2. Brian Michael Bendis
Among comic fans, Brian Michael Bendis needs no introduction. After writing critically-acclaimed crime comics for independent publishers, Bendis debuted at Marvel by launching the Ultimate line of comics with Ultimate Spider-Man, redefining the character for a new generation. He later went on to pen Daredevil and the adult-oriented Alias, increasing his acclaim even further.
Once he began his stint on Marvel’s Avengers titles, which ran for close to a decade, is really when fan opinion became sharply and strongly divided on Bendis. He took apart the Avengers, then replaced them with a new team helmed by veterans Captain America and Iron Man, introducing the popular Wolverine and Spider-Man into the team, and rounding out the cast with some of Bendis’ personal favorite characters, like Luke Cage and Spider-Woman. Fans of the classic Avengers felt his work was disrespectful, while new readers and Bendis’ fanbase found it to be a brilliant reinvention.
Being a fan of the classic Avengers, I felt Bendis’ take was a slap in the face. So I was understandably skeptical when it was announced that as part of the Marvel Now revamp, Bendis would be writing two X-Men titles, a relaunched Uncanny X-Men and the new title, All-New X-Men. Uncanny X-Men would focus on Cyclops leading his own team as a mutant revolutionary and an outlaw, while All-New X-Men would deal with the original five students brought to the present by the Beast and electing to stay to show Cyclops the error of his ways.
And surprisingly, this run has been very, very entertaining. It’s quite telling that Bendis has managed to find a very strong voice for the X-Men in a very short period of time. I don’t know how long Bendis plans to remain on the X-Men titles, but if he maintains this level of quality for several years, he could very easily make it into the top five.