I believe that for any character to be great, the person writing them has to have some kind of love for the character or at the very least a respect for them. While Bendis is a good writer I think he tries to be too hip characters up too much and in the case of the Avengers I think heís like a kid thatís been given way too many toys to play with and he neglects many of them just to expedite the storylines he has planned.
I can respect that heís been building this grand Skrull invasion thing since he first got on the Avengers titles and that clues have been seeded throughout them over the years but honestly, if it doesnít blow our doors off when the giant conspiracy comes to light itíll go down as The Avengers Clone Saga.
With that said, I believe he respects Wonder Man as a character, but he has no real love or enthusiasm for the character especially with so many heavy hitters on the Mighty Avengers. Simon tends to be put in the background despite his being billed as ďThe second greatest Avenger EverĒ by Stark. I mean seriously, if heís considered the second greatest, he should be used like Thor and considered the front-line of the heavy hitters on the group. Clearly this isnít the case and Simon takes a back-burner to Ares, Sentry, Ms. Marvel and Iron Man because these characters are clearly favored by Bendis.
I also now have doubts that weíre seeing the real Simon Williams at this point unless Bendis is deliberately trying to throw a red herring at us. My examples are Sentry carrying Simon into that first battle with Mole Man and Ultron, Simon suddenly remembering heís ionic and that the Venom Virus wouldnít infect him and his insane insistence on liking his look and not wanting to change all sort of go against the grain of Simonís personality, powers and abilities.
Another thing that could be happening is Bendis is once again shoe-horning the personality and powers he likes into the character and dismissing everything else in favor of his revamped vision of him.
I think I have to side with Mitchell on Wonder Man himself as being fine as long as the person writing him has a genuine love of the character and gives a damn about researching his powers and history. Kurt Busiek and John Byrne are perfect examples of this when it comes to Wonder Man. They both seem to have a genuine affection for the character and have forged new and exciting storylines with him by using what has already been established.
A great example of this is the Grant Morrison run on JLA. Each and every character is handled with care, love and dedication. If that kind of attentions was being paid to everyone in the Avengers books they would leave every other title in the dust.
Frank brings up some interesting ideas about Wonder Manís powers and Gerard Jones did try exploring these ideas and Kurt Busiek has expanded on them. Like nuclear radiation in the Marvel Universe, Ionic energy has mutation powers as well depending on who gets zapped with it. I think after his experiences in L.A. with exposing people to ionic energy, Simon would probably not want to employ his energy as blunt force energy beams like Count Nefaria does. So far Simon pouring ionic energy into Ultron has been the only real use of the energy as a weapon heís done since his solo series in the 1990s. Even then, itís somewhat debatable how much of it was really him doing it and how much of it was part of Mephistoís reality warp around Simon.
I really have to disagree with Double K on the whole Simon going back to his inventor roots. While itís a neat idea, I think Its been established that Simon really hated that part of his life and his interest in being a munitions man, inventor and CEO were all pretty much heaped upon him by his overbearing father. All of this led to Simonís decision to embezzle which led to him being publicly humiliated and jailed. I mean the guy was so out of sorts with anger and shame he became a guinea pig for a wanted Nazi criminal hiding in South America.
Also, I think it would be a mistake to make him some kind of energy absorbing sponge like Count Nefaria since Nefariaís mutation by ionic energy was way different than Wonder Man who was specifically designed to mutate into the being he became while Nefariaís was an accidental side effect of the Sturdy Process.
Simon is an ionic furnace, his bodyís cells produce the stuff like mad, so having him absorb it and became some power crazed Ion God would kind of ruin the character. The reason most people love the character is heís a regular guy who got the power of a God but he doesnít let it go to his head because of his humility and guilt driven personality.
I donít think giving him these amped up powers would do anything but confuse people and make them think heís an energy being, which drives me effing nuts! The one flaw I see with the Kurt Busiek run on Avengers was keeping the ionic energy look after he was fully resurrected.
Though I will say this, I do kind of miss the jet belt. So I agree with you on that point. I liked that he has a sort of handicap when it came to flight, but since heís learned to tap his ionic energy better he no longer needs it.
I also have to disagree with Frank wanting Simon to become a dark and brooding character. Again, back in the 1990s his solo series went from being a really fun, adventure read to turning into a Frank Miller ultra dark and violent film noir in order to boost sales. In all honesty it didnít work and before they could turn things around the series had gotten cancelled right when he was becoming a Superman Protector of the Earth type of figure.
Seriously, the Simon we see right now hasnít gone through the insanely epic horrors and tragedies that Hollywood and the Future Wonder Man from My Fair Superhero have. It wouldnít make any sense for him to make such a massive turn from a well-adjusted person to a dark brooding loner that mopes around being depressed about what he couldnít change and who he couldnít save. Unless the Skrulls wipe out all the Avengers but him, I donít see a reason for Wonder Man to take this sort of turn towards the dark side.
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