In Regards To Bendis on the Super-Books

Hey everyone,

After looking at the latest solicitations for February and seeing how many books Brian Michael Bendis is writing that month (most of them being Super-books) it got me wondering what you all think of his time on the books.

I’ll admit, it’s been very hit and miss for me. I was really enjoying Jurgens’ run on Action Comics and from what I read of Tomasi’s Superman run, I enjoyed that too. But it really seems like those runs got rushed to their conclusions once Bendis was announced. And from what I read of his Man of Steel mini-series and subsequent books, I gotta say it’s not grabbing me. I didn’t like Naomi, the new Legion of Superheroes isn’t my thing and Leviathan…I lost interest.

The thing is, I like Bendis as a writer, but some of the decisions he’s made have left me cold, like aging up Jon, the identity of Leviathan and now Clark telling the world who he is. In theory they’re not bad ideas, but the execution feels off. I’m getting the same feeling I get whenever DC puts a big name on a Super-book: the stories end up being very forgetable (JMS on Grounded, Snyder on Superman: Unleashed, Azzarello on For Tomorrow, etc) but from the looks of February, DC is going all in on Bendis’ stories. And because he’s such a big name, I’m willing to be this stuff will stick for as long as possible.

I dunno, maybe it’s just me? Does anyone else feel this way? For those who are enjoying the run, can you tell me why? I’m not saying that in a sarcastic way, rather, I’d like to know what you see because maybe my own personal biases might be blocking me from seeing all the good stuff.

Thank you.

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I think they took two excellent books with two excellent writers and tossed them away for the sake of a big name. I will say that if Bendis had been writing New 52 Superman, then I would have no complaints with his stories. It’s just that Rebirth Superman was absolutely perfect–one of my favorite takes on the character.

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@AlexanderKnox I think you might’ve said better in your short post than I did! That perfectly sums up how I feel. I loved what Jurgens was doing. It felt like Superman again. With this…I feel nothing.

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Not a fan. One of the reasons I’ve more or less washed my hands of Marvel was because I didn’t like how Bendis was handling the X-books at the time. And now it looks like he’s just doing the same crap with the Super-books. Big announcements, big promises, little (or none, let’s be honest) pay-off. Sad part is that none of them were necessarily bad ideas, either. Just as @superby1 said, the execution is lacking. I was nervous when it was announced he was coming to DC and writing Supes, and it makes me sad to see that it was justified. :confused:

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I go way back with Bendis. I met him at a comic shop when he was doing Jinx.
His image comics were pretty good…Torso…Sam and Twitch…Powers.
When he got the gig at Marvel his Ultimate Spider-man, Alias, and Daredevil were tremendous. then he started writing everything and some where during his 4,000 Avengers titles he lost me.
When I decided I was going to drop either Marvel or DC he was probably 72% of the reason why I chose to drop Marvel.
Then I read he was coming to DC. I begged on my hands and knees to whatever god that would hear me say"Please…don’t put him on Superman…I’ll be good…I’ll help old ladies cross the street."
And like a kick to the head from the ghost of Bruce Lee my nightmare came true.
And now I read Superman comic books with tears flowing from my eyes and there are a few extra dead old ladies that got hit by cars.

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Wow! Guys, you all nailed it about the “big Bendis letdown”. Every decision he has made–from aging up Jon to Supes and Lois living apart (not to mention allowing your ten-year-old son to leave Earth with his deranged “grandpa”) has been a disaster. I dropped Superman once during the middle of the New52, and I am now contemplating the same decision. Hey, @tuxnut, it’s time to get ALL the old ladies off the streets.

