Okay, before you read any further, I am going to spoil the heck out of this week's New Avengers: Illuminati #3.
So, I've been getting New Avengers: Illuminati pretty much exclusively for the puzzle aspect of the book. Can I, based solely on the structural story clues in the book, place these issues in their proper chronological order within the larger pantheon of Marvel comics? I wasn't keen on the whole secret society thing, and especially not keen on Mr. Fantastic, Professor X and Black Bolt being a part of it. It doesn't strike me as in their characters. But #3 was the final straw.
Why? Because they retroactively made the Beyonder an Inhuman. (I warned you about the spoilers.) Yup, an Inhuman. Same kind of guy as Karnak or Triton or Gorgon. No, he's no longer some godlike being that is wholly unknowable. No, he's not an elemental force of nature. He's just a really powerful Inhuman.
Now, setting aside the fact that runs contrary to existing continuity -- which ties his very existence to the creation of the Molecule Man -- it totally undermines who the character was, what sort of threat he meant to the Marvel Universe, and how the heroes reacted to him. He's no longer some omntipotent, omniscient, all-powerful entity naively trying to learn what it means to be human -- he's just some kid who bows down before King Black Bolt. What the HELL is that about?!?
Now, I'll grant you that Secret Wars II (when Illuminati #3 takes place) was not the best comic book story ever written. It wasn't the best crossover ever devised. In fact, I wouldn't argue if somebody told me they thought it was poorly done. But this throws all sorts of monkey wrenches into the works. Why, for example, didn't one of the Illuminati, who now know the Beyonder's origins, just call Black Bolt down to help during the series? Why did Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man spend so much time just trying to figure him out? Why would Beyonder suddenly not understand how to go to the bathroom and require Spider-Man to teach him?
But it goes beyond that story by tainting the whole original Secret Wars as well. And that series, by pretty much all accounts both then and now, WAS well done. A being who was on par, if not above, the likes of Galactus is now reduced to the level of the Infant Terrible.
You know, I used to like your work, Bendis, and I'd be able to tolerate some of your gaffs regarding continuity (including your own!) but this is just a load of drek. I'm dropping this series, even though there's only two issues left. Think about how powerful a statement that really is, coming from someone who spent most of his adult life trying to learn as much as he could about the Marvel Universe.
And, for those of you just reading the blog here, I will no longer be capitalizing "marvel" or "marvel comics" or any of that. The capitalization is, in part, a form of respect, and it's just bottomed out for me.