Archive for the ‘Thor’ Category

Avengers Assemble #21

February 24, 2016

Avengers Assemble 21Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni
January 2014
***

Once again strip-mining Kirby for content, Marvel editorial replaces mutants with Inhumans. But DeConnick refreshes new properties, ones w/ double-X chromosomes, by pulling out a few ’00s supervillains. But her focus is Spider-Girl (AKA Araña) on a team-up with Black Widow & Spider-Woman.

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

also indexed for Jan. ’14
Captain Marvel #17
Hawkeye #14

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Avengers Assemble #19

February 21, 2016

Avengers Assemble 19Kelly Sue DeConnick with Jan van Meter // Barry Kitson
November 2013
**

Spider-Woman and Black Widow rescue Captain Marvel from robo-aliens; a few guys are involved too, incl. Spidey’s BF. The gender reversal is good enough to make this issue of space opera serviceable. But it’s also Event Sprawl, scenes too small for the three mags (!) telling the central story.

see also Captain Marvel #16
last issue: Avengers Assemble #18
next issue: Avengers Assemble #20

also indexed for Nov. ’13
Captain Marvel #16

Captain Marvel #15

February 20, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.15Kelly Sue DeConnick with Jan van Meter // Pat Olliffe
October 2013
**

The Avengers fly two starships into a space battle: one for each of KSDC’s mags. It’s a crossover that requires a non-CM issue for context, which is terribly alienating to newer readers. The amnesia of last issue is backburnered too. KSDC does what she can, & it’s passable fun.

continued from Avengers #18
see also Avengers Assemble #18
last issue: Captain Marvel #14
next issue: Captain Marvel #16

also indexed for Oct. ’13
Avengers Assemble #18

Avengers Assemble #18

February 19, 2016

Avengers Assemble 18Kelly Sue DeConnick // Barry Kitson
October 2013
**

AA gets pulled into Marvel’s latest Event; all you need to know is, it’s a space opera. Epic battle among the stars, pew pew pew, our POV heroine is nearly KIA. Happily that character is Jessica Drew, a neurotic who KSDC has been writing really well—better even than Carol Danvers, in my opinion.

continued from Avengers #18
see also Captain Marvel #15
last issue: Avengers Assemble #17
next issue: Avengers Assemble #19

also indexed for Oct. ’13
Captain Marvel #15

Captain Marvel #14

February 18, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.14Kelly Sue DeConnick // Scott Hepburn with Gerardo Sandoval
September 2013
***

Carol’s nemesis isn’t just a resurrected Kree villain, he somehow is the Kirbytech that gave her superpowers; to stop him, Cap gives herself brain damage. It’s comic-book science, not totally clear, but otherwise KSDC executes her finale ably, following the Buffy template of heroic sacrifice.

continued from Avengers Assemble #17
continued in Infinity #1 of 6
last issue: Captain Marvel #13
last issue: Captain Marvel #15

also indexed for Sept. ’13
Avengers Assemble #17
Hawkeye #12
Hawkeye Annual #1

Avengers Assemble #17

February 17, 2016

Avengers Assemble 17Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni with Pepe Larraz
September 2013
***

The Avs fail to stop a superbaddie from focusing energy on NYC using Kirbybots. The art’s fine (a ‘clean’ style that I think of as late ’00s Superman) & so’s the plot. But see how often the minor characters are women, like a guest turn by Sersi? It’s just that easy to write feminist comics, boys!

continued from Captain Marvel #13
continued in Captain Marvel #14

also indexed for Sept. ’13
Captain Marvel #14
Hawkeye #12
Hawkeye Annual #1

Captain Marvel #13

February 16, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.13Kelly Sue DeConnick // Scott Hepburn with Gerardo Sandoval
August 2013
***

Marvel & her avenging friends fight a squadron of reactivated Kirbybots while deducing her attacker’s ID. The pacing’s a little slow (maybe this crossover didn’t need the opening one-shot) but otherwise the writing is tight—wonder how long DeCon will stay in comics before genre TV tempts her away?

