Archive for September, 2013

Avengers #53

September 30, 2013

Avengers 53Kurt Busiek // Kieren Dwyer
June 2002
***

The year-long arc reaches its epic climax: titan-sized holograms of Kang & Cap duke it out in orbit while their starships batter each other! It’s exactly the sort of fun super-SF that suits this mag. Dwyer’s pencilling is clear, dynamic, & accessible; it resembles animated TV superheroics nicely.

last issue: Avengers #52
next issue: Avengers #54

also indexed for Jun’ 02
Alias #8
New X-Men #125

Advertisements

Avengers #52

September 29, 2013

Avengers 52Kurt Busiek // Ivan Reis
May 2002
***

The Avengers rally against the chrono-despot Kang, forcing his armies off the planet. An expected, disappointing return to superhero formula after last issue’s pointillist intimacy & (relative) realism. Reis joins the mag for an issue, his stolid work neither adding nor detracting from the action.

last issue: Avengers #51
next issue: Avengers #53

also indexed for May ’02
Alias #7
New X-Men #124

Avengers #51

September 28, 2013

Avengers 51Kurt Busiek // Brent Anderson
April 2002
****

Wanda M helps Wonder Man escape a POW camp after they share a bittersweet heart-to-heart. Like #47, this ish focuses on emotional connections in the midst of super-adventure. It’s Busiek in Astro City mode, all the more obvious w/ that mag’s creative partner Anderson drawing grim, heavy artwork.

last issue: Avengers #50
next issue: Avengers #52

also indexed for Apr. ’02
Alias #6
New X-Men #123

Avengers #50

September 27, 2013

Avengers 50Kurt Busiek // Kieren Dwyer
March 2002
**

Digressing from Kang’s Invasion Saga, Busiek ends his long-simmering Triune arc, which frankly never quite clicked. The cult was founded to fight a gnostic demiurge (a Big Dumb Object, pyramid-shaped in a nod to Authority). But cult-leader Tremont is a standard megalomaniac; a link btw 3-D Man & Triathlon is murky; & a Gaiman-like mythos lacks gravity. But Dwyer delivers electrifying psychedelics.

last issue: Avengers #49
next issue: Avengers #51

also indexed for Mar. ’02
Alias #5
New X-Men #122

Avengers #49

September 26, 2013

Avengers 49Kurt Busiek // Kieren Dwyer
February 2002
**

A fleet of Sentinels attack Wash DC, directed by a titanic hologram of Kang. Editors have mandated wordless issues for Feb. But KB relies heavily on dialogue to put flesh to his superheroes, so his work here is bland. Mostly #49 is aerial combat, tho’ a nuclear climax is cheap, in light of 9/11.

last issue: Avengers #48
next issue: Avengers #50

also indexed for Feb. ’02
Alias #4
New X-Men #121

Avengers #48

September 25, 2013

Avengers 48Kurt Busiek // Kieren Dwyer
January 2002
***

Ms. Marvel dispatches her subplot w/ a blade, upping the stakes to wartime levels. But the main plot sees an orbital strikeforce defeated by Kang. Dwyer, onetime collaborator on Cap, draws w/ a cartoon dynamism, cool on its own but counter to the epic tone of this arc (10 issues & counting!).

last issue: Avengers #47
next issue: Avengers #49

also indexed for Jan. ’02
Alias #3
New X-Men #120

Avengers #47

September 24, 2013

Avengers 47Kurt Busiek // Manuel Garcia
December 2001
***

Busiek aims to revive Ms. Marvel, a char defined by Claremont & marred by Shooter. In the issue, Kang’s son (an alt version of her cosmic rapist!) courts her w/ a warrior’s chivalry by helping storm an Arctic citadel. The A+ cover, an homage to Gone with the Wind, almost makes up for last month’s.

last issue: Avengers #46
next issue: Avengers #48

also indexed for Dec. ’01
Alias #2
New X-Men #119

Avengers #46

September 23, 2013

Avengers 46Kurt Busiek // Manuel Garcia
November 2001
**

Earth becomes a battleground as Kang invades, a weirdo from Byrne’s Alpha Flight stages a global coup, & the kooky cult detects an “evil” entering the solar system. KB keeps adding plates to spin impressively, but he’s let down by Garcia’s weightless pencils. And an awful cover, meant to honor 9/11.

