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Posts Tagged "A Panel From Every Issue of the Avengers"

AVENGERS #167, 168, 170-177: The Korvac Saga


What are they looking at?  Well, it’s a space ship belonging to a little team you might have heard of recently…The Guardians of the Galaxy!
Only these aren’t the ones you’ll see in the upcoming Marvel movie.  These are the Arnold Drake/Gene Colan guardians.  Much weirder.  They’re from the future.  Or, I should say “a” future–another “Earth” (Earth 691), and they got a guy who looks like the original hairless Beast, a dude made of crystal, someone with a fin on his head…

I love that cover.

This is also the “real” beginning of the Korvac saga.  Technically, the character began lurking in the pages of The Avengers back in #159, but he was barely in it.  In this issue, he’s still an unnamed mystery, but the Guardians’ appearance marks the beginning of what is easily one of the top three Avengers cosmic stories of all time.  It’s well worth getting in trade.

Written by Jim Shooter.

Say what you want about how he treated creators during his run as the boss of Marvel Comics, but personally I think he was responsible for Marvel’s most creatively abundant period: The late 1970s and early 1980s.  Then he left, and a slow slog and slide began–I’m not a fan of the Rob Liefeld era–and the company was literally and creatively bankrupt until Joe Quesada arrived to save them all.


Henry Peter Gyrich–the plaid-wearing special agent of the NSC–first appearend in Avengers #165, but all he does there is show his ID and walk around for three panels looking important.  This is the first time he meets The Avengers.  Fans of this era remember him well as the first pain-in-the-ass superhero cop to grace the cover of an issue (#211, one of the best issues of all time).  He got them to change their lineups, hire black folks (you’ll see that soon), and generally provided a great Colonel Flag to the Avengers’ A-Team.

But we can’t just include ol’ Henry.  #168 is chapter two in the great Korvac Saga, and the action begins to kick into high gear…Including the seeds of the Marvel Civil War:

Think about it: The arguments are the same.  Iron Man is rich and does what he’s told, toes the line, and expects the same.  Cap is a selfless hero who believes that duty and honor should be its own reward.

I don’t usually fall for cover teasers, but this one got me.

I love, love, love the cover to #170.

I had to know why Cap and Iron Man were fighting to save the Bride of Ultron.  I should say, this was one of my first bagged-and-boarded issues I every purchased and at the time (probably around 1980) I knew who Jacosta was, but I hadn’t read the Bride of Ultron yet.

So this issue took me to school….

The great thing about the Korvac saga was all the subplots. As part of the build-up, Avengers members start disappearing all over the place and folks started talking about some big danger coming. Here’s Ms. Marvel arriving on the scene, not yet a full member, to do the Avengers a favor.

I’m not sure why Beast didn’t like her.

Interestingly enough, as I was paging through this issue I noticed this little inset on the Bullpen Bulletins page, of Ms. Marvel in her “new” costume.

Notice her “old” costume looks a lot like Captain Mar-Vell’s costume. And fans of 2012 #1 issues know that Carol Danvers recently dropped the “Ms.” moniker and took up the Captain mantle…Along with the Captain Marvel costume, but with a dash of sash…


Deconnick is doing some really good work on this book. I encourage all of you to support it. It’s rare, of course, to have a female-led Marvel comic on the stands.

Above is a panel from #172. It is technically part of the Korvac saga, but it doesn’t figure into the big story very much.

Another great subplot: Hercules and Black Widow coming to join up with the team again.  And they’re dating.  These are two of the biggest sluts in Marvel history.  Natasha has banged Avengers like Hawkeye, Daredevil, Hercules, Bucky, and Iron Man.

And Hercules, of course, has traveled the universe screwing all kinds of ladies.  He’s a bigger Lothario than Captain Kirk.  But he’s also been with quite a few Avengers-types: Black Widow, She Hulk, and Tigra.  And Northstar, so he’s a true Greek bisexual.

Who did I miss?

But I digress.  Numbers 173 and 174 are the Korvac issues where the Avengers are, yet again, collected by The Collector.  This may be a little bit of a retread storywise, but it’s the best Collector story of all time…And this was the first Collector story that I personally read.

Plus, it features more people in pods.


First, The Avengers return from being collected…And Wanda can’t fly.

Then, they figure out that the evil Korvac lurks….In the suburbs.

And finally, the original Guardians and The Avengers join shafts for the dramatic end to the Korvac series.

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AVENGERS #141-149: The Serpent Crown Saga (and George Perez!)

