So we've seen Brian Michael Bendis, the longest-running writer in Avengers history, work his New Avengers book into a random assortment of Marvel heroes, to the point where there's pretty much nobody who fights crime in a pair of tights in the entire 616 universe who hasn't been on the team and issued an ID card. But there's always been one holdout – the loner of loners known as Daredevil. He's repeatedly turned down the offer to join the team mainly because his enhanced senses would be a lot harder to manage if he was constantly surrounded by the cacophony of teammates and chattering voices of distraction.
Now, in an interview at CBR, Bendis has revealed the reasons that ol' Hornhead will finally give up the ghost and sign on to the super-hero squad.
"Daredevil doesn't set out to join the New Avengers," Bendis says. "He get's dragged into working with them. He makes a big splash with the New Avengers during Fear itself. He comes in and has a really great moment that gets everyone feeling like he should be part of the team."
Yeah, but that doesn't mean his powers work any better on a team, right? Apparently, healing his relationships from his personal nadir in Shadowland take precedence over his actual functionality.
"The wounds of Shadowland are still a little raw," Bendis explains, "but the friendships between the characters are that much stronger. The truth about this group of characters, more or less, is they've all been at the receiving end of everyone else's mercy and understanding. They're all characters that built quite a thing around themselves because of the second chances they were given. Matt's not asking for a second chance or even believes he needs it, but once he's given it, he realizes how much he needed it. The fact that the invitation to join the Avengers comes after Shadowland makes it that much more emotional. It's like, 'You guys really are my friends.' I think that's what makes the invitation impossible to turn down. If it came to him during the swashbuckling days, it would have been, 'Okay I appreciate that, but…' When it comes, though, after everyone has seen him at his worst and they're still willing to be his friend? That's pretty cool."
That seems to jibe with Mark Waid's new outgoing and gregarious take on Matt Murdock in the new Daredevil series, and sharing characters with other books is what Bendis says he likes to do. "New Avengers always had the characters doing something else. It lets the characters come and go with a nice fluidity which essentially created a continuity. I like it when things happen in other books, and when I can, I enjoy calling attention to those things in a way that will hopefully lead to one of our readers buying a book they might not normally buy."
What else is on the docket for Marvel's premiere superteam? Well, namely, the return of Norman Osborn, the Dark Avengers and H.A.M.M.E.R., which will become Marvel's most dangerous terrorist organization now that Nick Fury has achieved the complete destruction of Hydra in Jonathan Hickman's Secret Warriors series.
"What you're going to discover is what H.A.M.M.E.R. has evolved into in Norman's absence," Bendis reveals. "H.A.M.M.E.R. will have become something that involves two or three corners of the Marvel Universe merging together to create one super-organization that there's no way Steve Rogers and his S.H.I.E.L.D.-less defense system can battle, You're going to see some cool shit. You're going to see Madam Hydra, Gorgon, Norman, Superia and quite a few other characters coming together to create a H.A.M.M.E.R. that can not be defeated. Plus, they have a secret weapon that Norman didn't know about. It's revealed to him and the audience very early in both the pages of Avengers and New Avengers."
Bendis also says that the main Avengers title will focus on dealing with H.A.M.M.E.R. as an organization, while the New Avengers will be fighting the Dark Avengers. Then there's also the matter of Wonder Man's Revengers.
"For those who wanted to know how I was going to ruin Simon Williams further, here's your answer," Bendis quipped, referencing how often people rail against him for his characterization choices. "Last year, Simon made it very clear to the Avengers that from his outside looking in perspective, he now sees the Avengers as a mistake. He holds them responsible for quite a few sins against mankind and he's pretty much told them, 'Shut it down or I'll shut it down for you. Obviously they weren't going to shut it down, so he's here to shut things down for them. To help him, he's created a team of Revengers that is composed of ex-Avengers and people with ties to the team."
All this is designed to gear up for next summer, which sees the release of the live-action Avengers movie, which everyone is salivating to see, and Bendis is well aware of the need to raise the comic profile of the team. "Marvel has asked me to think about what I could do to capitalize on that. I have quite a few things on my plate, including some things that haven't been announced yet. Some of these things are going to be very exciting for a lot of people. We're going to break some molds. We're going to do things very differently coming up through the spring and summer. The fallout of the H.A.M.M.E.R. story is going to set up a great deal of what is coming forward; a season that I see as the Summer of the Avengers."
So what do you think? Should Daredevil be an Avenger? Is it too soon to bring back Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. after they dominated so long in Dark Reign, and should they really be a full on replacement for Hydra? Is this a cool direction for Wonder Man, or is he really 'ruining' Simon Williams? Sound off. Let's hear it.