Archive for the ‘Quasar’ Category

Fantastic Four #523

January 1, 2015

Fantastic Four 523Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
April 2005
***

Temporarily in a human body, Galactus is inspired by Reed’s scientific humanism to step into a Kirbytech suicide booth. Or something. The plot’s a vehicle for a sentimental supercomic tour of How the Other Half Lives, with Waid & Wieringo adding a Silver Age SF poptimism. Still, it coasts a bit.

last issue: Fantastic Four #523
next issue: Fantastic Four #524

also indexed for Apr. ’05
Daredevil #70
Young Avengers #1

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Fantastic Four #522

December 31, 2014

Fantastic Four 522Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
March 2005
****

Aside from the Reed/von Doom arcs, this run has focused almost entirely on Johnny—to character-defining effect. Here at its climax, the kid uses his heraldic power of cosmic insight to stop Galactus itself! #522 does dabble in Big G’s backstory, but the action sequence btw him & the team is golden.

last issue: Fantastic Four #521
next issue: Fantastic Four #523

also indexed for Mar. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #9
Daredevil #69
Iron Man #3
The Pulse #7

Fantastic Four #521

December 30, 2014

Fantastic Four 521Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
February 2005
*****

Aside from a gag opening, #521 is Human Torch, solo! He’s been zapped by Reed & then Big G, and now has the cosmic power to “see the unseen”(?). I can’t overpraise Waid’s Johnny Storm. It’s quintessential characterization, close to a Tom Sawyer, embodying heroic adolescence as a classic American type.

last issue: Fantastic Four #520
next issue: Fantastic Four #522

also indexed for Feb. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #8
Daredevil #68
Iron Man #2

Fantastic Four #520

December 29, 2014

Fantastic Four 520Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
January 2005
****

Part of a lark of an arc. Last ish, the Storm sibs swapped powers to save Sue from aliens. Now Galactus himself has anointed da Invisible Kid as his new herald! Tho’ he shafts Sue, I love Waid’s Johnny Storm, here seen wandering G’s ship & fighting a planet’s champion w/ cosmic forcefields.

last issue: Fantastic Four #519
next issue: Fantastic Four #521

also indexed for Jan. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #7
Daredevil #67
Iron Man #1
The Pulse #6

Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4

June 14, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 4 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
February 2012
A-story: ** // B-story: **

Avengers & Annihilators (terrible name) foil an invasion of Earth by linking alien tech somehow. The vague plot & fumbling art brings to a sad end this v.g. six-year run. At least the ‘coon & the tree, holdovers from the run’s brighter era, get to blast off into the sunset.

last issue: Annihilation: Earthfall #3 of 4

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4

June 13, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 3 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
January 2012
A-story: *** // B-story: ***

A cosmic boy-antichrist has installed himself, Midwich Cuckoo-like, in millions of minds; among the heroes, only the Kirby tyrant has the balls to zap the innocent & save the galaxy! Meanwhile, DnA burlesque the editorial interference of the SF line via a monstrous, meddling TV exec from ’80s X-comics.

last issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4

also indexed for Jan. ’12
The Fantastic Four #600
FF #12

Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4

June 12, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 2 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
December 2011
A-story: * // B-story: **

The dutiful Marvel misunderstanding, wherein our team of galactic heroes mix it w/ the Avengers. Huat detracts from that formula by staging combat as H’wood-style demolitions, w/o context or finesse. In the back-up, however, Green imaginatively & attractively offers Flash Gordon-type fun.

last issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10
FF #11

Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4

June 11, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 1 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
September 2011
A-story: ** // B-story: ***

DnA phone in their swansong on Marvel’s SF renaissance. The galactic super-squad discovers a fundamentalist space-sect’s outpost on Earth. Huat draws an awkward, rubber-faced variation on Marvel house style. Worse, RR & Groot, demoted to true back-up status, get only a few pages for a bar brawl.

continued from Annihilators #4 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
FF #9

