Archive for August, 2013

Thunderbolts #42

August 31, 2013

Thunderbolts 42Fabian Nicieza // Mark Bagley
September 2000
**

Nicieza inches each plot forward a notch while pitching Atlas into an Avengers crossover. But his focus remains the soaping up of his cast: a rejected second chance for a butch-dyke supervillain; an internal monologue, midbrawl, for Dallas; & teasing secret IDs for Crimson Cowl & the Scourge.

continued in Avengers #32
last issue: Thunderbolts #41
next issue: Thunderbolts #43

also indexed for Sept. ’00
Avengers #32

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Avengers #31

August 30, 2013

Avengers 31Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
August 2000
****

The team help bust up the Marvel U’s crime syndicate, but that’s a sideshow to the character-based action of #31’s first half. The Pym double-act returns, as Yellowjacket skulks around the Mansion; the Wasp shows her long-standing aptitude for field leadership; Triathlon pals w/ Ms. M & She-Hulk.

last issue: Avengers #30
next issue: Avengers #32

Avengers Annual 2000

August 29, 2013

Avengers Annual 2000Kurt Busiek // Norm Breyfogle
July 2000
**

Standard annual fare. This throwaway adventure shows little effort, aside from a set of pages drawn in ’40s teen comics style; mostly it seems to exist to tee up a Hellcat mini. Too bad, as Patsy Walker is one of Marvel’s oldest characters, whose long history Busiek could exploit. Having escaped from Hell, the onetime Defender draws the title team into a damp mystical plot to conquer the world.

last issue: Avengers Annual 1999
next issue: Avengers Annual 2001

also indexed for Jul. ’00
Avengers #30

Avengers #30

August 28, 2013

Avengers 30Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
July 2000
***

The Claremontian homage concludes with the evil sorcerer failing in his apotheosis. Tidy writing as usual, w/ Triathlon standing out by bearing the writer’s liberal guilt. But the arc’s drive comes from the pencils of Pérez, whose imagination & sense of setting prove him Kirby’s true & great heir.

last issue: Avengers #29
next issue: Avengers #31

also indexed for July ’00
Avengers Annual 2000

Avengers #29

August 27, 2013

Avengers 29Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
June 2000
****

A time-displaced Hyborian sorcerer aims to sacrifice an Incan volcano goddess to Elder Gods, but she happens to be the mother of adjunct Avenger Silverclaw. No surprise to see Busiek delve into Marvel U’s secret pulp roots in Lovecraft & Howard, but this plot too closely echoes his inaugural arc.

last issue: Avengers #28
next issue: Avengers #30

Avengers #28

August 26, 2013

Avengers 28Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
May 2000
***

Looking for trouble in C. America, the new roster finds a fantasy realm conjured by a wizard. Tho’ the mage originated in Roy T’s Conan, his creator is more properly Claremont, in Marvel Team-Up & a strange set of X-issues. Sword/sorcerey is an odd fit for this team too, but it suits Pérez superbly.

last issue: Avengers #27
next issue: Avengers #29

Avengers #27

August 25, 2013

Avengers 27Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
April 2000
****

Just two years in, KB shuffles his roster. He’s deliberately made the Avs less A-list & more motley, indirectly addressing issues of race & gender w/o taking sides politically. He also implies that the Triune cult is conspiring to weaken the Avengers, having planted their own superhero on the team.

last issue: Avengers #26
next issue: Avengers #28

Avengers #26

August 24, 2013

Avengers 26Kurt Busiek // Stuart Immonen
March 2000
****

Like a late-period ish from Claremont’s X-run, #26 lacks a single member of the mag’s cast yet it’s pivotal. A phony Cap recruits super-patsies for the Triune Cult’s smear campaign against the team. Lovely pencils from returning guest Immonen, whose dynamism balances shadow w/ 4-color buoyancy.

last issue: Avengers #25
next issue: Avengers #27

Avengers Forever #12 of 12

August 23, 2013

Avengers Forever 12Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
February 2000
***

While AF provided the epic conflict that Busiek’s Avengers needed, it never fulfilled its early promise. The Destiny War is revealed as a battle btw Avengers from noble & corrupt timelines. It ends w/ Rick Jones fused to Capt. Marvel Jr. & w/ lords of time Kang & Immortus as distinct beings.

last issue: Avengers Forever #11 of 12

also indexed for Feb ’00
Avengers #25

Avengers #25

August 22, 2013

Avengers 25Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
February 2000
****

Busiek makes Avs into Marvel Central by picking up other mags’ plots, incl. the climax to a low-profile crossover. A pantheon of uglies, mystically empowered to fight armageddon, was rebuffed by member Juggernaut (in his very own one-off!). Cap bests them not thru combat but by appealing to their humanity. Then he quits the team, acting as scapegoat for their unpopularity w/ the public & press.

last issue: Avengers #24
next issue: Avengers #26

also indexed for Feb. ’00
Avengers Forever #12 of 12

Avengers #24

August 21, 2013

Avengers 24Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
January 2000
***

