Archive for July, 2013

Avengers Forever #3 of 12

July 31, 2013

Avengers Forever 03Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
February 1999
****

Epic, Avengers-defining comics, w/ goofy super-SF to rival Morrison’s JLA. Immortus invades a “chronopolis” (a city that abutts all eras) so he can gain the power to prune the timestream! Pacheco shines: his “actors” have expressive body language & his panels cut & frame subjects in compelling ways.

last issue: Avengers Forever #2 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #4 of 12

also indexed for Feb. ’99
Avengers #13

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Avengers #13

July 30, 2013

Avengers 13Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
February 1999
****

A simple *** except that Pérez is on fire! He’s never been better, smoothly guiding eyes across a dozen panels per page. Busiek focuses on rookies Justice & Firestar, who have swapped roles: one enthusiastic & the other unsure. Here, Justice realizes he’s comfier in the minors w/ his New Warriors.

last issue: Avengers #12
next issue: Avengers #14

also indexed for Feb. ’99
Avengers Forever #3 of 12

Avengers Forever #2 of 12

July 29, 2013

Avengers Forever 02Kurt Busiek // Carlos Pacheco
January 1999
*****

Rick Jones, acquiring time-manipulating superpowers, gathers Avengers to fight chrono-baddies. Ingeniously, the team’s drawn from several eras. It’s got Thomas’ delusional Yellowjacket & Englehart’s disillusioned Cap for drama, a few contempo members, & even future Avenger/current T-bolt Songbird!

last issue: Avengers Forever #1 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #3 of 12

also indexed for Jan. ’99
Avengers #12

Avengers #12

July 28, 2013

Avengers 12Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
January 1999
****

Editorial jumps the gun on an anniversary issue (it’s #13 next month) so think of #12 (& contempo Av Forever) as Busiek’s victory lap post-Heroes Return. He once again pits his beloved A-listers against the Thunderbolts, his clever variation on the superteam recipe. The reformed villains help the A’s defeat a robot behemoth; it lets him contrast Cap’s alpha leadership w/ Hawkeye’s underdog approach.

last issue: Avengers #11
next issue: Avengers #13

also indexed for Jan. ’99
Avengers Forever #2 of 12

Avengers Forever #1 of 12

July 27, 2013

Avengers Forever 01Kurt Busiek // Carlos Pacheco
December 1998
****

Busiek spins a mini out of last summer’s Kree crossover assisted by Pacheco, whose style is a mod ’90s update of Pérez’ image density. A classic Kirby AI-monster conspires to hyper-evolve perennial sidekick Rick Jones, a gambit that gets noticed by a sinister time guardian & his younger self—Kang!

next issue: Avengers Forever #2 of 12

also indexed for Dec. ’98
Avengers #11

Avengers #11

July 26, 2013

Avengers 11Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
December 1998
***

Schmaltz. A host of dead heroes turn good cuz they’re Avengers. Meanwhile, Wanda resurrects Wonder Man by adding the power of love to her magic. In turn, WM defeats his brother with filial affection. Pérez offers his trademarks: earthen columns of weirdness, gypsy outfits, & plenty of Kirby krackle.

last issue: Avengers #10
next issue: Avengers #12

also indexed for Dec. ’98
Avengers Forever #1 of 12

Avengers #10

July 25, 2013

Avengers 10Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 1998
***

Wanda gets in touch w/ her magic. More importantly, a parade for the team. It’s for 35 years of issues (& for the Heroes Return concept), yet it’s a throwback to Roy Thomas’ naïve adulation of superhero comics. Still, Busiek lurves them too, & his nuts-n-bolts approach is what The Avengers needs.

last issue: Avengers #9
next issue: Avengers #11

Avengers #9

July 24, 2013

Avengers 09Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
October 1998
****

Another issue of straight superheroics as the team storms a floating hotel/casino run by this arc’s foe, a ’70s black villain w/ quake powers. Busi finally creates something original as he adds chars to the roster: young heroes Triathlon & Silverclaw. To make room, he shifts Hawkeye to T-bolts.

last issue: Avengers #8
next issue: Avengers #10

Avengers #8

July 23, 2013

Avengers 08Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 1998
****

A simple plot—the team fights cybersuit thieves at JFK—gets lifted mightily by B&P’s craft. Each char has an ongoing conflict, like rookie Firestar’s anxieties or the weird love triangle btw Wanda, holo-Vision, & Wonder Man’s Kirby-Dot ghost. This run is a masterclass in serial characterization!

continued from Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998
last issue: Avengers #7
next issue: Avengers #9

Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998

July 22, 2013

Avengers Annual 1998Kurt Busiek & Len Kaminski // Carlos Pacheco
July 1998
***

Picking up the threads of Avengers #5-6, this annual is set up as an homage to DC’s JLA “crisis” team-ups. The Avengers partner with their counterparts in the Squadron Supreme to defeat a stock supervillain. His MO is to buy or steal super-artifacts from past Marvel adventures, which allows Busiek to display his encyclopedic & adoring knowledge of comics. Still, better than your typical annual.