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I’ve said it elsewhere, but the “problem” with Bendis (imo, at least) is that he’s a “crime/street-level” writer. He ALWAYS struggles when it comes to the cosmic/epic stuff. Daredevil, Alias, Ultimate Spider-man, Moon Knight (some questionable power changes aside), and the Defenders were all excellent (again, imo), but he definitely struggled when it came to the Avengers, X-Men, Iron Man and pretty much any time he had to go “big.” I feel like Noami is the best encapsulation of this: the book starts very compelling when it’s just Noami trying to figure out who her parents are and the dynamics of her small town…and then he drops the Multiverse and the Monitors (I guess?) and this whole cosmology into the second half and I couldn’t check out fast enough. I’m not sure what it is, maybe he just can’t wrap his head around the more fantastical stuff the way he can the street stuff, but for whatever reason, Bendis just can’t do “epic.” Unfortunately, Bendis IS a big name writer, so Marvel and DC put him on their top books as often as they can.

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As for how I feel about his DC stuff:
I AM enjoying his run on Action Comics, and in terms of personality, his Superman definitely FEELS like Superman (I do agree that the Jurgens run was great, though, and that he didn’t need to be replaced). Event Leviathan was probably the first event comic Bendis ever wrote that I enjoyed, and what little he’s written of Batman cements my opinion that he should have been put on THAT book instead.
His run on the main Superman title, Young Justice, and the Legion, on the other hand, have all been pretty dull so far. Sure, Legion technically only has one issue out and it’s a complete reboot, but nothing about that first issue made me want to keep reading more (and I’m a huge Legion fan!)

It feels like Bendis is writing 20 comics, when what he should be doing is reading 19 comics and writing 1.

Remember that time on DC when Bendis built on the story of those who came before, instead of finding reasons to ignore/write it away? I feel like I don’t.

Everything Bendis touches feels like an unofficial soft reboot.

Don’t want a functional relationship between Superman and Lois, write it away. Don’t want Supersons? Write them away. Don’t want to read up on DCs organizations? Write them away. Don’t want to read up on the Legion, write the old out of existence. Don’t want Crazy Jor El around? (Ok fair point, no one wanted him around). But yes, write him away.

And none of these things are written away in a good manner. Jon being selected for the legion - terrible writing. The destruction of the clandestine organizations - terrible writing. The reboot of the legion (pretty ok by Geoff in Doomsday clock), but once again terrible writing of Bendis in millenium. The writing out of Jor-El, terrible writing.

Bendis is good when Bendis writes his own stuff. As soon as he touches something that has history he just can’t leave well enough alone. He doesn’t seem to grasp that good ideas are incredibly rare. Writers have been throwing things on the wall for 80 years to see what sticks, and he always replaces the stuff that has stuck in hope that whatever he puts in the place will stick just as well and better.

That’s not how the world works. Rogol is peeling of the wall. According to reviews it’s hard to argue that Leviathan ever stuck at all.

It’s so very tiring. Rebirth was far from perfect in it’s attempt to return lost beloved legacy, but all the good it did has been successfully torn down by writers the last year, and Bendis has done his fair share of that.

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Everyone brings up some really good points, here!

You know what’s kind of worrying? I’ve got this feeling that this entire run will be heralded as one of the great Superman eras, simply because Bendis worked on it.

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Sorry, I’m gonna break with the general sentiment of the topic so far. I didn’t even know who Bendis was before he came to DC. Yes, that is how little I know about Marvel comics. Since he came on, I’ve enjoyed his work immensely. I actually can’t wait to read both Action and Superman as soon as I have time to do so. His Superman feels like Superman to me. He has this larger than life presence on the page, yet also has his struggles as a husband, father and even son. I actually find myself caring a bit more about Clark’s personal relationships now than I did at any point in the last few years. Maybe it’s because of seeing the complications in these relationships and the real consequences those complications can have. I’ve also been enjoying the juxtaposition of Metropolis level stuff on Action and the more cosmic scale stuff on Superman.

Jurgens is, like, DC royalty, especially as far as Superman goes. So I feel like the comparison with anyone else will always be a difficult one to have. With Tomasi’s current popularity, it seems like he’s heading in that direction too. They both did great work in Rebirth. I will say this though…this current Unity Saga story will stick with me for some time. Clark went out to space, confronted parts of his past and peered into the future, all while making hard decisions concerning his family. It’s just been…epic. As much as I enjoyed Rebirth, I honestly don’t remember a lot of it. And that’s not to criticize or belittle of it at all…I’m only mentioning this to convey how much this story has struck the right chords with me so far.

