Archive for the ‘Vision’ Category

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

Advertisements

Captain America: Reborn #6 of 6

September 27, 2015

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

Sharon Carter & Steve Rogers (recovered from his “death”) defeat the Red Skull—even tho’ he’s a giant-size robot! That awesome climax, totally in bounds given the set-up, almost makes me forgive the (editorially dictated?) delay of the resurrection & Bucky’s now-superfluous promotion to captaincy.

continued in Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield #1 of 1
last issue: Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6

also indexed for Mar. ’10
Captain America #602
The Marvels Project #5 of 8
Fantastic Four #575
Guardians of the Galaxy #22
Nova #33
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5

Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6

September 24, 2015

Captain America Reborn 5 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
February 2010
**

Padding: a slugfest on the Washington Mall, as the Red Skull fights Bucky in Cap’s body, & Steve Rogers in Cap’s mindscape. This should’ve been #49, instead of #5 of 6 in another cash-grab event mini. Hitch draws okay panels (w/ figures very like Neal Adams), but he can’t lay a page out well.

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

also indexed for Feb. ’10
Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1 of 1
Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
The Marvels Project #4 of 8
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

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

Captain America: Reborn #1 of 6

September 16, 2015

Captain America Reborn 1 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
September 2009
****

Surprising no one, Steve Rogers didn’t die—sort of. Lifting ideas from Vonnegut & TV’s Lost, Bru has set Cap adrift in his own timeline. This high concept would feel stronger if it weren’t for Hitch’s blockbuster-style uber-realism, which fits poorly with comic-book gonzo & Kirbytech.

continued from Captain America #601
next issue: Captain America: Reborn #2 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’09
Captain America #601
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #16
Nova #27
War of Kings #5 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #4 of 4
War of Kings: Warriors #1 of 2

Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1 of 1

August 18, 2015

Winter Soldier 1 of 1Ed Brubaker // Stefano Gaudiano, Rick Hoberg & Lee Weeks
February 2007
****

W/ Civil War delaying Cap, Bru & a bullpen provide a quality stopgap. At X-mastime, Bucky Barnes tutors fan fave Gal Hawkeye & her croneys in youthful superheroics. He also visits the graves of past sidekicks &, best of all, reunites w/ fellow Invader Namor. Brubaker makes a great pitch for his resurrected hero as a lead character, w/ a solid plot engine (missions for Nick F) & dated idioms.

continued from Captain America #24
continued in Captain America #25

also indexed for Feb. ’07
Annihilation #5 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #20
Daredevil #92
Dr. Strange: The Oath #3 of 5
The Immortal Iron Fist #3
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #11
Runaways #23

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

The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

March 4, 2015

Sentry-Spider-Man 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Rick Leonardi
February 2001
***

Before his erasure from Marvel, the Sentry had helped Parker grow up—netting him a Pulitzer photo & fame! Bronze Age Spidey is a perfect vehicle for the Void-as-depression theme, & tonally S/S-M reads like a lost issue of Marvel Team-Up. But with yeoman’s work by Leonardi, it’s about as forgettable.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also 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/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry #2 of 5

February 26, 2015

Sentry 2 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
October 2000
*****

A cult gem in Marvel’s early ’00s brush w/ experimentalism. Jenkins’ Sentry also debuts the company’s decade-long obsession w/ the ‘spliced retcon’. Before Cassandra Nova, Jessica Jones, & the Winter Soldier, Bob Reynolds got married, w/ Reed Richards as his best man—only now no one remembers him.

last issue: The Sentry #1 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #3 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’00
Avengers #33
Daredevil #13
Marvel Boy #3 of 6
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
Thunderbolts #43

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 #2 of 6

June 1, 2014

Thanos Imperative 2 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
September 2010
**

The writers wage Marvel’s latest space opera on several fronts & still keep the subplots clear. To imply an epic scope, they even usher Kirby Gods in to defend the universe from an Eldritch incursion! But Sepulveda draws & inks cinema-aping art that some lovely digital coloring can’t save.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9
The Fantastic Four #581

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

May 14, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 2 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Pablo Raimondi
February 2010
**

The Mighty Avengers (that is, the team not written by BM Bendis) visit the Inhumans for some heroics & soap operatics. Raimondi’s lines produce clean faces & strong settings, matching the clear, engaging dialogue; but there’s a sense of keeping time rather than engaging momentum with this mini.

last issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5
next issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

also indexed for Feb. ’10
The Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5

May 13, 2014

Realm of Kings - Inhumans 1 of 5Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Pablo Raimondi
January 2010
**