First of all,  I love this 6-panel sequence:

beast moondragon vision thor

It represents so much of what made the Steve Englehart Avengers so great.  It starts out with a big, bold announcement of the villain du jour, with Vision saying “again?  This is getting monotonous!”  A moment uncharacteristically meta for its time.  In these days of Deadpool breaking the fourth wall every issue, it’s no big deal, but it didn’t happen that much back then.  It also is an example of the book starting to show its age.  141 issues in, the book was in fact starting to repeat storylines (we already discussed how this was happening with stories about The Collector).  I also love this sequence because Moondragon and Thor go off on their own ’cause they’re Gods and you’re not, and we see the introduction of a new role/characterization of The Beast as a ladies’ man.  His comic relief was a much needed injection to the book.

And then, of course, there’s the art.

Steve Englehart continued to write the book, but #141 introduced the new regular artist “avengin’ ace George Perez.”  This was the book that made him famous, to the point where he’s now one of the best known, most loved, and most influential artists in comic book history.  Known for clean lines and intense detail–as well as skill with crowd scenes–all skills that would serve him well on a team book like The Avengers.  He stayed on through #202 (with some missing issues here and there), and this period represents–at least artistically–my favorite Avengers period.

Now, about this issue itself.  The title claims that it contains “The Squadron Sinister…”

Despite the fact that the alternate universe JLA team is, in fact, properly called the Squadron Supreme within the book itself.

Ah….That delicious George Perez art! And as the tale continues…


Kang sent Hawkeye back in time where he teamed up with Marvel’s Western heroes, and was later joined by Moondragon and Thor.

Great stuff. Oh, and if you’re confused…Yes, the dude in white was also known as Phantom Rider but is best known as the original Ghost Rider.

Q: What’s the difference between a saloon and an elephant’s fart?
A: One is a bar room, and one is a BAROOM!

Beast’s ex-GF becomes Hellcat.



Issues #145-146 tell a filler storyline by Tony Isabella and Don Heck, Cap gets a beatdown from a badguy called “The Assassin” (who looked like a cross between Cobra Commander and a KKK member) and ends up in the hospital. In the splash to #146, above, I like how Don Blake isn’t just a surgeon, he’s like the best surgeon in the world. But most of all, I like that Cap still has his mask on in the OR.

Then, in #147-149 we get the conclusion.
machine sex

The Squadron Supreme issues are always gold.

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AVENGERS #72-97: The Roy Thomas Years Part 3

As part of an effort to create a comprehensive comic book “index,” I’m republishing my “panel from every issue” series in bundles.  Sadly, I lost my Avengers pictures from early issues…So there aren’t a lot here.  Makes me very sad.

Most of what I posted were classic pictures, which, again, are gone.  But here’s what I had to say about the first chunk of issues during the Roy Thomas/(mostly) John Buscema era.  Thomas would write the series for issues #36-#104, with the great John Buscema illustrating the bulk of his scripts.  Today, we pick up where we left off last time–with #72.

first apppearance of bill foster

AVENGERS #73: First appearance of future Goliath and soul brother Bill Foster.  Marvel was under an edict to be more “minority friendly,” so they brought back the Black Panther and introduced Bill Foster and a big racism storyline.  Unfortunately, the stilted use of slang defeated the purpose of the whole affair.

AVENGERS #75-76: These issues completely blow.  It’s the first appearance of Arkon who, ironically, also appeared and screwed up West Coast Avengers for their 75th issue…

There’s gotta be a back story why he’s been in so many major appearances.  He was in JLA/Avengers, too…And even appeared in the X-Men cartoon!  Anyway, Scarlet Witch falls in love with the dude (he is pretty cut and he got that long hair–Vision got no hair at all), but by the end everything is back to the way it was. Arkon has a way with the ladies. In future appearances, he tries to get it on with Storm.

AVENGERS #83: First appearance of Valkyrie.

AVENGERS #89-97: The Kree/Skrull War.  So much happened in the Kree/Skrull War.  Neal Adams drew several issues.  Rick Jones became Captain Marvel.  The Inhumans teamed up with the Avengers.  Vision and Wanda hooked up for the first time.

And Vision wore a turtleneck.

 

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THE AVENGERS #59-71: The Roy Thomas Years Part Two

First appearance of Yellow Jacket, from Avengers #59 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

First appearance of Yellow Jacket, from Avengers #59 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

As part of an effort to create a comprehensive comic book “index,” I’m republishing my “panel from every issue” series in bundles.  Sadly, I lost my Avengers pictures from early issues…So there aren’t a lot here.  Makes me very sad.

Most of what I posted were classic pictures, which, again, are gone.  But here’s what I had to say about the first chunk of issues during the Roy Thomas/(mostly) John Buscema era.  Thomas would write the series #36-#104, with the great John Buscema illustrating the bulk of his scripts.  And Thomas was responsible for many classic plot threads that still matter today (and are often repeated, over and over).

THE AVENGERS #59-60.  Hank Pym continues to change identities…In this issue, he infiltrates the team under a new identity.  This was a pretty neat story.  Reading it now, knowing who he is, it’s not a shocker–but they don’t do a big reveal at first…I wonder if readers at the time could tell it was Hank underneath that gaudy yellow costume?  The fun continues in part two: The big wedding issue, in which Hank Pym loses his mind, takes on a new identity, Wasp doesn’t know it’s him, and she tricks him into marrying her.

