I haven't been able to really enjoy the Avengers since Brian Michael Bendis "disassembled" them nearly two decades ago. But I am so enthusiastic about the upcoming series by Paul Levitz and Alan Davis that I thought I'd revisit some of the attempts others have made to reassemble the team in the years since, Starting with Avengers Classic. If you are unfamiliar with it, Avengers Classic was a reprint series supplemented with new, interstitial back-ups stories (along the lines of Classic X-Men / X-Men Classic). It lasted only twelve issues, but sported covers by Arthur Adams, second only to George Perez when it comes to designing group covers (I guess now he's "second to none").

I wasn't planning to reread the originals but, since I'm going to be looking at retellings of those "classics" and it has been a while since I last read them, I have spent the last week or so rereading the Lee/Kirby issues one or two at a time, just to refresh them in my head, and I read all new material this morning back-to-back. The "shared universe" continuity in the early issues was tight

The back-up stories are another matter entirely. To be honest, I wasn't going to spend any time with this series at all, but reconsidered at the last moment. The new material is anachronistic, both in art as well as tone, which is pretty much what I remembered. These continuity inserts, some of them, attempt to account for such aberrant behavior later on as Henry Pym's insecurity and Tony Stark's alcoholism. Read together, they don't really work as standalone stories, so closely are they tied to the main ones. Yet, ironically, the difference in art styles is so jarring they don't really work that way, either. 

The only one that's really worth reading is "The Real Origin of the Avengers!" a fourth wall-busting, tongue-in-cheek version of Stan Lee "negotiating" with the Avengers over their comic book, drawn by Kevin "Kevin" Maguire and written by Stan "The Man" Lee himself. That one story (and the covers) is what really sets this series apart from other reprinted version. 

Views: 157

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

AVENGERS: THE ORIGIN:

This 2010 limited series is not writer Joe Casey's first Avengers series, but it is his earliest sequentially. It features the same state-of-the-art coloring as The Coming of the Avengers, but Phil Noto's art incorporates panels big enough to accommodate it. The series itself adapts the original Avengers #1 into five issues, so in that respect it is "decompressed" ... but not really. I would say it's "expanded." For example, on page four of Avengers #1, Hulk saves a train. When we see him next, five pages later, he is already ensconced in a circus and pretending to be a robot. Avengers: The Origin spends a good part of two issues showing how Hulk met up with the circus people and introducing them as active characters. In addition, Rick Jones "Teen Brigade" runs a website and also the Wasp is given a much more important role in the story. When I think of that humorous back-up feature from Avengers Classic #1, I like to think this mini-series tells what "really" happened, and Avengers #1 is Lee & Kirby's version of it. 

The Baron said:

Is that the one where Thor rushes someone into the ER and starts spouting medical jargon at the staff?

I've found the scene you're thinking of. It's from Earth's Mightiest Heroes #5, which occurs concurrently with Avengers #14. The Wasp was caught in crossfire and hit by a stray bullet. In the original, Thor thinks, "This is one time Dr. Blake cannot help! Her injury requires a surgeon of far greater skill!" but in the revised version he shouts, "Nurse! 'Tis a GSW to the chest... her pulse is 40 palp. Start an IV... type and crossmatch..." 

Interesting, thanks.  I don't remember reading that comic, but obviously, I must have.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

The Baron said:

Is that the one where Thor rushes someone into the ER and starts spouting medical jargon at the staff?

I've found the scene you're thinking of. It's from Earth's Mightiest Heroes #5, which occurs concurrently with Avengers #14. The Wasp was caught in crossfire and hit by a stray bullet. In the original, Thor thinks, "This is one time Dr. Blake cannot help! Her injury requires a surgeon of far greater skill!" but in the revised version he shouts, "Nurse! 'Tis a GSW to the chest... her pulse is 40 palp. Start an IV... type and crossmatch..." 

EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES:

This is Joe Casey's first Avengers series and is retells Avengers #2-16 from a different point of view, picking up exactly where Avengers: the Origin would one day leave off. the artist is Scott Kolins. (The background elements of the eight issues spell out "A-V-E-N-G-E-R-S" when laid side-to-side.) I remember doing an issue-by-issue deep dive into this series as it was being released, identifying exactly where Avengers #2-16 fell. Some of them occurred between pages, some were represented by a double-page spread, some were summarized in short scenes. I'm not going to do that again here, but suffice it to say that Casey did his homework. 

This series delves into some of the behind-the-scenes details which would later become part of Avengers lore, such as the  Avengers Charter and the bylaws and the hoops they had to jump through to get their government priority clearance. Long before Henry Peter Gyrich became the Avengers' government liaison Special Agent Murch was there to bedevil Iron Man. (By the end of the series his role was relegated to dealing mainly with the Maria Stark Foundation's lawyers.) The series also brings Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in much earlier than #16 (in the background, so as not to contradict established continuity) and puts a new spin on Hawkeye's relationship with Jarvis. 

The fact that Baron Zemo is alive is played up. Captain America cannot keep his mind on the task at hand, which accounts for him being captured by Count Nefaria. It is also made clear that the Wasp being shot during that mission is the reason she and Giant-Man left the team. This series doesn't replace the original stories, it just embellishes them. Take or leave it as you will.

AVENGERS "POINT ONE" (MARVEL NOW!) a.k.a. "The Original New Avengers":

"And there came a day unlike any other, when Earth's Mightiest Heroes decided to take some time off and were replaced with a group of untested, untried new recruits: Hawkeye, a master archer and reformed criminal, and two of Magneto's former minions--the speedster Quicksilver and his twin sister, the mysterious Scarlet Witch. Captain America was tasked with turning the members of this ragtag team into Avengers, but that was a story never revealed... until now."