continued from Avengers: The Ultron Imperative
last issue: Avengers #45
next issue: Avengers #47

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers: The Ultron Imperative
New X-Men #118

Avengers: The Ultron Imperative

September 22, 2013

Avengers - The Ultron ImperativeKurt Busiek, Steve Englehart, Roger Stern, & Roy Thomas // Tom Grummett, Klaus Janson, John Paul Leon, John McCrea, Pat Olliffe, Jorge Lucas, Paul Smith, & Jim Starlin
November 2001
***

Picking up on Avengers #19-22, Ultron’s “daughter” invents androids based on the Avengers’ brainwaves, but also fulfills a secret program to rebuild her robot father. A graphic novella conceived by Busiek & scripted by the all-time top Avengers scribes. The artists are a more eclectic collection, w/ vast shifts in style from chapter to chapter. JP Leon does a grim street look; Smith has an angular clarity; the rest are okay. But the lack of cohesion—both in dialogue & art—works against the book.

continued from Avengers #45
continued in Avengers #46

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers #46
New X-Men #118

Avengers #45

September 21, 2013

Avengers 45Kurt Busiek // Manuel Garcia
October 2001
***

#45 is one of those respites btw adventures, popularized by Claremont, but it comes amid a build-up to World War Kang. The despot marshals his forces in the 40C; the Earth fortifies its defenses; & the Avengers take some R&R. Busiek, as usual, gets the most from his players, incl. Thor & Q’silver.

continued in Avengers: The Ultron Imperative
last issue: Avengers #44
next issue: Avengers #46

also indexed for Oct. ’01
New X-Men #117

Avengers #44

September 20, 2013

Avengers 44Kurt Busiek // Manuel Garcia
September 2001
***

Thor, enraged by Cap’s near-death, broods on immortality’s costs—a smart suggestion of the stakes in the Kang arc. Another strong KB character, Ms. Marvel (see his run in IM), wins an army via trial-by-combat, tho Vision questions her rashness. Sadly Alan Davis has been replaced by a shoddy no-name.

continued from Avengers Annual 2001
last issue: Avengers #43
next issue Avengers #45

also indexed for Sept. ’01
Avengers Annual 2001
New X-Men #116
New X-Men Annual 2001

Avengers Annual 2001

September 19, 2013

Avengers Annual 2001A-story: Kurt Busiek // Ivan Reis
B-story: Kurt Busiek // Ian Churchill
September 2001
A-story: *** // B-story: *

With the regular title in an epic arc, Busiek uses the annual to resolve the mystery of Doc Pym’s döppelganger. On an astral plane, 3 Pyms fuse into a healthy gestalt. They’re helped, surprisingly, by the Triune Understanding, a Scientology-like cult that’s built a starship powered by belief. A lame backup has Jarvis fill continuity gaps. In both pieces, the art is par for supercomics post-J. Lee.

continued from Avengers #43
continued in Avengers #44
last issue: Avengers Annual 2000

also indexed for Sept. ’01
Avengers #44
New X-Men #116
New X-Men Annual 2001

Avengers #43

September 18, 2013

Avengers 43Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
August 2001
****

Around the globe, Avengers ally w/ local military to stop super-insurgencies sponsored by the Conqueror. Marvel soap opera fills out the spaces of this epic story, making for esp. strong superteam comics. In one poten. risky plot devo, Ms. Marvel recognizes Kang’s son as her infamous star-rapist!

continued in Avengers Annual 2001
last issue: Avengers #42
next issue: Avengers #44

also indexed for Aug. ’01
New X-Men #115

Avengers #42

September 17, 2013

Avengers 42Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
July 2001
*****

Kang, Julius C. of the 41C, invades Earth to save it from doomsday What If…? scenarios. One of the strongest issues in Busiek’s run! He writes a great Kang (see his Forever maxiseries), & foreshadows grand plans for this arc. Davis also nails the Conqueror, giving his future tech a weird softness.