continued from Avengers Assemble #16
continued from Avengers Assemble #18
last issue: Captain Marvel #12
next issue: Captain Marvel #14

also indexed for Aug. ’13
Avengers Assemble #16
Hawkeye #11

Avengers Assemble #16

February 15, 2016

Avengers Assemble 16Kelly Sue DeConnick // Matteo Buffagni
August 2013
***

Now that the dark days of Bendis are done, quality Avengers comics are everywhere! This crossover with CM sets up a solid threat in a resurrected Kree warrior: the original Cap’s first nemesis, merged with the Kirbytech engine that empowered our heroine. Love how the Kree Empire hangs up on him!

continued from Avengers: The Enemy Within #1 of 1
continued in Captain Marvel #13
last issue: Avengers Assemble #15AU
next issue: Avengers Assemble #17

also indexed for Aug. ’13
Captain Marvel #13
Hawkeye #11

Avengers: The Enemy Within #1 of 1

February 14, 2016

Avengers - The Enemy Within 1 of 1Kelly Sue DeConnick // Scott Hepburn
July 2013
***

Marvel holds a crossover to cash in on DeConnick. The focus is, natch, is on her marquee hero, Captain Marvel, who’s the target of a plot; Spider-Woman is in sidekick role. The big peril, a brain lesion, sits oddly next to the hijinx of the gals fighting female super-wrestlers in Wash Square Park.

continued from Captain Marvel #12
continued in Avengers Assemble #16

also indexed for Jul. ’13
Hawkeye #10

Avengers Assemble #11

February 7, 2016

Avengers Assemble 11Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
March 2013
***

KSDC proves her knack for writing super-comics, both solo & team mags. This arc may be formulaic—a megalomaniac aims to conquer the world with mad science—but she injects just enough humor to make it a fun read & her dialogue doesn’t fall prey to Bendis-like vamping as it shows personality.

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

also indexed for Mar. ’13
Captain Marvel #9
Hawkeye #7
Winter Soldier #14

Avengers Assemble #10

February 5, 2016

Avengers Assemble 10Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
February 2013
***

Caselli, whose realism is closer to Kitson than Hitch, executes a fun action sequence: Captains A & M in aerial combat. Their foe’s a monster-man threatening the world (& the Hulk) with 20M-year-old bacteria. He’s Chinese, but w/o the Yellow Peril baggage—a standard megalomaniac supervillain.

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

also indexed for Feb. ’13
Captain Marvel #8
Hawkeye #5
Hawkeye #6
Winter Soldier #13

Avengers Assemble #9

February 3, 2016

Avengers Assemble 09Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
January 2013
***

With Capt. Marvel in tow, Kelly Sue DeConnick instantly improves one of the dozen Avengers books. Her secret is low stakes for the top-tier. Team Stark races Team Banner to a monster mission in Antarctica. It’s broad fun in the spirit of JLI (e.g. Hulk stirring organic PB for a sammich).

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

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Captain Marvel #7
Hawkeye #4
Winter Soldier #12

Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1

November 12, 2015

Fear Itself 7.1 Captain AmericaEd Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2012
****

EB got to conclude Civil War in his mag, & here’s the trade-off: another event mini, Fear Itself, hosts the fatal confrontation btw his creations Bucky & Sin. Fair? Maybe, but it’s bad storytelling. So Bru plays a trump: a dose of SHIELD’s secret serum revives Buck (again).

continued from Fear Itself #7 of 7
continued in Winter Soldier #1

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
Captain America & Bucky #624
Fantastic Four #600
FF #12

Captain America: Reborn #4 of 6

September 22, 2015

Captain America Reborn 4 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
January 2010
***

Cap returns to Now to serve as the host for an uploaded Red Skull. It’s as good as Waid’s ’90s resurrection, but revivals are rarely as compelling as deaths. Here, non-Cap characters (eg Dr Doom) crowd out the book’s cast (eg Zola), with the Vision acting as Cap’s message-in-a-bottle.

last issue: Captain America: Reborn #3 of 6
next issue: Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6

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

Captain America: Reborn #3 of 6

September 20, 2015

Captain America Reborn 3 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
November 2009
***

