Chain Reactions | <i>Avengers Assemble #3</i>

Spoiler's Warning: This post contains potential spoilers for both the Avengers movie and Avengers Assemble #3.

Marvel followed the release of their big blockbuster Avengers movie with the third issue of Avengers Assemble by the team of Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Danny Miki and Paul Mounts. The book features an Avengers team that mirrors the one from the film fighting a revamped version of their classic foes The Zodiac.

"I believe Tom [Brevoort] came to me and said it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a book out that had these characters in print. Because you're involved in what's going on in the creative committee, you're probably the perfect guy to do it," Bendis told CBR back in February. "[I thought] what we need is a book like this in continuity that matters, that's really huge."

The timing couldn't have been better, as issue #3 reveals the big bad behind the Zodiac, which mirrors events in the Avengers film. But how is the comic itself? Here's a round-up of reactions from various folks around the web:

Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: "Outnumbered and seemingly over-powered, the Avengers do what they do best: they keep fighting and never give up. Unfortunately, Brian Michael Bendis' plot doesn't go a whole lot deeper than that. Neither does the character development. The six Avengers assembled here are shadows of the same characters in other books. The most interesting part of the story is Hulk fighting with Leo. There's not a lot of dialog in that scene, but there is a lot of punching and even more over the top sound effects."

Hayden Mears, Lytherus: "Bendis is best known for writing Ultimate Spider-Man, but he may have outdone himself with this brilliant new series. He makes these iconic characters seem so real that they jump right off the page, and Bagley’s art is the perfect companion to his writing."

Ben Silverio, ScienceFiction.com: "Tony Stark and Hawkeye have some funny lines throughout, and one of the Zodiac members’ reaction to the way Thor spoke was funny too, but I think I got more chuckles out of the Zodiac’s reactions to fighting the Avengers as a whole. It was like they were fanboys meeting their heroes for the first time while they are trying to destroy them."

Jesse Schedeen, IGN: "Rounding out the problems this book faces, Mark Bagley is delivering what may be his weakest artwork since the middle years of Ultimate Spider-Man. Bagley's pencils are rough, scratchy, and far below the level of quality seen on any of his recent projects. Even the coloring seems unusually flat this month. Once again it's all too easy to imagine Bagley's recent heavy workload has weighed him down and kept him from drawing at his full potential."

Rob at Crisis on Infinite Midlives: "It happens over and over, so predictably that it might was well be a Cylon plot. The Dark Knight is poised to become the biggest movie of 2008, you say? What a perfect time for DC to kill Batman and put a new guy in the suit! Thor looking to open large? Awesome! Kill him! Iron Man breaking bigger than anyone thought in 2008? Sweet, let’s make him a government bureaucrat! It’s like the front offices of the Big Two, prior to the release of a comic book movie, go days without sleep, subsisting on amphetamines, trying to figure out how to convey to potential new readers, who wander into a comic store to learn more about the character they just fell in love with, that it would be in their best interests to fuck off and just keep right on walking. So imagine my surprise when Marvel, not five days after the release of Avengers in American theaters, put out an issue of a comic book written and drawn by one of their A-list talent teams that looks like the movie, has the same characters as the movie, that is not only action-packed and imminently accessible to anyone who saw the movie, but also goes about answering one of the key unanswered questions from the movie that I have been asked repeatedly since last Friday: 'So, that guy in the scene in the credits… who was that guy, exactly?'”

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