Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

Thunderbolts #10

June 27, 2014

Thunderbolts 010Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
January 1998
****

The team’s true IDs are exposed, earlier than readers or characters expected—’cept for Baron Z, who outs them as an abusive ploy. How evil! The plot devo coincides w/ the true Avs’ return (from a mid-’90s Image-y continuity reboot). It signals a true climax to a long plot, rare in comics.

last issue: Thunderbolts #9
next issue: Thunderbolts #11

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Thunderbolts #8

June 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 008Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Mark Bagley
November 1997
****

The first T-bolts story to last more than one ish ends w/ the mag’s best since #1. The team fends off a set of monsters menacing NYC, winning adulation & SHIELD access. But what’s esp great is how it delves into the psyche of Songbird, codependent & unconfident till now, when she must act alone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #7
next issue: Thunderbolts #9

Nova #20

March 26, 2014

Nova 20Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges
February 2009
***

Another reflective issue of Nova. Richard Rider touches base w/ old friends from the New Warriors, his anxiety stimulated by the Nova Corps’ restoration. Or is he just worried about his younger brother, now a fellow Centurian? If only editorial would get more unique, imaginative artists on this mag!

last issue: Nova #19
next issue: Nova #21

also indexed for Feb. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #8

Nova #19

March 25, 2014

Nova 19Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges
January 2009
****

The re-established Nova Corps helps keep the peace on Earth, post-Skrull Invasion. The slower pace lets DnA develop character w/ smart dialogue. Esp good: a friendly convo btw Rider’s bro & bush-league ’90s hero Darkhawk. The artist duo are unobtrusive, aside from bewildering angles in fights.

last issue: Nova #18
next issue: Nova #20

also indexed for Jan. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #7

Nova #2

February 10, 2014

Nova 02Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Sean Chen
July 2007
****

From a simple plot (Ryder takes shore-leave on Earth), the writers spool a soldier’s perspective on Marvel. So while the vet led an ugly stellar war, local heroes bickered in an inane Civil War. A grizzled old youth w/ an AI brain, he’s alienated from his suburban home. Oh, they’re putting thought into this!

previous issue: Nova #1
next issue: Nova #3

also indexed for Jul. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #6

Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

October 7, 2013

Avengers.JLA 4 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
December 2003
***

The crossover ends as it must: in an enormous brawl of punching & zapping. Still, the mag’s creative duo amazingly avoid even a whiff of the corporate avarice that must underpin this mini. The grand scope & casual confidence prove a good capstone to the super-teamwork dynamic that defines the Avengers run of Busiek & Pérez et al. Think of it as a victory lap AWA an impressive work of fan-service.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
New X-Men #148

JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

October 6, 2013

Avengers.JLA 3 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 2003
****

JLA/Av retcons annual super-teamups btw Marvel & DC, a late-era Crisis (in DC terminology) complete w/ overlapping Earths. The art of mature Pérez is even better than in his ’80s Crisis. Busiek writes a tighter plot, tho it suffers from self-reference & (surprisingly for KB) a lack of central protag. For superhero lovers rather than casual readers, but those fanboys will be truly satisfied.

last issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4
next issue: Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

Avengers #55

October 2, 2013

Avengers 55Kurt Busiek // Patrick Zircher
August 2002
****

No surprise, one of the strongest of Busiek’s 80+ Avengers issues offers a slant perspec on superheroics. #55 pays respect to the death toll—in the Kang arc, quite a high one—and holds its heroes to a code, even in wartime. In a quiet way, it functions as a monument to 2001’s terrorist victims.

last issue: Avengers #54
next issue: Avengers #56

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
New X-Men #127
New X-Men #128

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

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 #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 #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 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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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

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 #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

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