I’ve written recently about the fact that I’ve been getting more into comics this past year. While there are certainly great comics and bad ones, overall I’ve been really impressed. I had so many misconceptions about comic books that I’m glad have been laid to rest.
One fact that I’ve realized is that for me, the Avengers comics don’t generally work very well, and I think I know why.
First, a caveat: This thought is based off of reading about 60 Avengers comics and watching two big-budget movies, which I realize is a very small subset of the entire run. I may very well be proven wrong later, and I would be excited if that was the case.
When it comes to world-ending or universe-ending calamities, few stories go as big as Avengers, and if that’s your thing, I can see how they have grown so much in popularity. For me, though, I’m not as interested in the disaster facing the Avengers. I’m interested in the characters themselves, and that’s where Avengers generally fall short.
The whole principle of the Avengers is that many superheroes need to band together to fight evil. Although there is always some small drama happening in the background, it’s entirely consumed by the foe the Avengers face. I want to see how characters react to the chaos of their time, how it changes them.
The single-character comics are much better at this. The focus is tighter and the stories have more emotional impact.
I think we see this in the movies as well. In the first Avengers, there were only a handful of characters, and I think Joss Whedon did an amazing job of balancing character development with Loki’s plans. By the second movie, the universe had grown too much in scope, and the demands on the movie were too great for a single film. My fear, as the universe has grown even more, is that this problem is only going to get worse.
I have no doubt Infinity War will be a visual spectacle, and probably enjoyable, given Marvel’s track record. But I have a hard time believing it will be anything more than an enjoyable popcorn movie without much depth.
I’m curious what others think. Do you feel the same way about the Marvel franchise, or do you have a different opinion?