Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Avenger's The Earth's Mightiest Comic title!

There is so much goodness packed into The Avengers over the years with so many amazing creators that each one deserves a essay of their own, but for lack of space and time I'll give you the abridged highlights of the title.

The Avengers issue #177 is one of the first comics I ever owned and made me a life long Avengers fan.

Lee/Kirby's started off the title with a bang!

They got there best heroes and put them all together into one comic and had them fight Loki. Though their distrust of the Hulk came into play and his being an Avenger wasn't long to last.

A fake cover of the Avengers by the great Paul Smith!

The Hulk was out by issue #3 and to replace him they brought in the great Golden Age Kirby/Simon creation of Captain America with issue #4!
The Avengers by Alex Ross!

Many great villains that have become Avengers nemesis were introduced in those first dozen or so issues. Characters like Kang the Conqueror, Immortus, Wonderman, and in one form or another, the Masters of Evil.

The Masters of Evil is a favorite of mine. Lee/Kirby created them in issue #6 with Zemo as the leader of a team of the Avengers most bad ass villains of the time.
They showed up often in those early books till the finale of the original teams run in Avengers #16 where Zemo was killed off and a new team of Avengers replaced the old by reformed second string villains from other Marvel titles like the X-Men and Tales of Suspense.

Cap's kookie quartet as introduced in issue #16!

Later on Thomas/Buscema resurrected the Masters of Evil in the classic issue #54. Hot on the heels of that success was the classic debut of the Vision in Avengers #57  which continued into #58 "Even an android can cry" a must read for any comic lover!

Big John Buscema Avengers!

Many great things happened in Thomas/Buscema (and others) run, like the Squadron Sinister (later to become the Squadron Supreme), The Valkyrie, the Zodiac and Red Wolf, among other things. Roy Thomas topped off his run by the classic by the Kree/Skrull War with art by the legendary Neal Adams!

Steve Englehart took over writing the Avengers. He had many highly memorable stories lines like Mantis, the celestial Madonna.

He also brought back the Squadron Supreme with George Perez in The Serpent Crown.

Perez went on to do some amazing issues with Shooter, two of which appear in Ultron Unleashed.

There are so many great issues between #160 and #177 that it's hard to choose just one story to highlight. I guess the best would be to get Essential Avengers #7 and Essential Avengers #8.

After Shooter the next great run was Stern/Buscema/Palmer of the mid 1980's. Marvel presents two of the story lines in Avengers, Under Siege and Assault on Olympus but from the moment Buscema/Palmer joined Stern on the Avengers (#255) all the way to the end of their time together on the title (#290) it was a pretty spectacular run!

This is the story arch that started the whole multiple Kangs concept! Thank you Roger Stern!

It would be irresponsible of me to talk about Avengers highlights and not mention the amazing Annual #10! The artwork by Michael Golden is one of the greatest visual treats the comic book medium and superheroes has ever given us!

A cover for Avengers Annual #10 that was commissioned by a fan but never published.

Like with most Marvel titles, the 90's were some lean years for the Avengers. And by the mid 90's the title was canceled and replaced with the sad Avengers Vol. 2. But in 1998 the title was brought back with renewed life from Kurt Busiek, the genius behind Marvels, and George Perez in Avengers vol. 3; the Heroes Return!.

They had some amazing stories with classic Avengers villains like the Ultron and Kang.
I stopped following the Avengers with Bendis Disassembled.

I found it disrespectful of Avengers heritage to kill off so many of the awesome cast of Avengers (only to be brought back later of coarse) like the Vision, Hawkeye, and to villainize the Scarlet Witch. To make matters worse he replaces them with Marvel's most popular characters like Spider-Man and Wolverine. In my opinion the Avengers is not the Avengers if you put Marvel's most popular characters. I can see putting Luke Cage. Maybe Spider-Man but when you go and add Wolverine as well, that's going to far. Heck why don't we just add Scott Summers, Ororo, and Gene Grey. Oh wait, that would be the X-Men wouldn't it be!
The Avengers, a pictorial overview by John Byrne!

You can keep your new Avengers! I'll be rereading my classic Avengers!

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