continued from Avengers #7
continued in Avengers #8
last issue: Avengers Annual #23
next issue: Avengers Annual 1999

also indexed for July ’98
Avengers #6
Thunderbolts #16

Avengers #7

July 21, 2013

Avengers 07Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
August 1998
****

While craftsmen slowly rebuild Marvel after the ’90s excesses, editorial continues to stage cash-grab crossovers. In other mags, Ms. Marvel’s incipent alcoholism has helped stave an alien invasion. Now the battle climaxes on the moon, where a Kirby monster-AI’s secret helps the team carry the day.

continued from Quicksilver #10
continued in Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998
last issue: Avengers #6
next issue: Avengers #8

also indexed for August ’98
Quicksilver #10
Thunderbolts #17

Quicksilver #10

July 20, 2013

Quicksilver 10John Ostrander & Joe Edkin // Derec Aucoin
August 1998
*

The speedster’s short-lived series detours into a Ms. Marvel-centric Avengers crossover. Pietro, sis, & old pal Hawkeye stop a Kree superweapon & rescue Ms. M, whose liquor problem has (too) quickly rendered her incompetent. Auc’s outlined shapes & dark shadows are contempo reaction to Image excess.

continued from Captain America #7
continued in Avengers #7
last issue: Quicksilver #9
next issue: Quicksilver #11

also indexed for August ’98
Avengers #7
Thunderbolts #17

Avengers #6

July 19, 2013

Avengers 06Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
July 1998
***

Pérez’s layouts & attn to detail anchor this book, while his clean line reflects the unalloyed superheroices of Busiek’s scripts. So refreshing after a decade of mediocrity, tho’ it underscores how conservative the mag’s concept is. Here, Marvel’s Best fight a mind-controlled superteam one-on-one.

continued in Iron Man #7
last issue: Avengers #5
next issue: Avengers #7

also indexed for July ’98
Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998
Thunderbolts #16

Avengers #5

July 18, 2013

Avengers 05Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
June 1998
***

Squadron Supreme, a JLA pastiche & freq. dupes, get in a turf war over a plane-crash rescue. Buse’s homage to Roy Thomas echoes Mark Gruenwald’s retro impulses; like them, he does great team dynamics, in characterization & in action. Pérez matches that sunny optimism w/ his open, clean style.

last issue: Avengers #4
next issue: Avengers #6

also indexed for Jun. ’98
Thunderbolts #15

Avengers #4

July 17, 2013

Avengers 04Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
May 1998
****

The team’s charter members pick a line-up, a solipsistic scenario replayed often in the ’00s. Busiek, like Thomas & Stern before him, seems slightly awed by the title he’s writing. But his pleasure comes thru in his light touch, like Justice snagging a bank thief where the 40-member team failed.

last issue: Avengers #3
next issue: Avengers #5

also indexed for May ’98
Thunderbolts #14

Avengers #3

July 16, 2013

Avengers 03Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
April 1998
***

Cap & co play Robin Hood in a medieval alt reality; Scarlet Witch saves the day by resurrecting Wonder Man. It’s a simple story w/ a forthright tone, almost Silver Age except for Jorge’s complex depth-of-field & density of image. So, having relaunched the Avengers, B&G must cull the 39-man roster!

last issue: Avengers #2
next issue: Avengers #4

also indexed for Apr. ’98
Thunderbolts #13

Avengers #2

July 15, 2013

Avengers 02Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
March 1998
****

A sorceress has used the Scarlet Witch to refashion reality. The Ren Fair trappings may seem a bit much, but they suit Pérez to a T—esp. the chance to redesign costumes as armor. Busiek’s best idea, tho’, is that “true Avengers” can shake off the spell: a roster that incl. Justice but not Iron Man!

last issue: Avengers #1
next issue: Avengers #3

also indexed for Mar. ’98
Thunderbolts #12

Avengers #1

July 14, 2013

Avengers 01Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
February 1998
****

Pérez returns to Marvel’s supergroup superteam, tapping Busiek (hot off Marvels & Astro City in ’95 & last year’s T-bolts) to help w/ the relaunch. They’re well-matched: neither conservative nor radical, dense w/ info yet clear at storytelling. Echoing the Lee/Kirby original, a mage manipulates Earth’s superheroes into teaming up. This time, it’s an Arthurian, Morgan le Fey, using Asgardian magic.

next issue: Avengers #2

also indexed for Feb. ’98
Thunderbolts #11

The Fantastic Four #354

July 13, 2013

Fantastic Four 354Walt Simonson
July 1991
*****
The team erases the records of the MU before it’s interdicted by a temporal agency (a la Anti-Monitor!). Simonson adds his comic-surreal touch by engineering the team’s escape aboard a transdimensional locomotive! An imaginative finale to a marvelous run that’s stressed adventure over crimefighting.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #353]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #355]

The Fantastic Four #353

July 12, 2013

Fantastic Four 353Walt Simonson
June 1991
*****
Walt’s found his groove. The Four have been detained by an omniversal bureaucracy that polices spacetime for continuity infractions—like #337-41! A preposterous SF idea, it epitomizes the sense of fun that Simonson has brought to his FF run. Even his art—like the Thing’s extra-rocky hide—sizzles.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #352]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #354]