It’s all extremely odd–and way too compressed to lead to marriage.  But then, we’ve seen before, repeatedly, how desperate Marvel women were in the old days.

AVENGERS #63: In which we meet Hawkeye’s brother, and Clint Barton becomes Goliath, in an issue illustrated by Gene Colan.

Lots of sibling and mommydaddy issues in the early Avengers stories. I wonder if Roy Thomas had some kind of problem with his own family? I mean, there’s Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver/Magneto; Hawkeye and his brother; Simon Williams and The Grim Reaper (and Vision)…

It never ends.

But it was the “soap opera” nature of the title that made it so crisp and distinct from other team books.

AVENGERS #67: The first time they blew up their base.

AVENGERS #69-71: The first appearance of the Squadron Supreme!

So many great characters were introduced in the first 100 issues of this book…And in this one, we got both The Grandmaster and Squadron Sinister!

Grandmaster, who would later do a very similar thing in Contest of Champions, and Kang pit Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against Marvel’s knock-off version of DC’s Justice League of America.

The Contest, in turn, was the logical progenitor of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, which is generally regarded as being the first “event” book in comic book history.

For the sake of completion, a panel from #71 is below–the fadeaway of GM as he heads for greener pastures.

It also exemplifies another characteristic of the Avengers–sympathy for the devils. Makes sense–half the team are ex-criminals anyway (Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver) and others manufacture criminals (Hank Pym).  Yes, Stan had a little bit of a limited range since he used this same theme in most of his other books.  It’s the essential conflict in The Hulk, and The X-Men constantly struggle against folks who assume that they’re bad, even though they were generally good.

But when was the last time Marvel or DC created a purely satirical team like Squadron Sinister/Supreme, and treated them seriously?  I can’t think of a recent time.  But back then, they did stuff like this.

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THE AVENGERS #36-58: The Roy Thomas Years Part One

As part of an effort to create a comprehensive comic book “index,” I’m republishing my “panel from every issue” series in bundles.  Sadly, I lost my Avengers pictures from early issues…So there aren’t a lot here.  Makes me very sad.

Most of what I posted were classic pictures, which, again, are gone.  But here’s what I had to say about the first chunk of issues during the Roy Thomas/(mostly) John Buscema era.  Thomas would write the series for many years–all the way through issue #104!

hawkeye calls cap web head

AVENGERS #36: Here, Hawkeye calls Captain America “Web-head” instead of “Wing-head.”

AVENGERS #38 was the first time Herc teamed up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and, true to form, he traded blows and barbs with just about everyone on the team by the time this arc was over.  He actually joined the team in #45 on the second annual “Avengers Day.”  (The first was in #22.)  Thanks to the always terrific CBSBG for that little tidbit.

AVENGERS #46: Goliath becomes Ant-Man.

And finally, AVENGERS #57-58: Behold this Vision!

Roy Thomas and John Buscema offer their first truly brilliant issue of The Avengers…And, frankly, it’s one of the best 2-issue arcs of the series ever. Known to fans as the “Even an Android Can Cry” story, it has a little bit of a ‘60s flower-child “everybody can love” vibe going on…

Herein begins for The Avengers the same kind of discussion you’ll find in Fantastic Four books about Silver Surfer: The meaning of humanity, and the irony of those who are not human having more “humanity” than true homo sapiens.

Obviously, there’s also a link to The Hulk and The X-Men here, but for me the real parallel has always been between Vision and Surfer.

Much, much later–in the Avengers/Defenders War–Vision and Surfer finally face off.

 

 

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MOON KNIGHT!

LEE/KIRBY CREATIONS IN THE FIRST 100 ISSUES OF THE FANTASTIC 4!

The first 100 issues is arguably the most creative run on a comic of all time. Here’s why:

Agatha Harkness (#94) Awesome Android (#15)

Blastaar (#62)

Black Panther (#52)

Diablo (#30)

Dr. Doom(#5)

Dragon Man (#35)

Frightful Four (#36)

Galactus (#48)

Hate Monger (#21)

Impossible Man (#11)

The Inhumans (#44)

Mad Thinker (#15)

Medusa (#37)

The Microverse (#76)

Molecule Man (#20)

Mole Man (#1)

Psycho Man (#77)

Puppet Master (#8)

Rama Tut (Kang) (#19)

The Red Ghost (#13)

Ronan The Accuser (#65)

Silver Surfer (#48)

Skrulls (#2)

Sub Mariner (1st Silver Age)(#4)

Super Skrull (#18)

Adam Warlock (#67)

The Watcher (#13)

Yancy Street and the YS Gang (#20)

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