Echoes of X-books: protests continue outside the Mansion, linked perhaps to this mag’s lurking cult. And X-foe Juggernaut shows up, threatened by a Kirby-like pantheon of baddies who, like himself, have been mystically empowered. Their flying temple lets Pérez draw his classic stony textures.

last issue: Avengers #23
next issue: Avengers #25

Avengers #23

August 20, 2013

Avengers 23Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
December 1999
****

A shift of pace after the Ultron arc. Once again, the team debates affirmative action. This doesn’t quite mirror a midair argument btw Wonder Man & Vision on who’s authentic & who’s more fortunate. But their cod-soulful brothers’ spat is a nice feint after a year of teasing at a love triangle.

last issue: Avengers #22
next issue: Avengers #24

Avengers Forever #11 of 12

August 19, 2013

Avengers Forever 11Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
November 1999
***

As in “The Kree-Skrull War”, Rick Jones—now aged & weathered, linked once more to Capt. Marvel—manifests the author’s heroes from a field of cosmic Kirby dots. For R. Thomas, that was ’40s masked men; for Kurt B., it’s the Avengers themselves. Pacheco provides scope, but the solipsism is a letdown.

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

also indexed for Nov. ’99
Avengers #22

Avengers #22

August 18, 2013

Avengers 22Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 1999
****

A satisfyingly retro conclusion to an A-1 Ultron arc. Vision’s offer of redemption adds a dash of sentiment; Pym’s admission of culpability + furious beat-down = instant catharsis. But the real star is Pérez, whose bewilderingly detailed Kirbytech & powerful musculature leaps into the reader’s eyes.

last issue: Avengers #21
next issue: Avengers #23

also indexed for Nov. ’99
Avengers Forever #11 of 12

Avengers Forever #10 of 12

August 17, 2013

Avengers Forever 10Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
October 1999
***

The team stands trial before a tribunal of aliens from the end of time who guide history to guarantee their own birth. This year-long mini hits its third issue of expository conversation in a row. It hasn’t quite stalled but it’s dangerously close. Fortunately, Pacheco’s gridwork keeps it snazzy.

last issue: Avengers Forever #9 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #11 of 12

also indexed for Oct. ’99
Avengers #21

Avengers #21

August 16, 2013

Avengers 21Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
October 1999
****

Pérez draws on war comics as he & Busiek show superheroes & GIs in exhausting, European-style combat. The foe is a cyber-zombie army, the murdered pop of a Baltic country (!), reanimated by Marvel’s mad robot, Ultron. He also monologues his plan to scan his “family’s” engrams into his ‘bot species.

last issue: Avengers #20
next issue: Avengers #22

also indexed for Oct. ’99
Avengers Forever #10 of 12

Avengers #20

August 15, 2013

Avengers 20Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 1999
*****

MIA for years, Ultron returns to commit mechanized genocide upon a Baltic country! The ampage of stakes is akin to contemporary Authority, refiguring supervillainy in more grimly realistic terms. The plot moves Pym centerstage, despite his absence, as his ex-wife reviews his pitiable mental history.

last issue: Avengers #19
next issue: Avengers #21

Avengers Forever #9 of 12

August 14, 2013

Avengers Forever 09Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
August 1999
****

#9, like #8, is an expository ish, w/o the retcon but w/ a stronger character. Kang aims to subvert destiny itself—a worthy goal for the despot! Busiek (who nails the fustian voice) smooths the pretzelled history of this character, with its divergent time-lines, multiversal councils, and alt IDs.

last issue: Avengers Forever #8 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #10 of 12

also indexed for Aug. ’99
Avengers #19

Avengers #19

August 13, 2013

Avengers 19Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
August 1999
****

#19 hits the beats we expect from this run: good team dynamics, a Roy Thomas revival (a sassy killer fembot from his WCA run), & Scarlet W. saving the day using her recent power-up; all drawn in high superhero style. Then the climax hits: Ultron slaughters an entire country! Finally—Avengers stakes.

last issue: Avengers #18
next issue: Avengers #20

also indexed for Aug. ’99
Avengers Forever #9 of 12

Avengers Forever #8 of 12

August 12, 2013

Avengers Forever 08Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
July 1999
***

The writers engineer a retcon that Rascally Roy would envy. It’s effected via exposition dump that “changes all you know” about the Avengers’ history. Plotting errors & paradoxes—from the Vision’s origin to Galactic Storm—get “explained” as a chronal conspiracy to prevent a human galactic empire.

last issue: Avengers Forever #7 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #9 of 12

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers #0

Avengers #0

August 11, 2013

Avengers 00Kurt Busiek // Stuart Immonen
July 1999
***

A free supplement to Wizard #95, #0 isn’t essential to Busiek’s Avengers run but it shows how good that run is. Framed as a TV infotainment, it recaps the last 16 months of drama AWA staging a routine mission. Immonen, a rising DC star, pencils realistic detail in a forward-looking superhero style.

