Tom Brevoort’s Brian Bendis New Avengers Vs. James Robinson JLA Hypocrisy

In his regular column over at CBR, Marvel Exec Tom Brevoort slams DC for its current “non-classic” Justice League of America. Coming from the guy that lead Marvel’s “non-classic” New Avengers rebirth, I find that a bit rich.

What was heard from Mr. Brevoort:

I was opining — not that I mean to talk about DC’s books too much — about how the current Justice League line-up doesn’t feel to me like the Justice League. For all that it’s got a crew of cool and relatively perennial DC characters, they just don’t feel like the Justice League to me. The kind of ridiculous example I gave was that if you were in Gotham or Metropolis and some awful thing was going on and you sent out the signal for the Justice League and then these guys showed up…would you feel worried? [Laughs] Would you look at them with some trepidation and go, “Where’s Green Lantern? Where is Superman? Where is the Flash?” These guys don’t have the gravitas of the Justice League. And I think that has to do with, at least in my estimation, the fact that you need to have — and I don’t have a firm number here, but you need to have enough team members that feel like they’re really — no B.S., no sideliners — core DC heroes. That’s what makes it feel like the Justice League. I don’t think you need the Grant Morrison “Big Seven” necessarily, but you need something. I’d point to the Brad Meltzer run as the right sort of combination. He brought in some newer and younger and less storied heroes in contrast to the big characters, but you had Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman too. That felt like the Justice League.

Now, I was very skeptical of James Robinson’s new JLA too, but in point of fact its the best written and drawn team book in DC on shelves today. Period. That said, my real concern over this JLA was the “fluid” roster until recently. But, is it a solid JLA team book or just a solid DC team book?

However, I do think that Tom Brevoort’s comments on the JLA are hollow if you compare his leadership on New Avengers and what he’s said before on his non-classic “successful” New Avengers.

We’ll use any and all of the classic Avengers characters as the situation demands it, of course, but those folks who are hoping for a full-blown reversal of the last ten years and a complete return to the Avengers of a decade ago are sadly in for a disappointment. And the reason for this should be obvious: in the last decade, AVENGERS has become the leading franchise in comics, and that’s in large part due to the alterations we made in the basic formula. I love the classic Avengers as much as the next person-and I edited them for a good, long time-but there are clearly so many more readers who are interested in the team and the book since we turned over the apple cart that there really isn’t any good reason to go back, other than nostalgia.

So, Avengers “formula” changes are ok, but JLA “formula” tweaks (not wholesale changes) are not?

Now, I was a vocal critic of calling the first incarnation of New Avengers an actual Avengers book. It was a Marvel team book, but not an Avengers team book due to the lack of classic Avengers in its ranks. That’s the position I sort of still have with Robinson’s JLA. However, I really am enjoying the book on both writing and art sides, but it doesn’t feel like a classic JLA book, but it is a great DC read.

Unlike the first incarnation of New Avengers, at least the various casts of James Robinson’s JLA had connections to the “icon” super-hero spot they were taking on the team. No Superman? Ok. How about Mon-el (who was anchoring a Superman title at the time) or Supergirl later (who is a part of the Superman family). Yes, there were others like Congorilla on the JLA, but most of the cast had a “connection” to a classic JLA icon.

What exact Avengers icon spots were Spider-man, Spider-Woman, Sentry and Wolverine filling in “New Avengers”? None. The only Avengers on the team were Captain America and Iron Man.

Even that first incarnation of Robinson’s new JLA in Justice League of America had more classic JLA’ers in it than the first New Avengers did. Today, Robinson’s JLA has even more icon “family” characters on it. So, while it doesn’t feel like the big 7 JLA to me, it feels more in the “spirit” of a JLA book than New Avengers ever has.

What’s the difference between mine and Tom Brevoort’s views of New Avengers and JLA? Well, my views have been consistent and Tom’s views can be accurately called hypocritical.

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