Some comic book writers spend their time with companies and never really make a dent. But that was not Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis gained fame in 2000 with his phenomenal Ultimate Spider-Man story. He rewrote the story of Spider-Man and updated it from the 1940s to the early 2000s. Since then, Bendis has been one of Marvel's most consistent writers for 17 years.
But Bendis's time writing for Marvel is coming to an end. He has signed an exclusive writing deal for DC Comics and will be taking his talents to the universe that has spawned the greats like Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman.
Bendis has been responsible for more than just Ultimate Peter Parker and Miles Morales. Bendis has had a major affect on the Marvel Universe and written tales that have changed characters that drastically altered the Marvel Universe. Here's how:
1. Infamous Iron Man
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the best Marvel comic of 2017. Bendis took Dr. Doom, one of the greatest villains — and the most arrogant and ruthless of characters — and made him a hero. He turned Victor into a man determined to redeem himself in the eyes of the world. Even with the bumps on the road like S.H.I.E.L.D. and Ben Grimm trying to arrest him for his past crimes, Doom stayed on his path and never faltered.
It takes a lot to rewrite a character the way Bendis did. Doom still managed to be as arrogant as he always was and still used his mysticism along with his superior genius. Except now, he was using his powers for good. Watching him struggle to be a better person was an fantastic read.
2. Secret War
This marked the end of Nick Fury as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and maybe Nick Fury's greatest accomplishment. When Nick fury got wind of a super-villain terrorist plot coming from Latveria (being run by Lucia von Bardas while Dr. Doom was in Hell), he went to the American government and they shut him down, informing Fury that they had it under control.
Rather than leave things in their hands, Nick Fury recruited Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Black Widow, Wolverine, Captain America, Daredevil and his protégé Daisy Johnson (the same Daisy from the ABC show Agents of S.I.E.L.D.) to go in and make sure this didn't happen. Unfortunately, Fury brought them in to destroy Latveria and then later erased their memory of the entire indecent. A year later, Lucia von Bardas came back with her tech-powered villains with the plan to destroy part of New York.
Nick Fury was always the guy who did what needed to be done. He didn't care about how he was perceived as long as his actions meant the bad guys lost and the world kept on spinning. This wasn't the last time Nick Fury helped save the world, but it was the last time he was really trusted by his peers. Brainwashing and deceiving fellow heroes may have cost him, but he did save the day.
3. New Avengers
When the original Avengers team broke up (I'll discuss this later), fate brought a new team of Avengers together. But it wasn't the first roster that really made this new team special; it was everything they did AFTER Marvel Civil War. Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Jessica Drew, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Clint Barton, and later on Carol Danvers, Jessica Jones, Ben Grimm, and Bobbi Morse banded together to do something the initial Avengers team didn't do: they protected the common person. They stayed close to the streets and made sure the communities were protected.
If not for this story, I don't think Luke Cage would have become the star he has become in pop culture. When the Avengers disassembled, Luke led this new team of Avengers (and led them better than anyone could have expected). This breathed life into Luke Cage. He now had a platform and another chance to become a great character.
This was the first Daredevil series I read and it took away all of the negative thoughts I had about The Man Without Fear. I always thought Daredevil was always kind of bland. A tough fighter and hero, but stale. I was absolutely wrong.
Bendis's run of Daredevil took Matt Murdock and took everything from him. His law practice, his friends, and maybe the biggest loss, his secret identity. Bendis started Matt Murdock on his decline to rock bottom, which, for Daredevil, was having to escape prison with the help of Frank Castle. We'd be lucky to see this arc used in the Netflix series.
5. Dark Avengers
Norman Osborn was made head of national security after he got the kill shot on the Skrull queen, broadcasted on live TV across the world. One of the first things he does? He forms a team of Avengers. But he doesn't bring back a bunch of classic Avengers. Norman needed a more aggressive team for a more aggressive world. So he recruited his team of Thunderbolts and dressed them up as Avengers!
Bullseye was now Hawkeye, Moonstone was Ms. Marvel, Venom (Mac Gargon) was Spider-Man, and Norman became his version of Iron Man, dubbed the Iron Patriot. But that's not all! Norman recruited Sentry, Ares, Marvel Boy, and Logan's son Daken (and dressed him up as Wolverine).
What started with Warren Ellis and his run of Thunderbolts, turned into the most ruthless team of Avengers ever assembled. This was some of the most fun I've had reading a comic book run. While this team was absolutely dysfunctional, it was an Avenger roster that could easily give any team a run for their money in a fight.
6. Avengers Disassembled
This is known as the darkest day in Avengers history. What appeared to be a betrayal from Vision and Jack of Hearts, as well as a loss of control from She-Hulk, was actually orchestrated from another teammate: Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlett Witch. Wanda was led to believe that she didn't give birth to a set of twins. When she found out about them later (thanks Janet Van Dyne), she had a nervous breakdown. This ended up with the death of a few Avengers and the team's eventual disbanding.
Without this story, we never would have gotten the uprising of Luke Cage, Brother Voodoo as Sorcerer Supreme, and many other improved characters. Breaking down Wanda Maximoff also led into the next great story...
7. House Of M
After Wanda Maximoff's breakdown destroyed the Avengers, with her reality-altering powers becoming too much for her to control, it left the entire universe in danger. Before the Avengers and X-Men could figure out what to do with her, Wanda remade the 616 Universe in her image, giving her father (Magneto) and all of her friends and heroes everything they wanted. It was good for a while, but Wanda had another breakdown and with three words ("No more mutants"), she changed the dynamic of the Marvel Universe for years.
When you talk about important moments in Marvel Comics, it's a shame people forget to mention House Of M. It wasn't as glamorous or as thought-provoking as Civil War, but the ramifications of this event lasted from from 2005 to 2012. For seven years, the mutants were on the brink of extinction. This led to the X-Men becoming easier targets for their enemies. This story arc led to story arcs like Messiah Complex, Second Coming and Avengers Vs. X-Men.
8. Jessica Jones
It's one thing to make a female superhero who's just strong and has it all together from the very first comic. It's another to create a strong character who also has an internal struggle. Bendis took Jessica Jones from insecure to strong-willed. From a "who is she?" to one of the most recognized names is comic book pop culture. People who don't read comic books know who Jessica Jones is, and they should. Jessica Jones is an amazing character who seems to keep getting better with every passing story.
Comic books need more characters like Jessica Jones. Her husband may be Luke Cage, but she won't take any crap from him and he loves her for it. She doesn't need a bright costume to be recognized and remembered; her personality does that. I saved Jessica Jones for last for a reason; I think she is the greatest creation Bendis has produced during his time in Marvel.
What YOUR favorite Brian Michael Bendis story? Let me know in the comments below!