DnA open this mini w/ a review of the status quo: the Inhumans, Kirby super-aristos, rule the Kree space empire fairly responsibly, tho’ palace intrigues brew & skirmishes flare up along the interstellar borders. Raimondi (& inker Hennessy) has a lovely clean style, like an update of ’80s X-Men.

continued from Realm of Kings #1 of 1
next issue: Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’10
The 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 #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 #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: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

November 5, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 9Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2011
****

A:TCC‘s strongest issue, prob’ly cuz it plays to Heinb’s strengths: character & dialog, and his core team of Young Avs. Some closure as Iron Lad, by killing Vision 2.0, accepts his destiny as Kang the Conqueror. The catastrophe gets treated w/ emotional weight, as the team drifts apart over months.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for May ’11
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

November 4, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 8Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
March 2012
****

There’s no good way to retcon a bad story, so A:TCC provides multiple ones for Wanda M’s haywire episodes, incl. the possibility that Doom was behind it all. Now he’s got cosmic powers, unluckily for Cassie Lang. The storytellers play fairly, trading her life for her father’s resurrection.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’12
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

November 3, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 7Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2011
***

With 4 superteams in this ish, it’s no surprise that characters get lost in the melée. The mag’s real point is a retcon of Av Disassembled & reversal of House of M. Offpage, the Scarlet Witch had allied with Dr. Doom to tap into a “life-force” that gave her reality-altering powers.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’11
FF #9

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

November 2, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 6August 2011
****

The Scarlet Witch confirms that, yes, she is Wiccan’s mother, metaphysically at least. It’s earnest comic sturm und drang that makes A:TCC the best “essential” Marvel U. tale of the terrible Bendis Era. To underscore this mini’s central status, X-teams (incl. David’s X-Fac) make strong cameos.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

also indexed for Aug. ’11
FF #5

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

November 1, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 5Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
June 2011
****

Kid Kang, AKA Iron Lad, returns from the future; if Young Avs had been Heinberg & Cheung all along, this would be a thrilling development. Anyway, his time travel allows for this maxiseries remit: to “correct” the catastrophic plot of Disassembled, such as a broken Scarlet Witch & dead Scott Lang.

continued from Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

also indexed for Jun. ’11
FF #2

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1

October 31, 2013

Young Avengers special 1Allen Heinberg // Alan Davis
May 2011
***

Heinberg’s worst single issue in a fun split run. Storywise, his one-shot means to raise the stakes by showing Kang mis-leading the adult YAs in a timewar. But it slides into a needless “issue #0” flashback. Tho’ Davis isn’t in his element (chatty spandex comics), he does yeoman’s work.

continued from Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9
continued in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

also indexed for May ’11
FF #1

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

October 30, 2013

Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
Avengers Children's Crusade 4March 2011
***

Scribe Heinberg places his legacy team-up against some heavy foes: Dr. Doom, Magneto, the Avengers… Ironically, the “heroic” team is the most violent & unambiguously motivated. In the melée, many of the Young Avs get shrifted, tho’ Heinberg’s favorite member, Wiccan, shares the focus with Wanda M.

continued in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9

also indexed for Mar. ’11
The Fantastic Four #587

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

October 29, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 3Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
January 2011
***

Talky but still stronger than Bendis’ Avengers comics, whose failures this mag seeks to correct. In fact, A:TCC casts those New Avengers as villains, which makes sense considering their smug bullying. Meanwhile, the kids have uncovered the Scarlet Witch, amnesiac and affianced to Dr. Doom!

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

also indexed for Jan. ’11
The Fantastic Four #585

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9

October 28, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 2Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
November 2010
***

To find his “metaphysical” mother (the Scarlet Witch), Wiccan & the gang team up w/ Magneto & Quicksilver for a trip to C. Europe. As if guided by destiny or plot necessity, they learn that she’s a Doombot! Trad super-team comics in a modern idiom, driven by character dynamics & fannish continuity.

last issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9
next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

also indexed for Nov. ’10
The Fantastic Four #583

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9

October 27, 2013

Avengers Children's Crusade 1Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
September 2010
***

The creators of Young Avs reunite to rescue their fine team from cameo limbo & tie up the essential loose end: the relationship btw Speed & Wiccan to the Scarlet Witch’s “lost” twin children. It feels as if the reader has simply missed a few years of issues while the cast shuffled & powered up.

next issue: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9

also indexed for Sept. ’10
The Fantastic Four #581

Young Avengers #12

October 26, 2013

Young Avengers 12Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
August 2006
***

YA, like Astonishing X, has hit catastrophic delays, & sadly folds up shop just as it begins to deliver on its potential. That Marvel space-opera, the Kree-Skrull War, reverbs as Avengers kids & adults fight to keep Hulkling from getting drafted by both sides. Clean fun, classic superhero comics.

last issue: Young Avengers #11

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #15
Civil War #2 of 7
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6

Young Avengers #11

October 25, 2013

Young Avengers 11Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
May 2006
****

Hulkling learns he’s the illegit son of Capt. Marvel & a Skrull princess, conceived during the Kree-Skrull War! Wiccan & Speed too have an illustrious parentage, as their souls transmigrated from the Scarlet Witch’s lost twins! The electrifying reveals epitomize the legacy approach of this mag.

