Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Misc. Avengers Comics Graded

Avengers #30 (Jul. 1966). “Among Us Walks a Goliath” Grade: B+. Hawkeye taking out both Power Man and the Swordsman is a little unbelievable, but excitedly handled. Goliath is doing something almost as interesting.
Avengers #40 (May 1967, reprint). “Suddenly…the Sub-Mariner!” Grade: B+. “It’s hard to believe that the Sub-Mariner AND the Cosmic Cube are not a larger threat than this, but the Hercules vs. Sub-Mariner battle is fun.
Avengers #46 (Nov. 1967, reprint). “The Agony and the Anthill” Grade: A. The Whirlwind has never been more capable than when he trapped Goliath and the Wasp, then challenged and eluded both Capt. America and Quicksilver.
Avengers #54 (Jul. 1968, reprint). “And Deliver Us from…the Masters of Evil!” Grade: C+. Roy Thomas didn’t do his homework on the Radioactive Man and Klaw, and Jarvis is so out-of-character that Roger Stern had to explain it away 20 years later.
Avengers #55 (Aug. 1968, reprint). “Mayhem Over Manhattan !” Grade: B-. It continues to baffle how weak Thomas thinks Klaw is, or how these 2nd-string heroes could beat so many powerful villains.
Avengers #59 (Dec. 1968, reprint). “The Man’s Name Is…Yellowjacket!” Grade: C+. It’s clear Thomas didn’t like Goliath, so Pym’s imaginary death scene seems particularly vicious. I always liked his Yellowjacket identity later, but I wouldn’t have had I read this “origin” story first.
Avengers #61 (Feb. 1969, reprint). “Some Say the World Will End in Fire…Some Say in Ice!” Grade: A. Both Roy Thomas and John Buscema are at the top of their game, but the Avengers are just window dressing as Dr. Strange takes on Surtur and Ymir of Asgard fame.
Avengers #63 (Apr. 1969, reprint). “And in This Corner Goliath” Grade: B. Losing Hawkeye for a new Goliath was pointless, but somehow it’s always good to see Egghead again.
Avengers #72 (Jan. 1970, reprint). “Did You Hear the One About Scorpio?” Grade: B. Neatly ties into 3 other titles, but Zodiac detracts, rather than adds, to Scorpio’s backstory. And how did Nick Fury hide his eyepatch while disguised?
Avengers #76 (May 1970, reprint). “The Day the Earth Exploded” Grade: A+. Sure, the science is hokey and Arkon is just Super-Conan, but man, what a ride!
Avengers #137 (Jul. 1975). “We Do Seek Out New Avengers!” Grade: B+. By now in his run, Steve Englehart had really made the Avengers his own. This is a nice set-up to an even better part two (I bought part one years later after reading part two).
Avengers #138 (Aug. 1975). “Stranger in a Strange Man!” Grade: A-. This was my first Avengers comic book as a kid, and my favorite comic book ever from 1975. I loved all the mystery. There was a lot more to puzzle through, a lot more continuity for a young kid to figure out, but I worked hard at it and it made me want to give up Batman comics for Marvel.
Avengers #139 (Sep. 1975). “Prescription: Violence!” Grade: B. The whole “Wasp in critical condition” angle had already been used to death by 1975, but the main point of this issue is to re-set the Whirlwind as a solo villain after Thomas made him a team player.
Avengers #140 (Oct. 1975). “A Journey to the Center of the Ant” Grade: A-. The Beast shines, as does the art of George Tuska and Vince Colleta, which graced this title for too short a time. Oh, and it’s also a homage to Avengers #93.

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