Archive for the ‘Wonder Man’ Category

Captain America #26

August 20, 2015

Captain America 26Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
May 2007
****

Everyone at Captain America’s wake commends Sam Wilson on his eulogy (much better than hearing it). The Falcon’s cool is a balance to Bucky, who starts a bar brawl. Meanwhile the bad guys gloat & toy w/ their Doom-built time machine. A great scene—it’s a shame Epting couldn’t draw the whole ish.

last issue: Captain America #25
next issue: Captain America #27

also indexed for May ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2
Astonishing X-Men #21
Daredevil #95
Thunderbolts #112

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

Guardians of the Galaxy #18

May 5, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 18Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Wes Craig
November 2009
***

Star-Lord’s team drifts from one alt-reality to another and aging, de-aging, or fading away at differing rates. It’s an indulgent pleasure to see a future Killraven & an aged Wonder Man fight Wellsian tripods in a ruined 31C NYC. Craig’s Immonen-like style offers plenty of setting, atmo, & color.

last issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #17
next issue: Guardians of the Galaxy #19

also indexed for Nov. ’09
Dark Reign: The List – The Avengers #1 of 1
The Fantastic Four #571
Nova #29

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 #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/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 #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 #51

September 28, 2013

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

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

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

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

Avengers #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 #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 #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 #40

September 15, 2013

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

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

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

Avengers #39

September 14, 2013

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

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

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

Avengers #38

September 13, 2013

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

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

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

Avengers #37

September 12, 2013

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

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

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

Avengers #36

September 11, 2013

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

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

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

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

Maximum Security #3 of 3

September 10, 2013

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

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

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

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36

Avengers #35

September 9, 2013

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

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

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

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

Maximum Security #1 of 3

September 7, 2013

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

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

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

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

Avengers #34

September 6, 2013

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

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

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

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

Thunderbolts #44

September 5, 2013

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

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

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

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

Avengers #33

September 4, 2013

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

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

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

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

Thunderbolts #43

September 3, 2013

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

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

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

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

Avengers #32

September 1, 2013

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

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

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

also indexed for Sept. ’00
Thunderbolts #42

Thunderbolts #42

August 31, 2013

Thunderbolts 42Fabian Nicieza // Mark Bagley
September 2000
**

Nicieza inches each plot forward a notch while pitching Atlas into an Avengers crossover. But his focus remains the soaping up of his cast: a rejected second chance for a butch-dyke supervillain; an internal monologue, midbrawl, for Dallas; & teasing secret IDs for Crimson Cowl & the Scourge.

continued in Avengers #32
last issue: Thunderbolts #41
next issue: Thunderbolts #43

also indexed for Sept. ’00
Avengers #32

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 #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