Annihilators #4 of 4

June 10, 2014

Annihilators 4 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
August 2011
A-story: *** // B-story: ***

A team of forest animals stop a disembodied telepath from escaping from their biotech lunatic asylum! The idea’s treated just tongue-in-cheek enough, while the art nails the absurdity w/ a smart, contempo style. The title team, meanwhile, brokers a peace btw longtime Marvel antags the Spaceknights & the Dire Wraiths, in a quality demo of cosmic compassion triumphing over violent solutions.

last issue: Annihilators #3 of 4
continued in Annilators: Earthfall #1 of 4

also indexed for Aug. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
FF #5

Annihilators #3 of 4

June 9, 2014

Annihilators 3 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
July 2011
A-story: ***
B-story: ***

The back-up’s stronger than the title tale, due partly to the superb self-inking of Green as against Huat’s generic super-action. Still, the space opera has its quality moment when its heroes learn that a once-fearful race of Marvel aliens desire only oblivion, broken by exile in a dark dimension. Meanwhile, the creators revise the insane origin of 1980s cult char, a Flash Gordon-like raccoon.

last issue: Annihilators #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilators #4 of 4

also indexed for Jul. ’11
FF #3
FF #4

Annihilators #2 of 4

June 8, 2014

Annihilators 2 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
June 2011
A-story: ** // B-story: ***

This mag’s main story has a squad of galactic superheroes smash a dark invasion in defense of an alien world. Compared with their previous SF mags, this reads like the writers are following an editorial edict rather than their own super-SF muses. They show more excitement over the B-tale, which has a hyperintelligent raccoon & a Kirby-monster tree-man fight a cadre of killer clown puppets!

last issue: Annihilators #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilators #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
FF #2

Annihilators #1 of 4

June 7, 2014

Annihilators 1 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
May 2011
A-story: ** // B-story: ***

Sadly, a coda to Marvel’s SF ’00s renaissance rather than a renewal. The A-tale has a fembot lampshade the flaw in this mag’s mission: a galactic supersquad is too uniform in style & strength to be truly compelling. The back-up balances the read by focusing on oddballs cut from the main team. Offering two full-length comics, this mag should really be printed back-to-back, like the old Ace Doubles!

continued from The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1 of 1
next issue: Annihilators #2 of 4

also indexed for May ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
FF #1

The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1 of 1

June 6, 2014

Thanos Imperative - Devastation 1 of 1Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
March 2011
**

An epilogue to Marvel’s most recent space opera and a prologue for their next mini. It’s a conventional exercise in superhero team-gathering. While Ab & Lan write good dialogue, they fail to tell who these heroes are (personality, superpower, or history). Plus, the line-up’s testosterone-heavy.

continued from The Thanos Imperative #6 of 6
continued in Annihilators #1 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9
The Fantastic Four #587

The Thanos Imperative #6 of 6

June 5, 2014

Thanos Imperative 6 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
January 2011
***

Thanos resurrects Death in a universe where Undying Gods have reigned. To stop his return to our ‘verse, Nova & Star-Lord (the leads in this era’s SF revival) halt the Mad Titan like Butch & Sundance. Tho’ this finale satisfies, it replaces the characters & twists of the lead-in mags w/ super-movie bombast.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6
continued in The Thanos Imperative: Devastation #1 of 1

also indexed for Jan. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9
The Fantastic Four #585

The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6

June 4, 2014

Thanos Imperative 5 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
December 2010
***

A busy issue, as Nova preps for a noble sacrifice. Meanwhile, surprise conversations juice the plot. First, the evil Scarlet Witch is really a mole, motivated by love for the Vision (nice to see someone gets her character this decade!). Then Thanos pulls a heel turn, literally begging for a final death.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #6 of 6

also indexed for Dec. ’10
The Fantastic Four #584

The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6

June 3, 2014

Thanos Imperative 4 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
November 2010
***

