I figure by this point that you've either seen or heard about last week's Civil War II issue, or you don't care. But, just in case, this deals with some of what happened there, so if you are trying to remain unspoiled, come back for tomorrow's post. I mean, it'll be a review of another book about World War II, but it won't spoil this comic for you.
OK, everybody good? Fantastic.
Clint Barton killed Bruce Banner. Ulysses said Banner was going to become the Hulk again and kill a bunch of people, all the heroes rushed over there. Banner, while insisting he can't become the Hulk anymore (and I think the week before, Totally Awesome Hulk did a whole issue just about the fact Banner can't become Hulk any longer, full stop), got progressively freaked out about all this, and it turned out he'd given Clint some special arrow months ago, just in case he did turn back. Clint says he saw Bruce's eyes turning green, he fired, he turned himself in. Here we are.
I will say this for Bendis: A lot of his characters may sound alike. He may have no ability to properly pace a story, meandering along at issues for a time before rushing a conclusion. He may promise one thing, then dawdle along for months or years without ever doing anything. Where was I going with this? Oh yes, despite all that, he is very consistent about wanting Clint Barton to kill people.
He had Clint get murderously angry during Secret Invasion, he somehow decided that Clint was the member of the New Avengers who would try to kill Boss of All Superheroes Norman Osborn. When Clint was on a team with Wolverine, Bucky Barnes, Carol Danvers, and Mockingbird, to name four characters all much more willing to go that route, historically. I vaguely remember him having Clint kill someone in House of M, or try to at least. And now this.
I'm not sure why Bendis is so hellbent on having Clint kill people, when, for much of his history, Clint was a vocal opponent to Avengers killing people, ever. His stubbornness on that point (along with some communication breakdowns and Clint's own belligerence) helped kill his marriage to Mockingbird. He convinced Abner Jenkins to turn himself in and go to prison over a murder Abe had committed. He was on Captain America's side about not killing the Supreme Intelligence in Operation Galactic Storm, whether it was an artificial intelligence or not. Bendis can accept a guy with a remarkable talent for archery can hang with the Avengers, but not that he can do so without killing people, even with a quiver full of trick arrows that can do pretty much anything you need them to do and the ability to hit basically any target he needs to, no matter how ludicrous. Or else he thinks someone having a rule against killing is silly, but he seems to let Spider-Man stick to it (pun not intended, but not objected to either).
After Bendis left the Avengers books, I felt there was a small pushback from a few other writers to reassert Clint's anti-killing stance. Remender had Clint be adamant Avengers don't kill in Secret Avengers, and for all my issues with Fraction and Aja's Hawkeye book, at the end, they did have Clint defeat the sad clown assassin guy without killing him (though I'm not sure Clint avoided a body count up to that point). It seemed to get buried a bit under the portrayal of Clint as kind of a moron (rather than a fairly clever guy who happens to be hotheaded and impulsive too), but it was there. Now this.
On the positive side, Clint turned himself in immediately, so I assume he expects to face consequences and is prepared to do so. Which seems right for Hawkeye. I don't expect Bendis will do anything with it. He's thrown in the shocking moment, it'll fall to someone else to make something useful of it, and that's probably for the best.
As for Banner, it's another pointless death I can't see moving the needle with anyone. I guess it must, though. If it wasn't managing to goose sales temporarily, they wouldn't keep doing it, right? Seems like they could have done something with Banner, even without him being the Hulk. Confidant and helper to Amadeus Cho, consultant for the Avengers, action scientist, something. Or just let him rest for awhile.
And it's the usual Idiot Ball that dominates these things. If you're worried the Hulk will freak out, why send 10,000 superheroes to arrest him, which will probably freak him out? Pick someone calm he likes, preferably one who can get away quickly if need be, and let them talk to him. Like Dr. Strange. He and Banner go way back, Stephen's a calm guy, and he can magic himself away if need be. Just talk with Banner. If we assume Bendis is paying attention to other books, and Strange is still occupied with the war against magic, find someone else. Not Stark, he'd almost certainly foul it up, but there has to be someone. Keep some heavy hitters in the next county over if you really must.