Okay, assholes -- there I go!

What do you do, when they're killing you slowly, bit by bit? When they've got this thing you've loved since childhood strapped in a chair, and they're beating it, and breaking it, and tearing bleeding squirming pieces of it off over and over again, and it's SCREAMING, God, it's SCREAMING, and you can't do anything but watch?

You stop watching.

You walk away.

I finally did it last year. I'd watched the Quesadas and the Bendises and the Millars and the Brubakers and I don't know who the hell all else torture and rape and mutilate the Marvel Universe through all that ULTIMATES horseshit and AVENGERS DISSEMBLED and CIVIL WAR, but when they brought Bucky back to life as a Soviet super assassin I was fingering the button and when they killed Captain America I finally slammed the fucker down. The ejection seat activated and I bailed, for good and for all. (The simile breaks down there, though; where a pilot would bail out miles in the air, by the time I finally jumped Marvel's ship, I been carried so deep into depths so bleak and dark and cold I thought I'd never see the surface again.)

It was a mercy to me. Suddenly I just didn't have to care any more. I'd hear something about MARVEL ZOMBIES or WORLD WAR HULK or some new miniseries featuring The Mighty Destroyer whose sole purpose for existence seemed to be the publication of lovingly detailed graphic depictions of elderly men putting their fists through peoples' heads, and I'd just shrug. It didn't matter to me any more. I was out. I was done. I was over it, and moving on.

But like that one guy said, just when you think you're out, they pull you back in. Or, at least, they try to.


Words of power, at least, to a vintage 1970s Silver Age Marvel Comics True Believing Frantic One like me. The Invaders was Roy Thomas' first venture into what he himself fulsomely labeled 'retroactive continuity', a strip where he took Marvel's three most popular WWII era superheroes (Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, and the Human Torch) and combined them into a superteam that had never been published during the actual Golden Age of comics. As mostly illustrated by Frank Robbins, The Invaders remains one of my favorite strips of the 1970s, and is easily the best thing Roy Thomas has ever written (for whatever that particular accolade may be worth to you).

And then, well, if you haven't figured out I'm an insanely devoted AVENGERS fan yet, well, either you're new here (welcome!) or you just haven't been paying attention.

Plus, I've been known to like me some Alex Ross artwork at various points in the past, too.

So I read something about an INVADERS/AVENGERS crossover out on the Internet, and Alex Ross has something to do with it, and, well, I'm thinking "hmmm... you know, that could be... maybe... hmmmm....".

Fortunately for me, my local geek shop had a free AVENGERS/INVADERS promo book up by the cash register last time I was over there getting some Magic cards, and I took a copy home, and... well.

A quick glance inside reminded me of what I (somewhat to my shock) had managed to at least partially forget over the past year or so (traumatic amnesia can be so healing). And it all came rushing back like a magic uru hammer returning directly to my prefrontal lobes -- Avengers? Where? When? How? Who? This ain't no Avengers, Brian Bendis and Joe Quesada don't need no steenkin' Avengers to publish a book called The Avengers... or, for that matter, two different ones.


And if that wasn't enough, well, then there was all the rhapsodic gushing within by various people involved in creating the thing as pertains to the sheer overwhelming emotion of a story in which the contemporary Avengers had to deal with the return of their murdered comrade, Captain America... not as they remembered him, but as he'd been when a very young super-soldier, fresh from fighting super-Nazis in the frantic 40s.

"Wounds still raw from the CIVIL WAR, still deep in mourning, how will the Avengers deal with blah blah blah blah BLAH..."

Oh, yeah, now I remember. Those fucknuts killed Cap off, too.

Feh feh feh.

So, you know, when I read, as it seemed inevitable I would, that Alex Ross wouldn't actually be doing artwork for the series (other than covers) but was, instead, just co-plotting it, well, I was actually relieved. Usually when I hear that Alex Ross is involved in some project, and it turns out (as it inevitably always does) that although all of Ross' success and prestige has come from doing actual comics artwork in the comic book field, he's no longer troubling himself to do that, but is instead opting to collect no doubt grotesquely inflated paychecks for 'co-plotting' along with a few fast pencil sketches and throwing in a few covers, well, it irks me, yes it does.

But not this time.

See, if Ross had done the artwork, I'd have had to buy this christly thing regardless of how shitty it was (and I have no doubt will be) but as he's not, I'm off the hook.

(Let me also add that had it turned out Alex Ross was doing full internal artwork for this or any other miniseries, I'd have been astonished. Alex Ross has done full artwork on two series, MARVELS and KINGDOM COME, and he has, apparently, taken a vow never never never to do actual comics artwork ever again. And he certainly doesn't need to, since most of his fans are so fricking stupid that they'll buy anything his name is attached to, even if all he can be bothered to do is spout off some bullshit ideas off the top of his head and doodle a few sketches in a notebook. Although I have to presume that said bullshit ideas and/or doodles are the most highly paid bullshit ideas and/or doodles in the history of comics. Nice work if you can get it.)

Speaking of nice work if you can get it, wouldn't you love to be able to draw stuff like this?

By which I mean, wouldn't you love to be able to take the same frickin' double page spread you've already recycled about fifty times to date, throw it on a lightbox yet again, and quickly pencil in some different costume details so instead of it looking like the Justice League, or the Legion of Superheroes, or the characters from Top Ten, or God knows what all else, it looks like a bunch of crappy old characters from Golden Age Timely comics that nobody recognizes because they're too lousy for anyone to have bothered trying to revive or even reprint them up until now? Wouldn't you love to be able to do that and collect yet another paycheck for that same old piece of artwork? Hell, I would. If I could just rework the same basic piece of art over and over again for a few thousand bucks a month, I'd be all over that shit. Why bother to actually create something new when I have fans and editors out there stupid enough to let me turn my own old artwork into an ongoing cottage industry?

Anyway, they NEARLY got me, and would have, too, if they had a decent Avengers team (which would have to include a still living Captain America) to team up with the Invaders.

Of course, if they still had that, they wouldn't have lost me in the first place.

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