Although I’m enjoying this mini, I suspect it would fit better in the serial mag. BH’s pedigree (Authority, Ultimates) is stronger than his cinematic panels & dullish layouts. But it matches EB’s plot for #3, which is simply action-movie combat; he’s more interested in touring Cap continuity.

last issue: Captain America: Reborn #2 of 6
next issue: Captain America: Reborn #4 of 6

also indexed for Nov. ’09
Fantastic Four #571
Guardians of the Galaxy #18
The Marvels Project #3 of 8
Nova #29
War of Kings: Who Will Rule #1 of 1

X-Statix #26

April 17, 2015

X-Statix 26Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2004
***

A fairly blatant ripoff of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, as the team gets KIA with Mr. S & Tike A. gunned down in a suicide charge. It would’ve worked better if they hadn’t held each other at arm’s length since the retitling. Or if the run’s last two years had been compressed into one. Ah well.

last issue: X-Statix #25
continued in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517
Secret War #3 of 5

X-Statix #25

April 16, 2015

X-Statix 25Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
September 2004
***

The Avengers/X-Statix War ends in détente before a bigger enemy (of course it does). Milligan’s heart isn’t in this arc, whose guest stars smack of editorial edict. Even if not, the last-minute acceptance of X-Statix by the Avs feels rushed. Anyone else disappointed that Doop can speak English?

last issue: X-Statix #24
next issue: X-Statix #26

also indexed for Sept. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #3
Daredevil #62
Fantastic Four #516
The Pulse #4
Thanos #12

X-Statix #21

April 12, 2015

X-Statix 21Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
early June 2004
****

When Doop’s lobotomized brain gets weaponized, our heroes must ask the Avengers for help with its recovery. Rather than contrast our super-celebs with a team of noble heroes, this ish shows a classic roster that’s just as venal & arrogant. Plus it hints that Doop is the product of Cold War science!

last issue: X-Statix #20
next issue: X-Statix #22

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Daredevil #59
Fantastic Four #512
Thanos #9
X-Statix #22

The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

March 6, 2015

Sentry-Void 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
February 2001
****

No surprise that the Void is the Sentry’s negative aspect, since it’s been a metaphor for depression all along. But his hook—erasure from continuity—is a fruitful & unique experiment for Marvel, albeit one better off left to stand alone (one more fault in Bendis’ awful, epic Avengers run).

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued from The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry #5 of 5

March 1, 2015

Sentry 5 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
January 2001
*****

The retcon acts as an ingenious device in this mini by casting an (ostensibly) unfilled role in Marvel’s Silver Age. The respect the Sentry’s accorded by other superheroes—incl. Mr. F, his unlikely Judas—and the world sell the story, maybe making it the best Superman arc since A. Moore’s Supreme.

continued in The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1
last issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36
Maximum Security #3 of 3

The Sentry #4 of 5

February 28, 2015

Sentry 4 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
December 2000
****

Core Marvel heroes recall the Sentry, whose previous face-off w/ his (literal?) nemesis the Void ended in self-exile & a rewrite of reality. This mini maintains its weird sensibility partly thru a pacing akin to Grant Morrison’s: scenes begin in medias res w/ no exposition to orient the reader.

last issue: The Sentry #3 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #5 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35
Maximum Security #2 of 3

X-Universe #2 of 2

February 17, 2015

X-Universe 2 of 2Terry Kavanagh // Carlos Pacheco & Terry Dodson
June 1995
*

In a parallel timeline, Marvel’s heroes hijack a space ark, airlift refugees from London, and head for the stars. Lobdell (architect of the AoA X-over) hands his plot to Kavanagh, who seriously obscures it with ’90s clichés. Kav’s only able to write in high dudgeon, and lacks a basic grasp of storytelling. The two capable artists work hard to draw the tale, but they’re defeated by the confusion.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: X-Universe #1 of 2