last issue: Avengers #41
next issue: Avengers#43

also indexed for Jul. ’01
New X-Men #114

Avengers #41

September 16, 2013

Avengers 41Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
June 2001
***

A solid set-up issue, checking in w/ subplots (e.g. Wanda M & Wonder Man easing out of love) before a new arc kicks in. Kang’s been lurking in a sword-shaped starship for a few issues, teaching his son the family trade. Now he blows up the UN—a discomfiting augery of 9/11—while saving those inside.

last issue: Avengers #40
next issue: Avengers #42

Avengers #40

September 15, 2013

Avengers 40Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
May 2001
****

To disassemble a giant Hulk gestalt comprised of a Greek village, the Avengers summon Doc Banner. Meanwhile at the manse, minor castmember Silverclaw fends off an intruder solo (a classic Claremont scenario). Like Pérez, Davis complements Busiek’s creative joy perfectly w/ his happy-go-lucky tone.

last issue: Avengers #39
next issue: Avengers #41

Avengers #39

September 14, 2013

Avengers 39Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
April 2001
****

A Balkan town has been Hulk-ified by a Silver-Age mage! To make the sitch worse, Dr. Pym has been replaced by his unstable döppelganger from Av Forever (that is, Roy T’s manic Yellowjacket). Part 2 of a minor 3-issue arc, yet the creative team has gelled so quickly that the mag’s as good as ever.

last issue: Avengers #38
next issue: Avengers #40

Avengers #38

September 13, 2013

Avengers 38Kurt Busiek // Alan Davis
March 2001
****

Alan Davis replaces Pérez; both have a buoyant tone that updates the superspirit of the ’60s. In turn, Busiek gives the team a Clintonian foreign policy, an Avenger response to the global action of The Authority. His heart, however, is on the Vision’s search for himself & on Pym’s double-self.

last issue: Avengers #37
next issue: Avengers #39

Avengers #37

September 12, 2013

Avengers 37Kurt Busiek // Steve Epting
February 2001
***

A 2-part interlude btw Pérez & Davis, reiterating the Triune conspiracy & revisiting the Baltic dead zone created by Ultron. Epting’s improved greatly since his Avengers run in the ’90s. He shows a confident sense of draftsmanship & pacing, but his “acting” & facial expressions are too hard-boiled.

last issue: Avengers #36
next issue: Avengers #38

Avengers #36

September 11, 2013

Avengers 36Kurt Busiek // Steve Epting
January 2001
***

The least exciting issue of Busiek’s Avengers so far. Partly that’s due to Epting’s guest pencils: a realist, plenty of shadow for drama, but not electrifying. But it’s also due to KB’s most original (& least compelling) plot: the Triune, revealed here to be related somehow to Thomas creation 3-D Man.

continued from Maximum Security #3 of 3
last issue: Avengers #35
next issue: Avengers #37

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Maximum Security #3 of 3

Maximum Security #3 of 3

September 10, 2013

Maximum Security 3Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
January 2001
**

Superheroes stop an alien intelligence from turning Earth into an interstellar bio-electrical WMD. A confusing climax to a conventional crossover, whose potential rarely came into focus. Ordway’s flat art lends the feeling that Max Sec is a ’80s DC tale bloated by minor plots & lapsed characters.

continued from Avengers #35
last issue: Maximum Security #2 of 3

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36

Avengers #35

September 9, 2013

Avengers 35Kurt Busiek // John Romita, Jr.
December 2000
****

R. Stern’s offworld Avengers hope to reverse an intergalactic UN’s edict that’s made Earth a penal colony. Via info dump, the ish helpfully clarifies the plot twist that the Ruul are actually mutated Kree. And JR Jr., @ the height of his talent, provides the alien weirdness that space opera needs.

continued from Maximum Security #2 of 3
continued in Maximum Security #3 of 3
last issue: Avengers #34
next issue: Avengers #36

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Maximum Security #2 of 3

Maximum Security #2 of 3

September 8, 2013

Maximum Security 2Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
December 2000
**

The Reagan-era Captain America holds the line against criminal ET immigrants & uncovers a conspiracy by the great Kirby AI, the Kree Supreme Intelligence. A creative slant on alien invasion, tho’ a bit right-wing by design. Ordway echoes this conservativism, a throwback to dull early ’80s art.

continued in Avengers #35
last issue: Maximum Security #1 of 3
next issue: Maximum Security #3 of 3

