It’s all about the characters.
A well told story tells you a whole lot with very little. A few moments, a few lines, a few sketches of their history and hints at their future and the audience begins to believe that they know them.
In “The Avengers” not only does each character get his/her moment in the spotlight, but each one is distinct, defined and interesting.
Black Widow is in control (or is she?), Bruce Banner is a ticking time bomb, Captain America is everything good from the Greatest Generation and Iron Man is a punk-ass playboy, and each one says so… literally. So much characterization delivered in so few words is truly a thing of beauty.
Power is central to a comic book character’s success. It defines who they are and what they can do. And, more often than not, it gets way out of control.
Characters can easily become so powerful they become boring and indistinguishable. Maintaining a story where there are “levels of power” (i.e. this thing is more powerful than that thing) is critical to making team-oriented stories work. If someone can never be defeated then there’s never any “real” jeopardy they can be in, which means the audience can easily tune out.
“The Avengers” keeps everyone’s powers in balance. In a movie where everyone can be the best, not everyone is. In a movie where everyone can be a god, not everyone is. Some people were strong, others were stronger and a few were the strongest. And everyone’s individual strengths remained distinct.
Hulk not suck.
Three movies later, they get the big, green guy right. Yay.
Mark Ruffalo does a great job playing a man with a love/hate relationship with the monster that he really is. The anger is palpable in both Banner and the Hulk. His rage defines his actions, both as Banner (trying to hold it back or deny it) and as the Hulk (relentless smashing of friend or foe). Also, I liked the allusion that the Hulk wants to keep Banner around, possibly for a greater purpose. Cool.
This is another back-up feature in the first Knock Out Tales. It stars Ezekiel Jones, the Mennonite Madman. Future editions will showcase the other characters in the series; Obadiah Smith (who was raised by wolves), Zerubabel Johnson (an exceptional knife thrower) and Running Buck Haverston (part Indian, part Scotsman, all adventure). I figured if I assured people that they were “true” stories (and saying it twice in the title makes it really true) then they’d be more believable.
Part 2: Interview the witnesses.
This is a short feature that will appear in Knock Out Tales, No. 1. The first page is the scene of the crime. You’re the detective, can you find the clues?