Was A Boojum... (Default)
From: [personal profile] captainbellman
With movies, the writer has to actually pitch the concept to the studio. With comics, they have to spend pages pitching it to the readers, and we still don't like it.

Date: 2017-01-15 09:39 pm (UTC)
mastermahan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mastermahan
Yet another way this story fails is in terms of basic storytelling structure. When a story's characters are presented a problem, those are the characters who are supposed to deal with the problem. Here, the Avengers react a bunch of bad stuff happening, then Dr. Strange comes in, explains the plot, and fixes everything why the Avengers just stand around. Deus Ex Machina is not something to strive for.

Date: 2017-01-16 10:44 pm (UTC)
bruinsfan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bruinsfan
To be fair, the "fixing everything" was more like a chapter ending that sent her spiralling into remaking the whole world according to her wishes.

Date: 2017-01-15 10:08 pm (UTC)
reveen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reveen
Why are they just sitting around a pool drinking? I get that they have days off, but I'd think these cool, intelligent, super scientist, super wizard superheroes would have more interesting things to do or atleast more interesting places to get drunk on their off days than this Real Housewives stuff.

The Authority runs their own nightclub on their giant starship, other teams should follow suit IMO.

Date: 2017-01-15 11:09 pm (UTC)
byc: (Default)
From: [personal profile] byc
Bendis.

He's not the only one who does that, but it sure seems like it. Everything is made to serve the plot.

Date: 2017-01-16 06:43 am (UTC)
lamashtar: "Wolverine does not appear in this issue" (Wolverine not appearing in this issue)
From: [personal profile] lamashtar
If the Avengers lived in a spaceship, it would get destroyed. They have a bad track record.

Date: 2017-01-15 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gnarll
And then Magneto shows up, wearing the outfit Xorn made when he pretended to be Magneto. And I think that was established, and Magneto was dead at this point. If they were going to do this thing, it would have been much easier to just say she was making Xorn think he was Magneto from his crazy days.

The one thing I'll give them about this is that the entire family seems to lose their grip on reality if they push their powers too high.

Date: 2017-01-15 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] scorntx
Excalibur, which was running at the time this came out, established Magneto was alive and having totally heterosexual bro-time on Genosha with Charles Xavier, despite the whole "dead" thing.

House of M tried addressing this by having Strange ask if Wanda used her powers to resurrect him.
(Rather than just acknowledging that Magneto just can't die ever.)
Edited Date: 2017-01-15 10:25 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-01-15 11:38 pm (UTC)
shakalooloo: (Gorgon)
From: [personal profile] shakalooloo
It's funny that it goes straight from Fury discovering Mrs Bates' body to Falcon asking if they can wake 'her' up. The very next panel on the same page!
Edited Date: 2017-01-15 11:38 pm (UTC)

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