After several years as the main writer, this issue marks the final story of Brian Michael Bendis’ tenure for Marvel’s premier superhero team. The conclusion to “End Times” finds founding member, Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) reuniting with her Avengers teammates, as well as making a powerful new enemy. This four-part story ensures Bendis goes out with a bang by featuring his trademark witty dialogue, as well as a distinct camaraderie few team books have ever displayed.
Most of the issue involves the Avengers venturing into the microverse to rescue The Wasp, as well as attempting to defeat a powerful dictatorial new enemy, named Lord Gouzar, who is superior in power in every way. While it’s not really a huge spoiler to reveal that the Avengers defeat him, this issue is much more important in that it features the return of not one, but two, heroes to the roster. Namely, the aforementioned Wasp and Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man, who redeems himself by coming to the aid of his former teammates.
This issue was enjoyable in many ways. Particularly, the welcome home party for Janet, with wonderful down-to-earth, human moments, which Bendis specializes in. This issue is also a “passing of the baton” of sorts to Jonathan Hickman and Rick Remender, who will be the new custodians of the Avengers in their respective titles. One line, in particular, spoken by Tony Stark, sums up Bendis’ entire Avengers run: “Go bigger.” Which is just what the new Marvel NOW! initiative is all about. Especially Remender’s Uncanny Avengers book, which features an amalgam of Avengers and X-Men on one team. This is not only a coda for Bendis and the team, but also a challenge to the new writers to bring about a brave new beginning. Very fitting.
When compared to Bendis’ entire run, this final issue is more of a farewell for him than it is a conclusion to the series’ run. In many ways, this issue feels like more of a transition than an ending. Which is fine, since that’s pretty much how Bendis entered, with his Avengers Disassembled story. While this title was a bit different from his New Avengers book, it was still very much his own. The only difference here is that this book seemed to feature a more collaborative effort between Bendis and various artists. For example, the “jam session” between artists Brandon Peterson, Mike Mayhew, and Terry Dodson throughout this particular arc. While I’m not usually a fan of this, I have to say that their different styles meshed well together for this last chapter.
The real treat of this issue, though, was the dialogue. As mentioned earlier, the welcome home party for Janet was filled with humor and a lot of relatable, human moments that really showed this team as a family, more than anything… even if it is sometimes a dysfunctional one. It’s here where the writing truly shines, as it has always been with Bendis. As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, I’m going to miss him on this title, as well as its sister book, New Avengers. I look forward to seeing what he can do with the X-Men. Farewell, Mr. Bendis. It’s been fun. 8/10