I’ve given this one a bit of thought, and there’s no way to look at it that doesn’t equate to it being bad news for Marvel. Like, really bad news. More than any other creator, Brian Michael Bendis deserves the credit for making Marvel what it is today. Think back to the time before him, before his AVENGERS: DISASSEMBLES rewrote the rules. The Avengers, all of them, were second-string or even third-string characters. The idea of Iron Man being Marvel’s hottest property would have been laughable to any comics fan. Marvel had the X-Men, and after that they had Spider-Man, and then there was everything else, and the everything else got short shrift both by the creators and the readers. Bendis changed all that. Today, where the Avengers are the biggest thing in Marvel Comics, in comics in general, arguably, that’s due to what Bendis started, what he shaped.
Now Bendis has signed an exclusive deal with DC. He’s going to work for the Distinguished Competition. This is great news for DC and DC fans. It is potentially devastating for Marvel. Of the five “architects” who shepherded Marvel’s overall narrative the past few years, and made said narrative so damn good–Bendis, Aaron, Fraction, Brubaker, and Hickman–only Jason Aaron remains. The new creators that Marvel has brought in have not yet proven themselves to be worthy successors. And Marvel is going to need all the talented storytellers it can get. There’s Aaron. There’s Soule. There’s Slott. Who else they got? Who will be the new architects? And will they be up to the challenge? DC just got a LOT more formidable.