This five-issue series (by Mark Waid And Barry Kitson) is numbered 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and so on, but it really should have been numbered 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, etc. because it takes place between Avengers #16 and #17. After a five-oage flashback to the original Avengers fighting the Masters of Evil, the series picks up immediately where Earth's Mightiest Heroes left off. It's not a great fit, though, primarily because the relationship between Hawkeye and Jarvis is a little off when the series are read back-to-back. Nor does it fit particularly well with Hulk Smash Avengers #1, as that issue features the post-Masters of Evil incarnation of Baron Zemo plus the Executioner and the Enchantress. But you know what series it does complement? Avenger: the Origin, that being "The Old Order" and this being "The New Order."

The term "Cap's Kooky Quartet" is not used; rather, the media dubs the new team "Earth's Mightiest Pretenders." In this series they fight the Frightful Four (twice), an Atlantean sea beast, the Stranger, the Mad Thinker and the Enforcers. Waid also introduced a new threat named Cressida. The "next issue" blurb of the final issue reads: "To be continued in Avengers #17 - Four Against the Minotaur!" the series is also supplemented with vintage ads and letters pages. I had forgotten how good this series is. If you are inclined to accept retcons, I recommend this one. 

Cap's Kooky Quartet wasn't the weakest the Avengers would be ... in fact, by issue #49 the team was down to Hawkeye, Wasp and a de-powered Giant-Man (aka "Regular Size Man").

Captain Comics said:

Cap's Kooky Quartet wasn't the weakest the Avengers would be ... in fact, by issue #49 the team was down to Hawkeye, Wasp and a de-powered Giant-Man (aka "Regular Size Man").

Seriously? Captain America could handle them all by himself, and still have time for his daily tuneup on Batman.

Captain Comics said:

Cap's Kooky Quartet wasn't the weakest the Avengers would be ... in fact, by issue #49 the team was down to Hawkeye, Wasp and a de-powered Giant-Man (aka "Regular Size Man").

Even that wasn't the weakest the Avengers would be. At one point during the "Inferno" crisis, one by one all the superheroes had left, leaving only...

"Edwin Jarvis-- The Last Avenger?!"

EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES II:

For Joe Casey's second Avengers series, he skipped ahead a bit. All eight issues (which, again, spell out "A-V-E-N-G-E-R-S") take place between issues #58-61, but it makes sense if you think about it. the Black Panther recently joined the team, as did the Vision, and Hank Pym was about to adopt a new identity, Yellowjacket. EMHII focuses on these Avengers, plus Black Widow. The Black Panther part of the series spotlights T'Challa's time as "Luke Charles", an inner-city high school teacher and introduces a previously unseen Wakandan foe, Death Tiger. The underlying threat to the Avengers as a whiole is the Super Adaptoid, and Special Agent Murch has a new assistant named Gyrich.

Avengers #59-60 (the introduction of Yellowjacket and the marriage of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne) is an undisputed classic but, viewed objectively, it is full of HUGE holes. I love the way this series plugs those holes! EMHII issues #1-4 are entirely a continuity implant, picking up exactly at the end of #58 and leading directly into Avengers #59. #5 is roughly equivalent to #59, and #6 is roughly equivalent to #60, but they read best in the following order: Avengers #59, EMHII #5-6, Avengers #60. 

As the series opens, the only founding members currently on the team are Goliath and the Wasp, but Iron Man, Captain America and Thor are there from Avengers #58, which leads to a "founders meeting" to kick of EMHII. Just as EMH ended with Captain America taking charge of a team of new recruits after the original Avengers left, EMHII ends with the first Avengers line-up every without a founding member on the team. (Captain America is considered a founder for charter purposes.) At a time when I found the actual main Avengers title to be unreadable, these series pulled me through. 

I can eagerly look forward to "The Avengers: War Across Time" because I trust the talent so much. Looking forward to a new comic for the first time in God-only-knows how long! Lovin' that Alan Davis.

As for the other retcon stories, they just tell me that there was a demand for the original Avengers again, or a demand to somehow fit the Hulk into the early Avengers as a hero. Replacing the Hulk with Captain America did balance the team a little more, and especially, made for better angst. Really, the Hulk seemed to me (in gross terms) to be the paranoia of the month; and that could only last for a while. That wasn't every issue or chapter in the Hulk saga, but it seemed far more prevalent than any heroic action - and how long could that have worked in the Avengers? Sure, the readers wanted more of it - but I'm, not sure of its compatibility with the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Groups

Latest Activity

Dave Palmer replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
3 hours ago
Eric L. Sofer replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Got one or two more..."
3 hours ago
Peter Wrexham replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Right, then, "Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals (also random medical and pseudo-medical procedures…"
6 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
"DC COMICS - (2011): ISSUE #2: As he continues to run, different visions of an ever-decreasing…"
10 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
"OMNI COMIX #3:  "Cold Warriors Never Die" The version reprinted has 32 pages, 5 of…"
15 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: I'll save my comments for Cap's discussion (which should be up…"
16 hours ago
Luke Blanchard replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"Watching the movie again I found the theme also appears in what I think is the Barry version in the…"
16 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
"ISSUE #10: The same format as the previous two issues, except the artist for the present day…"
20 hours ago
Richard Willis replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"JD DeLuzio said: Speaking of Mansters, I re-watched Matinee for the first time in many years.…"
21 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
"ISSUE #9: Same artists and format as last issue. I think by #8 I was reading only the Mike Grell…"
21 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
"ISSUE #8: This issue has a '60s sequence by Nick Dragoda, an '80s sequence by Mike Grell…"
21 hours ago
JD DeLuzio replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
21 hours ago

© 2023   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service