Tucked at the end of an interview on CBR with Brian Michael Bendis about the near future of the Avengers titles is the relatively stunning revelation that he’s leaving the franchise at some point in 2012. The news comes the same day as the announcement of Avengers vs. X-Men, a 12-part 2012 Marvel event co-written by Bendis. Here are words from the man himself:
“I’m going to wrap up ‘Avengers’ and ‘New Avengers.’ At the same time the first storyline of ‘Avengers Assemble’ will be done. It’s a good time to move on to other things. Before I go, though, I’m ending things big. I’m in countdown mode. You know when you’re watching a show like ‘Breaking Bad,’ and every episode feels like the second to last episode? That’s where I’m at. I’ve been on the Avengers longer than anybody in the history of the book. When you take everything into account, I’ve written over 200 issues. I’m very, very proud of that, and what we have coming up this summer gives me the opportunity to go out on a high note. I know enough about showbiz to know that’s a great time to go.”
Bendis first took over the book in 2004 with Avengers #500, the first part of “Avengers: Disassembled,” a status quo-shaking storyline that led to the demise of the original Avengers volume and the beginning of the New Avengers era. Since then, Bendis has also written Mighty Avengers, the 2010 relaunch of Avengers, plus the new title Avengers Assemble, set to launch in spring 2012 to coincide with the release of the Joss Whedon-directed film.
Of course, this brings up a ton of questions, none of which have readily available answers at this point — who’s taking over Avengers? What becomes of Avengers Assemble? Will New Avengers, clearly a book defined up to this point by Bendis’ signature writing style, continue? And does this mean Bendis will be taking on something new in the Marvel Universe (not that he doesn’t still have a ton of projects in a variety of media that he’s working on)?
Either way, there’s no doubt the impact that Bendis’ historic run on Avengers has had. Polarizing at times, he’s taken book to new heights and helped make it into one of Marvel’s most bustling franchises, one that’s depicted in a hit Disney XD cartoon and the focus of a hugely anticipated live-action feature film this coming May.
The full interview, in which Bendis also discusses matters including Norman Osborn “wielding a power that you’ve never seen him wield before,” is here.