The Fantastic Four #352

July 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 352Walt Simonson
May 1991
*****
An ingenious issue of SF comics! While the team escapes from Doom’s traps, Mr F duels the Doc across a half-hour of time-jumps. The issue’s time-coded so readers can follow the action linearly or hop achronologically with the combat. Even the cover, a flashback to #350, is a panel in the story!
[continued from The Fantastic Four #350]
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #351]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #353]

The Fantastic Four #350

July 10, 2013

Fantastic Four 350Walt Simonson
March 1991
***
An extra-long ish sees Dr. Doom cure She-Thing’s condition, &, ironically, Ben Grimm regain his rocky hide. Then Doom traps the team at his Ruritanian castle to challenge Reed to a time-duel! Simonson doesn’t quite have Doom’s voice down. But his art has bigger problems: Milgrom inks a rush job, eliminating the backgrounds & losing WS’s heavy line; the colorist washes out the remainder.
[continued in The Fantastic Four #352]
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #349]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #351]

The Fantastic Four #349

July 9, 2013

Fantastic Four 349Walt Simonson // Arthur Adams & Gracine Tanaka
February 1991
***
A dozen players chase a Maguffin, an egg that hatches a robot WMD. Mr. F & Mole Man hold the focus; Wolverine & Ghost Rider never seem wholly present. Simonson doesn’t have a handle on the guests’ voices or superpowes. His strongest suit, aside from Mr. F himself, is approaching comic books as fun.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #348]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #350]

The Fantastic Four #348

July 8, 2013

Fantastic Four 348Walt Simonson // Arthur Adams
January 1991
***
A team of A-list solo guests sows the mag’s tongue in its cheek. But other than the goof, WS has no use for them; it’s Adams who justifies the cameos. His style has a toon-like element—esp. lovely monsters & Sue’s doe eyes—which looks past the Image era to super-manga like Joes Maduriera & Quesada.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #347]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #349]

The Fantastic Four #347

July 7, 2013

Fantastic Four 347Walt Simonson
December 1990
****
A renegade Skrull zaps the Four then recruits a 1990 Marvel marketer’s dream-team to replace them. Meanwhile, Simonson brings in more monsters, in this case Kirby kaiju! Adams’ baroque art has all the density of the era’s unfortunate style but, bonus, a sense of anatomy, backgrounds, & pacing.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #346]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #348]

The Fantastic Four #346

July 6, 2013

Fantastic Four 346Walt Simonson
November 1990
****
The 4+1, sans powers (except for a Thing exosuit), help a GI squad survive a time-displaced isle. Simonson’s signature is a stylized dinosaur, so it’s no surprise he revels in this 2-issue adventure. But he takes time to enrich the romance btw Ben & She-Thing, who proposes staying in the Cretaceous.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #345]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #347]

The Fantastic Four #345

July 5, 2013

Fantastic Four 345Walt Simonson
October 1990
****
The FF skid through a time-storm to land on a Pacific isle—packed with dinosaurs! Simonson adds to the pulp conceit by sapping the team of their powers. Ben, already human, steps up to act the mensch with his paramour, Sharon Ventura, who’s anxious about her body now that it’s flesh instead of rock!
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #344]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #346]

The Fantastic Four #344

July 4, 2013

Fantastic Four 344Walt Simonson
September 1990
****
To avert WW3 on a parallel Earth, the Four & She-Thing tussle w/ a cyborg Stalin piloting a mecha suit! Simonson is inspired, a contrast in tone to the era’s gun-toting urban vigilantism. His art, however, carries a rugged weight & vibrant SFX—he’s like Chaykin’s younger, more popular brother.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #343]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #345]

The Fantastic Four #343

July 3, 2013

Fantastic Four 343Walt Simonson
August 1990
****
The team have landed on a parallel Earth where Pres. Quayle & 100-year-old Stalin prep for WW3. Funny, since reality, where the SU is imploding & the US fights a recession! But the true-blue heroics contrast happily w/ super-comics’ fad for antiheroes. Plus WS looks great after WS’s month off.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #342]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #344]

The Fantastic Four #342

July 2, 2013

Fantastic Four 342Danny Fingeroth // Rex Valve
July 1990
*
Editor Macchio pulls a fill-in from his files, flashing back to ’88 (Engleheart’s era—a spikey Thing!). The wet tale revises a skippable issue from Byrne’s run: a teen kills himself by emulating the Torch. Overwrought emo, a tin ear for slang, and a finale that has Johnny rap with kids about suicide.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #341]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #343]

The Fantastic Four #341

July 1, 2013

Fantastic Four 341Walt Simonson
June 1990
***
Rather than consume the universe, Galactus commits euthanasia by that Kirby ex machina, the Ultimate Nullifier. Reed defeats a space succubus just as easily. As bold as Simonson’s art is, his plot feels too indebted to King Jack’s retro SF; he’s not pioneering a new perspective the way his Thor did.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #340]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #342]