Critics Still Praising Aaron’s Overrated “Enter the Phoenix” Series


The Valdosta Daily Times recently published a sugary take on one of Jason Aaron’s overrated Avengers tales:


Writer Jason Aaron has had a remarkable run on “The Avengers.”

The team has picked up intriguing new members such as Blade and Ghost Rider while keeping the Big Three of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. And he’s placed the team under the leadership of the Black Panther.

He’s expanded the mythos of the Avengers to include a primordial team that formed a million years ago. He’s pulled in the Celestials as part of that expanded history for not only the Avengers but to explain why there are so many super-powered beings on Earth in the Marvel Universe.



As an Avengers fan myself, but only of the material published up to the early 2000s, there was once a time I’d find appointing Black Panther team leader an impressive step. But under a writer as dreadfully overrated as Aaron really is, I can’t see what’s so great about what’s being promoted here, when, with cast members like Blade and Ghost Rider shoehorned in, it merely channels the work of Brian Bendis, who put Spider-Man and Wolverine into the team through contrived circumstances. And who did a horrible disfavor to Scarlet Witch in Disassembled, before making things worse with House of M, among other crossovers. So why must we be excited for a story by one of Bendis’ equally pretentious successors? And why does there need to this kind of explanation for having so many super-beings in the MCU? Surprisingly enough, the columnist admits Aaron’s scripting has faults:


But several of the storylines have also been disjointed. Regular readers of “The Avengers” may feel like they need to buy other titles to better understand the story. And it’s not always clear if those other titles even exist.

The “Enter the Phoenix” story arc is a mish-mash jumble of things happening, with little to no character development or even interaction other than a series of slugfests with each Avenger imbued with the cosmic Phoenix power to see who will be the new Phoenix.

Characters jump from one set piece to another then seem to return to the earlier situation with no real narrative explanation. People show up, they fight then disappear. There are too many characters with no character seeming to have any real personality to distinguish one from the other.

This is too bad.


At least here, the writer’s doing something right, admitting Aaron’s relied on a criminally overused storyline first concocted in X-Men around 1977-80, where Jean Grey seemingly gets imbued with a cosmic energy that subsequently drives her insane, and even, in what’s surely one of the most outrageous premises in superhero history, travels across the galaxy and slaughters a billion aliens in a distant galaxy’s planetary system. To think that as the years went by, this storyline, though retconned in 1985 to establish that a cosmic entity replaced Jean and was the real guilty culprit, would end up influencing later writers is just head-shaking.



If I were a professional writer, I wouldn’t want to draw “inspiration” from that. And character development vanished at Marvel long ago. I remember there was a time when some naïve people believed it impossible for Marvel to be lacking in personality crafting, yet actually thought it impossible for DC provide any of the same, all without considering the writers are the foremost ones responsible for ensuring any at both publishers. Now, neither publisher has any to offer at all; just a whole lot of what’s come to be known as identity politics.


Unfortunately, the columnist falls back on a sugarcoated view of Aaron as a scriptwriter:


Again, Aaron is a talented writer. He’s done interesting things with the Avengers and he’s had milestone runs on other titles such as “Thor.”

The Phoenix story arc feels like it’s part of a larger storyline but one that is not easily available or readily apparent to readers picking up this book that collects “Avengers” issues 39-45.

Phoenix is worthy of an epic. The Phoenix is a character deserving of the full attention of a team as mighty as the Avengers. But the concept deserved a more cohesive plot or more direction where readers should turn to make better sense of the story after investing in this collection.


Umm, wasn’t Aaron the one who launched that tommyrot with Jane Foster taking over the role of Thor while still using his name? And one of the writers who came up with that laughable idea of Nick Fury turning male Thor “unworthy” by whispering something in his ear? I’m not impressed with this lazy lauding. Aaron told the press at the time that his run was about “worth”, which is a pretty weak approach to built upon, when it’s the worth of his own stories that should be foremost important, and his tales don’t have any. Just incredibly dumb social justice ideology pandering.


And Phoenix worthy of an epic? The whole “classic” storyline has become so cliched it’s insufferable, and I tend to look down my nose at many writers whose instinct is to rely on a story building upon mass deaths at the hands of a character we thought was supposed to be a goodie. Because that kind of storytelling has ruined superhero fare in the long run.


Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1