Jekylhyde14

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Will Bendis Revitalize or Ruin Superman?

Let me take you all the way back to the spring of 2004. I was a naive, college student who had been out of seriously reading comics for a few years. Then, after hearing some pregame hype, I decided to pick up the first issue of a little story called Avengers Disassembled written by man named Brian Michael Bendis. And from there... I was hooked again. It brought me back into the superhero game and made me feel excited for it again. Bendis had this way of using ultra-nerdy things from the past but his stories still contained a realistic sense of humanity and gravitas. It was the story that signaled his ascendancy in the comic world, and he had me reading everything he was doing. Fast forward four years later, and I was sick of it. I was halfway through Secret Invasion and I remember thinking, "Man, I've seen this all before and I'm bored."

So what happened during those four years? Did Bendis suddenly become a bad writer? No, not really. To this day, I'd say that Bendis is a really good writer. He's not amazing, but, still, really good. What happened was that his success made him the man at Marvel, and, after becoming the man, he was put in charge of everything. Bendis was pumping out crossovers, multiple Avengers titles, video game plots, and anything else Marvel could throw at him. Basically, I lost my taste for Bendis because I never got a break from Bendis and he never got a break either. After that much exposure, things that were once thought of as his strengths, his dialogue and realistic characterizations, started to rub people the wrong way and became annoyances. Basically, Marvel jumped the shark with Bendis, and now he gets as much derision as he does praise from the comic book community.

As a result, the announcement that Bendis will be the new writer in charge of Superman has been met with both a ridiculous amount of hype as well as a lot of grumbling. Many of my fellow Superman fans here on Comicvine have even sworn to drop all Superman titles when Bendis takes over. Meanwhile, DC prints advertisements for it like Bendis is the second coming. What is my personal reaction? It's: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Personally, I wasn't exactly happy about everything that happened with Rebirth, and I don't expect Bendis to make those things any better but I also don't think he's likely to make them any worse... so... Still, for the sake of doing it, I'm going to break down the things that could be potentially bad about Bendis' Superman and the things that could potentially work. Let's start with the negative.

He'll Ruin Superman:

1) He's still Bendis. He is still more or less the same writer he has always been, so if the things he does really bothers you then they will continue to bother you. For instance, his ping-pongy, trying-too-hard to be casual dialogue isn't going anywhere. It's already reared its head in Action Comics #1000:

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That's already drawn out the criticism, but that's how Bendis writes dialogue. If you really hate the way he writes then I doubt anything he does with Superman will change your mind. He's found his formula, had success with it, and sticks to it.

2) I am convinced that the whole "actually Krypton was destroyed by a villain" angle is a mistake. I feel like I know it's a mistake because I've seen it before in Superman Vol. 1 #205. In that story, it was a villain named Black Zero who destroyed Krypton, and it was tacky and awful. Of course, this was the early Bronze Age and a lot of things were tacky and awful back then, but I feel like it'll go the same way this time around. There's something mythical, almost Biblical about Krypton being destroyed by its own hubris. It could still be a great civilization if not for the fatal arrogance that caused it to ignore its greatest prophet. I feel like it cheapens it to say: Actually, no, it was really this dude:

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3) There is absolutely NO WAY that Bendis can live up to the hype. To be fair, I don't know if anyone could live up to the hype that DC has put into this. It's been way too much. No matter how good Bendis' run is or isn't, there's no way it can fulfill that. You should really chill out, DC.

Now, on to the positives.

He'll Revitalize It:

1) He's still Bendis. There's a reason that Marvel gave him almost every project imaginable. He's a really good writer that does certain things really well. I've always admired how easily he can humanize superhero characters. There was a moment during Hawkeye's funeral where the Avengers were talking about how Hawkeye didn't get along with Captain America, and Bendis delivered a quote that went something like: "If Cap said that he liked turkey then Hawkeye would say, 'Turkey sucks, you suck, and who made you boss.'" I love that quote to this day and it's a good example of how Bendis can create small moments that really make characters feel real. I think he can deliver some good things working with the likes of Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and Jon.

2) It could potentially be a new direction for both Bendis and Superman. Hey, we've seen a lot of Bendis and we've seen a lot of Superman, but we've never seen them together before. The fanboy in me can't help but be curious. It could be a new start for both the character and writer. That could bring new readers and renewed popularity for Supes. The potential is there.

3) Regardless of how it goes down, it will be a major milestone in Superman's history. Just like John Byrne before him, Bendis' switch to DC and Superman is such a big deal that it will be felt for decades to come. Whatever Bendis does to/with Superman will be talked about as a major turning point. Whether you like it or not, it will be a big part of the character's history. We all want to be there for history, right?

Anyway, that's how I see it. It could be a disaster or it could be pretty damn good. Right now, we don't know. Right now, I feel like: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Let me know how you feel in the comments.

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