Bendis leaves Marvel for DC Comics – a Fan Reaction
By Drew Mollo
Out of all the things that could have popped up on my newsfeed yesterday, the news that comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis will be leaving Marvel to work for DC Comics was completely out of left field. At first I thought I thought this was a huge blow for Marvel, as Bendis has been one of their most successful writers for almost 20 years.. He wrote Ultimate Spider-Man with pencils by Mark Bagley for 111 consecutive issues – breaking Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s record of 108 FF issues. USM’s success lead to the creation of the Ultimate Universe, which has been an inspiration for much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He and Michael Gaydos helped launch the Marvel Max imprint aimed at mature audiences with Alias – a series about a former superhero turned private investigator that became the inspiration for the award winning Jessica Jones Netflix series. He reintroduced the man formerly known as Power Man to the world by making Luke Cage a critical Avenger. He broke and then reassembled the Avengers more than once. He was the writer for such universe-changing events as Secret War, House of M, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Siege, Age of Ultron and more. He reintroduced the five original X-Men from the past into the present and brought Scott Summers to command a team of X-Men again. He created the Miles Morales Spider-Man with Sara Pichelli (who remains one of the few Ultimate Universe characters present in the primary Marvel universe). He has worked with some of the greatest artists known to the medium to tell countless stories in his own unique fashion. From Daredevil to Guardians of the Galaxy, Brian Michael Bendis has been a pillar of the Marvel writer’s room for years and he has never been afraid to tackle subjects that some may deem controversial.
Surely any Marvel fan is already curious, but let’s consider the situation and the environment for they may give us insight to such a big decision. Marvel just launched their Marvel: Legacy line as yet another soft kind-of-but-not-really reboot that returned many series to their original numbering with new creative teams. This company-wide change was made to counter a severe sales slump with Marvel titles over the last few years ( so far so good but time will tell if it’s a real success). DC Comics bounced back with DC: Rebirth in 2016 and their choice to learn from the mistakes of the New 52 and restore much of the DC Universe prior to 2011’s Flashpoint has been successful so far. Bendis is known for his excellent character development which is something DC characters could always benefit from. Superman, Justice League or even Batman could use his signature style to find stories that help the audience relate with the characters that are often depicted with ideal lives or omnipotent powers and/or abilities.
This announcement comes at a time of change for DC Comics. Already in the middle of their Dark Knights: Metal storyline (quick recap: evil alternate Batmen invade the main DC universe), DC reveals some big changes. The upcoming Doomsday Clock event promises to continue to change the future of DC Comics and its direction going forward. This may be the perfect time and place to get Bendis in on DC’s ground level and start his trademark character building.
Bendis isn’t the first Marvel writer to make the switch amongst the Big Two. His eventual departure is already being compared to Jack Kirby leaving Marvel and working with DC for years. Due to the nature of comic book contracts, many known creators have worked for both companies throughout comic book history as we know it. The comic book marketplace is constantly in flux and both writers and artists are constantly searching for the best place to showcase their talents and grow as creators.
Overall, a lot of unanswered questions remain. When is Bendis officially leaving Marvel and starting at DC Comics? How does this change affect any current or planned series that bear his name under the Marvel banner? What titles would he be starting with? Regardless of his reasons, Mr. Bendis should be proud for all the great work he’s done at Marvel. I wish him luck on this new chapter in his career and life.