Thanos, Avatar of Death, cannot die, tho’ it’s all he wishes for; ironically, he must reintroduce Death to a mirror universe. Less compelling are the heroic aliens who fly thru a space station ripping monsters apart—standard super-stuff, w/o even the space-opera scope that most of TI offers.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #5 of 6

also indexed for Nov. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9
The Fantastic Four
 #583

The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6

June 2, 2014

Thanos Imperative 3 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
October 2010
***

The fourth (?) space war in recent years gets a strong dose of metaphysics. In the parallel universe ruled by Cthulu gods, Captain Marvel became Life’s avatar rather than dying. Then, to extinguish Death utterly, he sacrificed his opposite, Thanos, in an arcane ritual that unbalanced his cosmos!

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #4 of 6

also indexed for Oct. ’10
The Fantastic Four #582

The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6

May 31, 2014

Thanos Imperative 1 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
August 2010
***

Actually #2 of 8, if you incl. pro- & epilogues. DnA stage another extra-universal invasion—this time, the cancerverse (where Life “won”) metastasizes into the mainstream ‘verse. This means more tentacle monsters as well as evil reflections of the Avengers & Defenders. Solid, guilt-free space opera.

continued from The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6

also indexed for Aug. ’10
The Fantastic Four #580

The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

May 30, 2014

Thanos Imperative - Ignition 1 of 1Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Brad Walker
July 2010
***

Having lost their two series in June, Ab & Lan segue into their space opera’s final act. This prolog is epic stuff, tho’ not newbee-friendly! Worlds explode (!) to shunt a Lovecraft-universe’s Cptn Marvel into the main ‘verse, setting up a confrontation w/ Death’s avatar, Thanos resurrected.

continued from Guardians of the Galaxy #25
continued in The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6

also indexed for Jul. ’10
The Fantastic Four #579

Nova #36

May 23, 2014

Nova 36Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
June 2010
***

Nova exits on a cliffhanger, a victim of the downsizing of Marvel’s cosmic line. #36 connects Realm of Kings to a Thanos mini, as the Human Rocket faces an evil extra-dimensional Quasar who serves Lovecraftian Old Gods. Plenty of little plot threads dangle; hopefully, DnA will get to pick them up.

last issue: Nova #35
continued in The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

also indexed for Jun. ’10
The Fantastic Four #578
Guardians of the Galaxy #25

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

May 12, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 5 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
May 2010
***

DnA accomplish two clever goals in unshowy fashion. They make Realm of Kings‘ Lovecraft beasts into a fearful threat, & they establish the rich potential of the Imperial Guard as a team. Sadly, as Marvel scales back their Cosmic branch, the small satisfaction of a good mini must be its own reward.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5
continued in The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

also indexed for May ’10
The Fantastic Four #577
Guardians of the Galaxy #24
Nova #35
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5

May 11, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 4 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
April 2010
***

The Realm of Kings maxiseries pays off, pitting the superteam of space voyageurs (clearly analogs for the Legion of Super-Heroes) against the pestiferous anti-universe’s X-Men as the Darkhawk conspiracy resurfaces. Kev Walker’s style, a mod sort of 2000AD look, gets a boost from colorist Fairbairn.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’10
The Fantastic Four #576
Guardians of the Galaxy #23
Nova #34
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5

May 10, 2014

Realm of Kings - Imperial Guard 3 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
March 2010
***

A fun issue of space gothic horror—Alien, ’70s Doctor Who, or (in Marvel terms) Claremont’s Brood Saga. The heroes flee the corpse of a large interstellar organism before it’s eaten by space-maggots. Yeesh! Appealing character beats help propel the team mechanics along & add to derring-do.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5

also indexed for Mar. ’10
The Fantastic Four #575
Guardians of the Galaxy #22
Nova #33
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5

Realm of Kings #1 of 1

May 7, 2014

Realm of KingsDan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Mahmud Asrar & Leonardo Manco
January 2010
****