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35

Maximum Security #1 of 3

September 7, 2013

Maximum Security 1Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
November 2000
***

Busiek & his editors orchestrate a massive ’80s-style crossover, w/ this miniseries (incl. a prologue) acting as spine & many mags sacrificing an issue in support. The high concept: Earth has been made into a galactic penal colony. US Agent offers narration, a pig-headed man-of-action w/ more flavor than your standard Avenger. Ordway’s artwork is buoyant but may be too light for the mini’s needs.

continued from Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
continued from Avengers #34
next issue: Maximum Security #2 of 3

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Thunderbolts #44
Avengers #34

Avengers #34

September 6, 2013

Avengers 34Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 2000
****

Pérez & Busiek put their all into GP’s swansong for an issue of old-school superheroics. An aristo aims to inundate the globe w/ “ionic energy”, killing millions & putting millions more under his control. Avengers & T-bolts can’t stop him, but his cracked daughter can. High stakes; deft dialogue; exuberant artwork; inspiring heroism; a huge cast: this arc exemplifies the duo’s superb Avengers run.

continued from Thunderbolts #44
continued in Maximum Security #1 of 3
last issue: Avengers #33
next issue: Avengers #35

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Thunderbolts #44
Maximum Security #1 of 3

Thunderbolts #44

September 5, 2013

Thunderbolts 44Fabian Nicieza // Mark Bagley
November 2000
***

Most of #44 exposits on the Avengers crossover (Count Nefaria has a classically baroque supervillain plan), while moving its various hammy subplots forward incrimentally. Fortunately, Bagley’s art looks better than ever due to new inker Adams, who emphasizes the ’90s manga-like physiques.

continued from Avengers #33
continued in Avengers #34
last issue: Thunderbolts #43
next issue: Thunderbolts #45

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Avengers #34
Maximum Security #1 of 3

Avengers #33

September 4, 2013

Avengers 33Kurt Busiek // George Pérez & Paul Ryan
October 2000
****

KB has rarely written 1st-person narration in his Av run, so it’s a surprise that he anchors this issue w/ a villainess’ internal monologue. But it effectively shows Mme. Masque’s struggle to overcome paranoia & trust the team. Atop GP’s layouts, Ryan’s touch of realism adds to her inner conflict.

continued from Thunderbolts #43
continued in Thunderbolts #44
last issue: Avengers #32
next issue: Avengers #34

also indexed for Oct. ’00
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
Thunderbolts #43

Thunderbolts #43

September 3, 2013

Thunderbolts 43Fabian Nicieza // Mark Bagley
October 2000
***

The Black Widow drags the T-bolts into a crossover involving organized crime, Atlas, & the Avengers. It’s rather confusing, while the mag’s secrets—Fixer-as-Ogre, Scourge a’lurking, & general self-doubt—muddle the issue even more. But new inker Greg Adams augments Bagley’s cartoon impulses nicely.

continued from Avengers #32
continued in Avengers #33
last issue: Thunderbolts #42
next issue: Thunderbolts #44

also indexed for Oct. ’00
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
Avengers #33

Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1

September 2, 2013

Maximum Security - Dangerous PlanetKurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
October 2000
*

W/ this one-shot, Marvel inaugurates its first major crossover since Heroes Reborn. The action has the Surfer & Prof X (w/ his cadre of mutant Skrulls) attack a living planet. The rest of MS: DP is a windy debate in an intergalactic UN on the issue of Earth’s interference in their affairs; a new species manipulates the affair for unknown reasons. Even fans of space opera will find it labored.

continued in Maximum Security #1 of 3

also indexed for Oct. 2000
Thunderbolts #43
Avengers #33

Avengers #32

September 1, 2013

Avengers 32Kurt Busiek // George Pérez & Paul Ryan
September 2000
***

Like the cover says, #32 unkinks the bent history of Madame Masque. On top of her daddy issues, the gold-masked Iron Man foe/ex-GF now has clones, a secret NV base, & a paranoid streak. Note that Pérez only provides breakdowns; Ryan, an inoffensive Marvel headliner in the early ’90s, pencils adequately.

continued from Thunderbolts #42
continued in Thunderbolts #43
last issue: Avengers #31
next issue: Avengers #33

also indexed for Sept. ’00
Thunderbolts #42