ARE YOU AWARE …. that Barnes & Noble is Charybdis!? The redoubtable suck-ya-under-to-Hades Greek Whirlpool has its webbed feet (how does a whirlpool grew webbed feet? Do like Zevon say – roll with the punches!) firmly implanted in your Upper Middle Class! “No, we don’t HAAAAVVVVEEE ‘The October Country’ by Ray Bradbury in the store, but we can *INSERT MEGALOMANIACAL LAUGHTER HERE* ORRRDDERRRRR it for you! MWAHHAHAHAHAHAHA — Just sign your name with this here smokin’ pencil…” By the by, True Believers, never inquire about the potential in-store habitation of Rabelais’ “Gargantua and Pantagruel” and Vern’s “Seagalogy: The Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal” in the same exhalation; you’ll devote the next several minutes cleansing chunks of Exploded Barnes & Noble Bookseller from your Tapout hoodie and Jackass cap…
Good fortune doth shine upon us, tho’, like the highbeams from the Ford Thunderbird adorned with the two (2!) 311 stickers that threatened my existence on the GSP a mite earlier today — Good fortune, good reading, appears in the form of “The Avengers Assemble: An Oral History of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” by Brian Michael Bendis, collecting the ancillary features of Avengers 2010 #1-12 & New Avengers 2010 #1-11. Your favorite heroes are given the extemporaneous sit-down-and-chat treatment ala “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution” (a delectable misfire) and “Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live” (self-indulgent indigestion that, naturally, held my attention from Chevy, Dan, and ‘Lushi all the way down to the cast I refer to as Ferrell and Friends). Bendis’ interpretation (yeah, they’re ALL interpretations – This ain’t your momma’s Avengers) demands applause for its creative ambition, if you will kindly excuse the (to me) Thoroughly Bizarre Notion that Captain America, the Vision, and Hawkeye utilize the same grammatical sensibilities in the interview format!?!? Your favorite (and not-so-favorite) heroes are included in this volume, each with his/her memories to share about Kang, the Space Phantom, the Kree/Skrull War, Captain Mar-Vell, and yes, even, Those Damn Hippies, The Uncanny X-Men!!!
I know this book was released earlier this year, so I apologize if the review is not exactly timely. Please comprehend, as comics go, I am still living in the years 1960-1990, before Todd MacFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee surgically excised the Fun outta Superhero Comix! Therefore, this book is a neato bit of candy for a guy who clenched this book in the BRAINSTABBINGLY LAMENTABLE WASTELAND OF THE GRAPHIC NOVELS SECTION OF THE LOCAL B&N and audibly whispered to No One Who Was Listening (a deity like the Watcher, but with Mitch Hedberg’s hairstyle and demeanor), “Please leave the Living Lightning outta this..” Wish Be Granted! The book terminates abruptly in the ret-conned (or is it? what is straight and narrow in Midgard nowadays, anyways!?!?! Keep John Byrne on Speed-Dial!) early 1980s, so you will not read about Starfox, the West Coast Avengers, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Quasar, the “face turn” of the Sandman, Acts of Vengeance, and even the Beyonder, among other noteworthy character/timelines/events that kept DC Comics huffin’-and-a-puffin’. Perhaps I am, like Sgt. Murtaugh, too old for this @$%&*!, but this sudden Draw of Curtain, End of Story, Final-Look-Around-the-Empty-House-Before-You-Shut-the-Door-on-the-Final-Episode-of-Your-Sitcom is delightfully OK with me.
The Wasp is dizzy, Captain America is occasionally aloof, and, of course, this is really Tony Stark’s book. Enjoy, kids, enjoy…then hit the back issues and swim in the Stuff it All Came From.