MU’s last cosmic metaseries was old-school space opera; this one kicks off a Lovecraftian weird tale. It’s also a Quasar adventure: the ’90s quantum hero slips into a mirror ‘verse where the Avengers bow to the Old Gods in life undying. Manco’s raw grit mimics Maleev’s, a realism that works here too.

continued from War of Kings: Who Will Rule #1 of 1
continued in Guardians of the Galaxy #20
continued in Nova #31
continued in Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5
continued in Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’10
The Fantastic Four #573
Guardians of the Galaxy #20
Nova #31
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5

Nova #28

April 27, 2014

Nova 28Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
October 2009
***

All the Ts get crossed & Is dotted in this ish, which ends both the larger Corps Rebooted arc & the War of Kings subplot. Rider arrests a team of alien supersoldiers w/ smart tactics & the help of two recruits, then establishes diplomatic relations w/ an old Kirby heavy from the antimatter ‘verse.

last issue: Nova #27
next issue: Nova #29

also indexed for Oct. ’09
Fantastic Four #570
Guardians of the Galaxy #17
War of Kings #6 of 6
War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

Nova #25

April 24, 2014

Nova 25Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kevin Sharpe
July 2009
***

Back to a more conventional artist (temporarily) & a more conventional tale. Rider lobotomizes that planetary being (also temporary) to save his AI mentor & resume leadership of the Nova Corps. Still, Nova #25 is solid comics, w/ a bubbling subplot, a cliffhanger, & a sense of epic space adventure.

last issue: Nova #24
next issue: Nova #26

also indexed for Jul. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #14
War of Kings #3 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #2 of 4

Nova #24

April 23, 2014

Nova 24Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
June 2009
****

Always good when an artist inks his own work. Two strands here: Rich Rider, empowered by cosmic energy, storms the Living Planet, co-opter of the Nova Force. But the real storytelling follows a Nova peacekeeper into a brutal battle in War of Kings, from battle’s chaos to the slaughter of POWs.

last issue: Nova #23
next issue: Nova #25

also indexed for Jun. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
War of Kings #2 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #1 of 4

Nova #23

April 22, 2014

Nova 23Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
May 2009
****

Prob’ly one of the top ten works in the main Marvel U! DiVito returns to the SF line; his style’s still stiff but better inking retains his use of negative space. Plotwise, DnA twist & turn: the Nova Corps mobilizes for the War of Kings, while protag Rider gets Cptn. Marvel’s old 1970s power bracers!

last issue: Nova #22
next issue: Nova #24

also indexed for May ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #11
Guardians of the Galaxy #12
War of Kings #1 of 6
War of Kings: Darkhawk #2 of 2

Guardians of the Galaxy #12

April 4, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 12Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wes Craig
late May 2009
****

The second issue of May ’09 forms a diptych of gamesmanship on a cosmic chessboard. A scheming villain fights Quasar (passing thru from Nova #22 to 23), but he really aims to corrupt Phyla-Vell w/ the power of the Moon Dragon. Weird, obscure stuff—not a good place to jump in, despite lovely art.

last issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #11
next issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #13

also indexed for May ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #11
Nova #23
War of Kings #1 of 6
War of Kings: Darkhawk #2 of 2

Nova #22

March 28, 2014

Nova 22Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Andrea DiVito
April 2009
****

Not only do DnA follow thru cleverly on their basic scenario, they twist the plot in surprising ways! Storing a super-AI in his head didn’t drive Rich Rider mad, it drove the AI mad! It did affect RR’s body tho’, and now, powerless, he’s got two days to live! Plus, dig the Constructivist cover!

last issue: Nova #21
next issue: Nova #23

also indexed for Apr. ’09
Guardians of the Galaxy #10
War of Kings: Darkhawk #1 of 2

Nova #18

March 21, 2014

Nova 18Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges
December 2008
***

Nova, w/ a growing support staff, defends an upstate super-facility from Skrull invaders. Human scientists have rebooted the Nova AI, w/ the side-effect of conjuring the late Quasar out of “solid energy”. Cavalry comes in the form of a root army &, in a surprise twist, a reconstituted Nova Corps!

