Some discussion over in the comments here on whether or not Mark Millar is a satirist - seemingly echoing this dicussion from a while back.
Millar is a low-norm satirist, but I don't think that alone makes him special. I agree with Bill Krohn agreeing with Northrop Frye that we live in the age of satire. It's hard to find any piece of fiction that doesn't have some satirical element to it.
Is Millar a precise satirist? No. Is his satire especially thoughtful? I don't think so. Is it effective? Well, that seems to vary pretty wildly from work to work, but more often than not it's obnoxious rather than enlightening.
Coincidentally, I've just been reading some early Charlie Huston-written issues of the current Moon Knight. While this is definitely not a series for the ages, I think it works pretty nicely as a sub-Frank Miller send-up of macho super-heroic posturing - David Finch even functions in a sub-Jim Lee capacity. It's a bit like a Millar version of the Brubaker/Fraction Iron Fist: a satisfying elaboration of the character's mythology, with lots of outrageous/in-questionable-taste (low-norm) satirical moments scattered throughout.
And writing about Moon Knight reminds me I had a few more things I wanted to say about the Avengers. First, I should highlight something I tried to get at in the comments: that Stan Lee really figured out how to make the Avengers series work when the line-up turned into Captain America, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Lee gave a raison d'etre to the team book by focusing on how the relationships between the characters change based on whether or not the characters are getting what they want and/or need from each other (i.e. Hawkeye getting the respect he wants from Cap, Cap getting - or not getting - a substitute for Bucky from his new teammates).
Second, instead of turning the New Avengers into Marvel's JLA or just another Avengers line-up, I would have liked to see Bendis make the New Avengers a completely "street level" super-hero book. We'd have Spider-Man, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jennifer Jones, and, of course, Moon Knight, with Captain America acting as the unofficial liason between this new group and SHIELD/Tony Stark/the other Marvel U authority figures.
This would have (a) played to Bendis' strengths - Daredevil and Alias, his low-rent, noirish super-hero books, are two of the best Marvel comics of the last twenty years, (b) marked a significant change from earlier runs of the Avengers title, and (c) been more of its own thing, not just Avengers Featuring Spider-Man.
Punisher, Cloak and Dagger, Ghost Rider, Shang Chi, and the Black Cat would show up every now and then and it could have started off with a sequel/homage to the 1980s Gang War story from Amazing Spider-Man.
And speaking of 1980s Amazing Spider-Man: the current creative teams working on this series seem to be making a return to the mid-80s DeFalco/DeMatteis era (i.e. before things got all McFarlaney and Cloney). I'm all in favor of this creative direction and not only for nostalgic reasons.
You know, when I heard about the concept behind the "One More Day"/"Brand New Day" sort-of-reboot, I thought that it sounded like another Clone Saga fiasco in the making: a radical change to continuity that would annoy current readers and do nothing to build a new audience interested in sticking around for the long haul once the novelty wore off. But, while you can certainly argue that maybe the change wasn't necessary, the proof is in the pudding: post-"One More Day" Amazing has become a solidly entertaining super-hero book, while the Straczynski run was pretty dire near the end (and, IMO, redeemed only slightly by fine work from guys like John Romita Jr. and Ron Garney). So, while it's something I might be against in theory, in practice it means Spider-Man comics that (a) I actually want to read and (b) (so it's not all about me) Spider-Man comics that are objectively better than they were before the change by just about any metric you want to use to determine what makes one super-hero comic better than another.
And, speaking of Straczynski...
I don't think he's actually a bad writer, in the sense that he has a firm grasp on how to execute his ideas. But he has some pretty awful ideas about what belongs in a Spider-Man comic. I like some of his other work, - Babylon 5 and Supreme Power, for instance - but the basic Spider-Man concept seems to be completely at odds with his m.o. of elaborate world/mythos-building.
Finally, more Marvel-related stuff in this entry from a new chat blog I'm doing with my friend Nick.