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

also indexed for May ’06
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14

Young Avengers #10

October 24, 2013

Young Avengers 10Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
March 2006
***

H&C expand their mag’s cast. First is a new Vision, his OS downloaded into Kid Kang’s armor a few issues back. Another’s a white-haired speedster (like Quicksilver) &, oddly, Wiccan’s twin. But #10 centers on Hulkling, whose secret backstory is revealed as that hoary trope, the orphan princeling!

continued from Young Avengers Special #1
last issue: Young Avengers #9
next issue: Young Avengers #11

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1

Young Avengers Special #1

October 23, 2013

Young Avengers special 1Allen Heinberg // Michael Gaydos, Neal Adams, Gene Ha, Jae Lee, Bill Sienkiewicz, & Pasqual Ferry
February 2006
***

As YA hits delays, it offers a special to keep interest high & loop new readers in. It’s secret origins time, as Jess Jones (drawn by Gaydos, as she should be) interviews the teen team. Each episode gets a different artist—serious talent, & some of my faves. On the plus side, gay hero Wiccan shares a curious spark w/ Scarlet Witch; on the minus, the tough, awesome Hawkeye has a rapey backstory.

continued from Young Avengers #9
continued in Young Avengers #10

Young Avengers #9

October 22, 2013

Young Avengers 09Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
December 2005
***

Super-Skrull outs Hulkling’s “mother” as a ‘shifter—a clue to his secret origin. YA nails ’00s NYC, an urban environment as safe as 1960s suburbia. The clean-cut liberal teens attend private schools & meet up afterwards for super-extracurriculars. It all gives the mag a delightful Silver Age tone.

continued in Young Avengers Special #1
last issue: Young Avengers #8
next issue: Young Avengers #10

also indexed for Dec. ’05
Secret War #5 of 5

Young Avengers #8

October 21, 2013

Young Avengers 08Allen Heinberg // Andrea DiVito
November 2005
***

The teen comics mag takes on the classic PSA subject of drug use. The Cap analog, a black kid, derives his powers from an illegal serum; Cassie Lang, meanwhile, got her growth powers by filching her late dad’s Pym particles. Yet the issue complicates its mild disapproval by sticking by its heroes.

last issue: Young Avengers #7
next issue: Young Avengers #9

also indexed for Nov. ’05
The Pulse #11

Young Avengers #7

October 20, 2013

Young Avengers 07Allen Heinberg // Andrea DiVito
October 2005
**

The kids face a heavy who’s dealing a mutant street-drug. It’s part of Marvel’s nouveau-gritty style, which can suit teens well or badly (the last panel alludes to GL‘s classic “junkie!” cover). DiVito proves a journeyman, tho’ inks add a teen-manga gloss that’s too similar to Alphona’s Runaways.

last issue: Young Avengers #6
next issue: Young Avengers #8

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Iron Man #4

Young Avengers #6

October 19, 2013

Young Avengers 06Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
September 2005
****

The first arc wraps up as it should’ve done in #4—w/ Kid Kang surrendering to repair the timestream—while Jess Jones’ subplot has faded away. Despite these flaws, YA leaves me optimistic for its future: unlike many super-comics right now, these youngsters enjoy being heroes. Just pick up the pace!

last issue: Young Avengers #5
next issue: Young Avengers #7

also indexed for September 2005
The Pulse #10

Young Avengers #5

October 18, 2013

Young Avengers 05Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
August 2005
***

A decompressed structure is strangling the momentum of the next great superhero comic. Heinberg nails personalities, w/ just enough character conflict & soap opera to imply this could be a Teen Titans for the new millennium. But what actually happens in the fifth issue? One long skirmish with Kang.

last issue: Young Avengers #4
next issue: Young Avengers #6

also indexed for Aug. ’05
Astonishing X-Men #12

Young Avengers #3

October 16, 2013

Young Avengers 03Allen Heinberg // Jim Cheung
June 2005
****

Unlike Bendis’ contempo New Avengers, Heinberg’s scenes have an arc, & his characters have goals & distinct voices; where NA‘s Finch apes movies, YA‘s Cheung draws comics (w/ better technique). With Kang threatening Cap, IM & even the Vision, Young feels better & more true to the franchise than New.

last issue: Young Avengers #2
next issue: Young Avengers #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

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

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 #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 #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