last issue: Nova #17
next issue: Nova #19

also indexed for Dec. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #6

Nova #17

March 20, 2014

Nova 17Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges
November 2008
***

When the Skrulls invade Earth, galactic cop Nova returns to his old ‘hood. Shapeshifters have besieged a super-research facility in upstate NY, where Ryder’s bro & a fellow ex-New Warrior both work. The creative team bring claustrophobic tension into the action as well as a cliffhanging twist.

last issue: Nova #16
next issue: Nova #18

also indexed for Nov. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #5

Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4

February 20, 2014

Annihilation Conquest Quasar 4 of 4Christos Gage // Mike Lilly
December 2007
**

A finale of dull, mechanical plotting. Phyla-Vell crashes & defeats her foe (a robot who copies superpowers) w/ Jim Kirk’s old trick: by having it mimic an illogical trait, imagination. Then P-V rescues the galactic savior, revealed as Adam Warlock (no surprise—he’s Marvel’s go-to cosmic messiah).

last issue: Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #3 of 4
continued in Annihilation: Conquest #1 of 6

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #10
Nova #7

Annihilation: Nova #4 of 4

January 19, 2014

Annihilation - Nova 4 of 4Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
September 2006
***

Nice to see the titular hero’s headstrong frontal assault has ramifications: the villain, a Kirby-era insect tyrant from an antimatter universe, kills an ally & siphons his power! Moody art adds a mythic sensibility to this mini, turning the climax into a face-off btw cosmic knights & a space dragon.

last issue: Annihilation: Nova #3 of 4
continued in Annihilation #1 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’06
Annihilation: Ronan #4 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 of 4
Civil War #3 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7

Annihilation: Nova #3 of 4

January 18, 2014

Annihilation - Nova 3 of 4Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
August 2006
***

Nova’s still unsure of his newfound cosmic powers, which have drawn the attn of the Big Bad, Annihilus. Wind tussles the hair of Quasar, ’90s SF hero, as he & the cast debate the best way to evacuate a planet! Each protag’s POV stems from his personality. Good craft, authentically epic.

last issue: Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Nova #4 of 4

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Annihilation: Ronan #3 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #3 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #3 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #15
Civil War #2 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6
Young Avengers #12

Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4

January 17, 2014

Annihilation - Nova 2 of 4Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Kev Walker
July 2006
**

Possessing new powers & a new uni to match, Richard Rider, Last of the Nova Corps, can propel a spaceship to warp speed! He throws his lot in w/ a Starlin space-thug & sidekick, fellow refugees from the “Annihilation Wave”. It’s honest scifi, formulaic but a rare enough pleasure in ’00s comics.

last issue: Annihilation: Nova #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilation: Nova #3 of 4

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Civil War #1 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4

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

Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

October 5, 2013

Avengers.JLA 2 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
October 2003
*****

The two superteams race to acquire cosmic artifacts. If the Avengers win, the DC supervillain Krona will destroy their ‘verse in a mad quest for knowledge! The simple, Gardner Fox-type plot lets comics counterparts compete (eg Superman v. Thor), w/ the creative duo staging the super-fights superbly. In an A+ twist, Batman recognizes he & Captain A. are too evenly matched, & strike an alliance.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
next issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
New X-Men #145

JLA/Avengers #1 of 4

October 4, 2013

Avengers.JLA 1 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
September 2003
****

As the walls btw DC & Marvel collapse, a pair of cosmic beings make a wager to pit the heroes in a race to collect cosmic artifacts. As hoary as the scenario is, Busiek & Pérez (auteurs of a great Avengers run) lend vivacity to what should be mere fan service. Ex: Busiek makes distinct the thin difference btw the imaginary universes, as Superman reacts viscerally to the MU’s antiheroism & bigotry.

next issue: Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
New X-Men #144

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 #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 #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

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

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