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Avengers Annual 1999

August 10, 2013

Avengers Annual 1999Kurt Busiek & John Francis Moore // Leonardo Manco
July 1999
**

This action-adventure pits the Avengers against a squad of Sentinels repurposed to replace the once-MIA superheroes. The concept has Busiek’s fingerprints: adoration for the title team & its inspiring effect on everyday citizens. For it’s Jarvis who shuts the robots down, & a support technician who’d programmed them. Standard annual fare, tho’ Manco does good cyber-horror a la Barry Windsor-Smith.

last issue: Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998
next issue: Avengers Annual 2000

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers #0
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Avengers #18

August 9, 2013

Avengers 18Jerry Ordway
July 1999
**

The team restores a barbarian king to his throne. Simultaneously loose & rushed, this visit to a planet of sword/sorcery doesn’t come off. Tho’ it feels like Busiek’s tale—a callback to one of Roy T’s less Avenger-y ideas—Ordway’s art has a 2D, Sal Buscema style & his plotting is formulaic.

last issue: Avengers #17
next issue: Avengers #19

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers #0
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Avengers Forever #7 of 12

August 8, 2013

Avengers Forever 07Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
June 1999
***

As the team storms an Escher-like citadel in Limbo, its various members work thru internal conflicts. Cap & Hawk gain confidence while Avs from the future share a kiss. But the strongest bit is the double-act of Ant-Men, as the schizoid version (Yellowjacket from Av #59) seems to betray the team!

last issue: Avengers Forever #6 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #8 of 12

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers #17

Avengers #17

August 7, 2013

Avengers 17Jerry Ordway
June 1999
***

While a half-dozen superheroes putz around an alt dimension, back in NYC Ms. Marvel gets kidnapped by a big blue cyborg—actually a grisly fusion of two foes from the Claremont era of Ms. M. The KO goes to Justice, suffering from a concussion. Despite the melodrama, it’s nice to see an injury matter.

last issue: Avengers #16
next issue: Avengers #18

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers Forever #7 of 12

Avengers Forever #6 of 12

August 6, 2013

Avengers Forever 06Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
May 1999
***

In one future, T’Challa sacrifices his vibranium to save a pregnant android & a golden insectoid swarm. The choice has been engineered by Immortus, whose power over spacetime is bent on keeping humanity on Earth. But that plot requires some deduction, since Kurt & Roger refuse to spell it out.

last issue: Avengers Forever #5 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #7 of 12

also indexed for May ’99
Avengers #16

Avengers #16

August 5, 2013

Avengers 16Jerry Ordway
May 1999
**

Ordway, a stalwart on Superman, fills in for a trio of issues. He’s an inker-turned-headliner, not too creative but a pro. His arc sends the team to New Orleans at Mardi Gras, where the Wrecking Crew (Silver Age-type super-mooks in colorful duds) kidnap the ’80s Cptn. Marvel for some armored dude.

last issue: Avengers #15
next issue: Avengers #17

also indexed for May ’99
Avengers Forever #6 of 12

Avengers Forever #5 of 12

August 4, 2013

Avengers Forever 05Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
April 1999
***

Immortus begins erasing various ‘verses to stop humanity from conquering the future. Busiek echoes the classic Crisis, of course, also in that both minis seem to stall at times. To provide a dialogue assist, he’s enlisted Stern, from The Avengers‘ last glory era (& one that Busiek passes by).

last issue: Avengers Forever #4 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #6 of 12

also indexed for Apr. ’99
Avengers #15

Avengers #15

August 3, 2013

Avengers 15Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
April 1999
***

Catspaws from the last two issues (an alien-looking noble & a ’90s parody) bang on each other, making the team look like chumps. The action’s behind the scenes, as (A) a New Age cult has megalomaniac aims, and (B) Ultron preps for genocide. KB finally creates new ideas, but they’re rather wan.

last issue: Avengers #14
next issue: Avengers #16

also indexed for Apr. ’99
Avengers Forever #5 of 12

Avengers Forever #4 of 12

August 2, 2013

Avengers Forever 04Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Carlos Pacheco
March 1999
****

Busiek pays homage to Thomas & Englehart, building his mini partly around their runs. His Avengers board a time machine to stop Immortus from erasing their sidekick, Rick Jones. They’re off to the Wild West (backstage in Av #142-3!), Killraven’s future, & ’50s America—where VP Nixon is a Skrull!

last issue: Avengers Forever #3 of 12
next issue: Avengers Forever #5 of 12

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers #14

Avengers #14

August 1, 2013

Avengers 14Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
March 1999
***

Wanda M. seems to be Busiek’s focal Avenger. Powered up back in #1-3, she’s now caught in a soapy triangle btw “brothers” Wonder Man & Vision, & she’s also challenging Cap himself on leadership! But despite that + some violence (& shadowed supervillains), the soul of #14 is a guest app by the Beast.

last issue: Avengers #13
next issue: Avengers #15

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers Forever #4 of 12