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #2 of 2

X-Universe #1 of 2

February 16, 2015

X-Universe 1 of 2Terry Kavanagh // Carlos Pacheco
May 1995
*

An alternate reality co-opts the X-mags for a quarter, creating an impressive implied backstory. Naturally, readers wonder what’s happened to the rest of the company’s heroes; here’s the answer. Surviving Avengers & FF provide humanitarian aid & defense. And replacing Peter Parker, KIA, is Gwen Stacy! Pacheco has a nice eye for detail & drama, but he can’t clarify a confusing script’s vague stakes.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Universe #2 of 2

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3

Thunderbolts #25

July 14, 2014

Thunderbolts 025Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
April 1999
***

The second anniversary ish serves as climax to T-bolts‘ second act: a brawl w/ 25 super-goons! Moonstone has been the mag’s protag, & ever since her regicide, she’s provided it w/ plenty of character. #25 fills in her backstory (a childhood of class resentment & manipulation) as she weighs betraying her team to usurp the megalomaniac plan of Crimson Cowl, femme leader of the Masters of Evil.

last issue: Thunderbolts #25
next issue: Thunderbolts #26

also indexed for Apr. ’99
Avengers #15
Avengers Forever #5 of 12

Thunderbolts #12

June 29, 2014

Thunderbolts 012Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
March 1998
****

This mag executes its climax perfectly, albeit predictably. Via mind-ray & modem, Zemo rules the world from his sentient orbital satellite (AKA T-bolt Techno). But his onetime team helps Iron Man stage a coup (the old Marvel heroes v. heroes), then surrenders to face trial! MB’s late-’90s art still isn’t my taste, but it complements KB’s massive cast & retro superheroism perfectly.

last issue: Thunderbolts #11
next issue: Thunderbolts #13

also indexed for Mar. ’98
Avengers #2

Thunderbolts #11

June 28, 2014

Thunderbolts 011Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
February 1998
***

The team finally fractures as their leader takes over the world via mind-rays from an orbital satellite—classic comic-book stuff, but none of it hinges on their false IDs. Still, Busiek shows a clear aptitude for the megalomaniac character, & Bagley is fashionable yet bright & energetic in tone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #10
next issue: Thunderbolts #12

also indexed for Feb. ’98
Avengers #1

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 #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

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

The Fantastic Four #605.1

December 23, 2013

Fantastic Four 605.1Jonathan Hickman // Mike Choi
July 2012
****

The “bonus” ish is less a jump-in point than another JH done-in-one w/ set-up for a later payoff. It flashes back to sketch a member of the Council of Reeds, who destroyed his alt-‘verse where the FF were Nazis! Choi’s work is better than his covers suggest, w/ lovely colors from C. Peter.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #605
next issue: The Fantastic Four #606

also indexed for Jul. ’12
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18

The Fantastic Four #588

November 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 588A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Mark Brooks
April 2011
A-story: ***** // B-story: ****

Hick finally gets a partner who matches his calibre: Dragotta, who apes Kirby’s dynamic grunts but draws a Sturm-like indie line. Silence signifies mourning as Johnny Storm’s family & friends grieve. It sells the moment w/o sentiment—unlike the B-plot, where Spidey helps Franklin mourn his uncle.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #587
continued in FF #1

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/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 #56

October 3, 2013

Avengers 56Kurt Busiek // Yanick Paquette
September 2002
****

The squad gets audited by accountants from Tony Stark’s foundation. It’s exactly what you’d figure a Busiek issue would be: an oblique approach to superheroes. But tho’ it reads like a fill-in issue (esp. that generic cover), #56 ends his run on a high note, with Paquette ably helping him close.

last issue: Avengers #55
next issue: Avengers #57

also indexed for Sept. ’02
Alias #11
Alias #12
New X-Men
#129

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 #54

October 1, 2013

Avengers 54Kurt Busiek // Kieren Dwyer
July 2002
***

Throughout his run, KB has written a great Kang: a conqueror full of bravado, a general w/ a plan. In the end, he misses his goal not cuz he lost Earth but cuz his son fails his warrior code. So Kang kills him! While Dwyer’s art gets a little fussy, he designs covers that are striking & original.

last issue: Avengers #53
next issue: Avengers #55

also indexed for Jul. 02
Alias #9
New X-Men #126

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 #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 #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 #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