Funny that the original post in this topic mentions For Tomorrow as forgettable. It’s without doubt in my top 5 Superman stories. At the end of the day, and I’ve said this many times in other comments, it’s all a matter of taste. I’ll never be enough of a fanboy to be upset or get offended over others not liking what I like. Having said that I’m sorry you’re all not enjoying Bendis’ work, especially if you’re big Superman fans…must be a letdown. Hopefully whoever is next in line writes something to your liking :slightly_smiling_face:

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@moro no need to apologize at all. Totally understand where you’re coming from. At the end of my original post I asked if there was anyone who enjoyed his run and why, so getting another opinion is always welcomed :slight_smile:

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I’m in two boats here. On one hand, everything Bendis does has potential. I think he’s doing a great job leading the Superman line. The line feels cohesive which is really cool.

Action Comics
Superman
Supergirl
Lois Lane
Jimmy Olsen
Event Leviathan/Leviathan Dawn
Legion of Superheroes
Naomi
(The Question Black Label?)

i think Jurgens and Tomasi didn’t do as good of a job at keeping a cohesive feeling. So in that sense, Bendis is doing a great job. His curation of Wonder Comics is wonderful and his effort to add new characters is valuable and much appreciated.

However, his story decisions have felt weird and disappointing. Rogal Zar was never compelling, Jon should not have aged up (Although I’m not fully against it), Event Leviathan was a let down, and Lois Lane/Superman love stuff is really weird. As such I’m worried about Superman’s Identity reveal.

However, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen (which he helped shape) and Legion of Superheroes (so far) is really good. Honestly, I have a feeling a crisis is coming and then this will matter less.

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To say Bendis’ tenure at DC has been wildly inconsistent would be putting the matter softly.

-Superman just…collapsed in on itself.

-At least Action Comics has an intriguing setting and premise, what with following Clark Kent as a reporter as opposed to Superman as a hero. The problem here being the actual stories don’t hold all that much water.

-I have seen dream journals of Youtube conspiracy theorists that were more coherent and better thought-out than Event Leviathan.

-Young Justice may not be the most canon-compliant book in the world, but at least it’s fun. And no, I will not be mad at a book that made the Stephanie Brown of Earth 3 Batman. No. No, I won’t. You can’t make me.

-Naomi was splendid. The art was fantastic, the story was from-the-heart, the dialogue snapped without being obnoxious, and the central character is an intriguing one from whom I wish to see more.

-And the version of Batman he wrote for Batman Universe is… the best version of Batman in any DC book running right now. And will be until Tom King leaves Batman, thus ending our long and painful national nightmare.

Personally from the works of his ive read i liked his work well enough. however, i have personally never liked aging up characters to fit a single story line which is what i feel like happened with Jon a little bit. I cant remember a story line like that by any writer that i ended up liking. And as far as revealing Superman’s identity its been done before and its never felt necessary or lasting. But i maybe that might just be me.

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I’m new here still I’m a comic lover. After watching "Gods walk Among Us " I realized there was more to Superman! I liked him being evil! Sorry Superman lovers he puts a spin on The good guys and adds a twist to outcomes. Wish there was more too this Bad Superman.

Not a Bendis fan anymore. He had his day in the sun. Then he got too big. Like Miller, he has done his best work years ago and the fan boys just keep buying his tripe. Huge mistake to give him this much control. A writer should only handle one title, and they should coordinate with writers of other books to craft a cohesive character arc.

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God, Tom King. I’m so incredibly tired of his work on Batman. This Thomas Wayne arc has got to end.

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Bendis is ruining DC he and Didio needs to be fired. It is sad where DC is headed I really feel this could be close to the end.

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City of Bane is wonderful. I get if this story is not your thing, but I love what King is doing.