It might be a bit presumptive of me to 'start' a discussion on only my first full day as a member here...but.... here goes...

Avengers 202 saw the end of Perez style 'clean' art and the beginning of a dull period before the big shake-ups of 211 and in my mind was never the same again....anyone any thoughts?

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Not for me. I didn't fully fall off on the Avengers until "Disassembled". Then again some of those "great" stories that I eventually got to read didn't live up to the hype. "Avengers-Defenders War", was easily at the top of that list.

Avengers-Defenders is certainly not as great as often billed but was groundbreaking for it's day. Rereading it does show it's flaws. Why was Loki written as a buffoon? And I do agree that the Stern era felt better than much before it but Dr.Druid on the team was another example of 'not worthy'!!

The idea that the title ended at issue 202 rings pretty true for me.  I had to think about the reasons for a bit and came up with a few.

 

First as previously stated by Figserello, the lifesblood of the Avengers had been the work of Byrne and Perez for quite some time.  Also, I consider late 70s Jim Shooter Avengers to be some of the best comics ever written.  This suddenly came to end with Perez departing for DC and Byrne focusing most of his energy on Fantastic Four.  With those two gone the book lost its identity and became very generic.  Many of the characters became ciphers and the plots were just basic standard issue stuff where you just plug in any character.  Basically, the book became what JLA had been before Perez started working on that book.  Jim Shooter returned to try and revive some of the old magic but he had lost his Avengers mojo and descended into self- parody.

 

I think you could also make a case that 202 was the last Bronze Age issue of Avengers.  Bronze Age is a fairly nebulous term but I think this is the clearest break in look, tone and content that you will find in early 80s Avengers.

 

Finally, I think the emergence of Uncanny X-Men as the flagship Marvel book really sapped the momentum of Avengers.  I stuck with the book for several years after this but was never really interested in it until the Busiek Perez stuff which was really more of a tribute to the Shooter/Perez/Byrne era than a new direction. 

It probably never crossed my mind when I was readng the stories (as I read so many eras out of sequence), but it strikes me that Roger Stern, the more he went on, got into the same habit as Roy Thomas, that being, trying to make his mark by slowly assembling a team of heroes he could call his own.  Witness how during Roy's run, you had The Vision, The Black Panther, The Black Knight, Yellowjacket, Goliath 2, etc.  I only wish the art had been more consistent-- either one long, unbroken run by John Buscema (I never realized it actually took until Roger Stern's run for that to happen), or if Don Heck had been allowed to stay on what had been for so long "his" book-- only, with MUCH BETTER inkers.  The one issue of X-MEN with Heck & Tom Palmer shows that the two could have worked wonders together on AVENGERS, if they'd ever been given the chance.

Maybe that's what I mean -

the end of the Bronze Age of the Avengers - certainly in my mind all the issues before 'count' and all the issues afterwards were just 'not-quite' what had gone before - and that includes the members.... Beast yes, even Moondragon yes...Ms Marvel and WonderMan yes......but Tigra?, Starfox? even She-Hulk ...just 'not quite'. (and 'No! never! - Mockingbird, Firebird, Moon Knight, Spider-Woman...!)


Detective 445 said: 

I think you could also make a case that 202 was the last Bronze Age issue of Avengers.  Bronze Age is a fairly nebulous term but I think this is the clearest break in look, tone and content that you will find in early 80s Avengers.

...For a " shot heard 'round the world " moment , the launching of New Teen Titans and X-Men's climb to the top starting with the Dark Phoenix storyline , has been seen as the Bill Haley/SHOWCASE #4 " this is the BRONZE AGE's beginning (especially as regard ' dollars-and-cents-superheroes form the Big Two ' " , about 1980 and this Avengers issue would be about then or 1981 anyway , da ?????????

Don't most writers do this on team books?  Even on Fantastic Four, writers tend to play with the lineup from time to time.
 
Henry R. Kujawa said:

It probably never crossed my mind when I was readng the stories (as I read so many eras out of sequence), but it strikes me that Roger Stern, the more he went on, got into the same habit as Roy Thomas, that being, trying to make his mark by slowly assembling a team of heroes he could call his own.

 

.

Back to Richard's OP:  I don't know if I would agree that Avengers Volume 1 "ends" with #202.  Artistically, it is the end of a significant stretch of issues by (mostly) Perez and Byrne.  I think, without looking it up, there was a small run by Gene Colan (overlapping the end of the Michelinie era and the beginning of the 2nd Shooter era), and a lot of fill ins before Roger Stern takes over as writer.  Once that happens, the art is Al Milgrom with Joe Sinnott on inks in the early days and later Buscema and Palmer.

Richard, that run of issues from Avengers # 109-202 would be "Your Avengers".  Mine would be quite different: Avengers # 211-285.  I read Shooter's 2nd run as it came out, and it would be years before I read any of his 1st run.  I know that run takes a lot of brickbats, but I loved it.  When the "Old Order Changeth" in #211, we get the kinda sorta original team (with, naturally, Cap instead of the Hulk) and newbie Tigra.  Shooter told some good stories with great themes: not everyone is cut out to be an Avenger (Tigra); even a founding Avenger can hit rock bottom (Henry Pym), and power corrupts (Moondragon).  I would never argue that it was the greatest run ever - Shooter was not good at subtlety, and the ever changing art teams are a big drawback.  But overall I enjoyed it.

Roger Stern is one of my absolutely favourite writers.  He had a long run with few missteps and his "Under Siege" storyline was an all time classic, so much so that I am amazed to this day he was fired off the book shortly afterward.  He did add a few new members and I can see the point of people not feeling the newcomers were "real" Avengers.  I felt much the same way about Brian Bendis and his era: to me, there are good reasons for not having Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Luke Cage on the team - but to each their own, I say.  Stern did have the Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel and Starfox be Avengers in training before they were full members.  He brought back the Vision and the Scarlet Witch early on in his run.  He made the Wasp team chair, keeping her in character and making her believable in the role of team leader, no easy feat.  I loved the additions of Hercules, Black Knight, and the Sub-Mariner.

Everyone likes different eras, and define eras differently.  Nothing wrong with that, that's what makes horse races as we often say around here!

Actually I loved the Avengers for the first 300 issues. Seriously. I also loved Justice League up to around 230. That doesn't mean the end runs were bad (well, some of them were stinkers), they just weren't great or as good as the earlier runs. But that had more to do with what the DCU looked like in the mid 80s and Marvel in the mid 90s!

I recently completed a massive reading project where I pretty much read all of the Avengers comics through Bendis.  There were good times, there were not so good times (those jackets in the 90's, what the hell were they thinking?). 

I was never an Avengers fan as a kid. I was mostly a DC guy, then when I did get into Marvel it was mainly FF, Spider-Man. Daredevil and the X-Men.  However, there's no question that there were some really good comics I missed over the years.  There were some stinkers too, but that's going to happen with any franchise over a 50 year period.

Even with the Bendis stuff, there was something there.  Some of it was completley illogical, but hey, at least no Dr. Druid, right?

Anyway, it has been what it has been.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes really bad, sometimes exceptional.  I couldn't really say there's any sort of demarcation point, just a series of strong runs by various writer/artist pairs.

Only the first 300 Philip? Do you not consider the 'Brain Leeches' of #301 a timeless classic?!

Sadly, no!

I know they added a new Avenger at that time but I've forgotten who it was! ;-)

Richard Mantle said:

Only the first 300 Philip? Do you not consider the 'Brain Leeches' of #301 a timeless classic?!

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