Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by David Finch and Danny Miki; Alex Maleev; Steve Epting; Michael Gaydos; Eric Powell; Darick Robertson; Mike Mayhew; David Mack; Gary Frank; Mike Avon Oeming; Jim Cheung, Steve McNiven and Mark Morales; and George Perez and Mike Perkins
Colored by Frank D'Armata, Brian Reber, Morry Hollowell, Andy Troy, Pete Pantazis and Justin Ponsor
Lettered by Comicraft (Albert Deschene)
Three months after their final battle with the Scarlet Witch, the Avengers decide to disband...
There's no real reason that this couldn't have been Avengers #504 — except that by making it a special, Marvel can pass off less story for mor money. And such a slight story it is — there's nothing here that couldn't have been accomlished in a fraction of the space. Still, it's nice that they at least tried to provide a sense of closure, even though that was ruined by the release New Avengers #1 only two weeks later.
There's no point in even discussing the art — half of the book consists of pin-ups, and other half was drawn by six separate artists. The longest individual contribution to the book is George Perez, who cranks out six pages1, including a double-page splash. There's no consistency in the storytelling or character designs at all. It makes me long for the days of someone like Joe Sinnot, who could have inked the entire book in his sleep and given it some sort of visual unity.
Even the pin-ups are of highly variable quality. Most are well-drawn, but nothing spectacular. Particularly galling is Mike Avon Oeming's contribution — I know he's got a simple style, but his two-page spread is so pared down it looks like a phone pad doodle blown up 1000%. It's not even all that great compositionally — everything is just a hair too far to the right, and the figures are stiffly posed to be exciting.
I must confess a certain soft spot for Jim Cheung's depiction of the Siege of Avengers Mansion, if only because he has Cap wearing some sort of futuristic chain mail made out of hexagons. Now there's a man ahead of his time. The rest of the picture's a mess — a chaotic battle scene with no depth, and no pop provided by flat inking and lackluster coloring.
- Six of the ugliest pages he's ever drawn, though I suspect most of that is due to inker Mike Perkins, who doesn't mesh with Perez's style.