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Author Topic: Avengers 101  (Read 695 times)

Offline BentonGrey

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Avengers 101
« on: April 29, 2018, 04:28:04 AM »
Howdy folks, a friend of mine made my day by asking me to pick out some Avengers comics and give him a selection of important and interesting books.  I'm working on my list, but I just wanted to see what the community thought.  I'll be stopping in the 80s, because that's where my experience ends, but I wanted to provide a selection from each age and touch on both important milestones for the team and characters and just great stories in general.  What issues would y'all include in a 'Greatest Hits' of the Avengers title?

I'll update this post as I make progress.

Entries I'm not sure about are marked with a "?" after the issue number.

  • 1: Avengers Assembling
  • 4: Captain America joins the team
  • 6-7: The first Masters of Evil (anti-Avengers) appearance
  • 8: First appearance of Kang, who will become one of the Avengers best and most memorable villains
  • 9: Wonder Man intro
  • 16: The Changing of the Guard; Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye join the team
  • 19: Enter The Swordsman; A favorite character of mine
  • 23-24?: Kang's return, I think I remember these being quite good, but I'll need to reread them to be sure.
  • 38?: Hercules arrives; he's such a big part of the Avengers that this seems worth including
  • 52? Black Panther arrives and first appearance of the Grim Reaper
  • 54-55: More Masters of Evil
  • 57-8: Creation of the Vision
  • 89-97: Kree/Skrull War; one of the relatively early universe spanning adventures
  • 102-104: The Sentinels return; a good story that has character development, melodrama, and large-scale action
  • 129-135: Celestial Madonna; a weird but interesting and memorable story
  • 141-144: The Serpent Crown; a great story arc
  • 160: The Grim Reaper puts the Vision and Wonderman on trial to see who the real Simon Williams is

So, what would y'all add or cut?
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2018, 01:28:54 PM »

  • 19: Enter The Swordsman; A favorite character of mine
Must be a different Swordsman from the one I knew...
What,no love for the Space Phantom?
I guess Beast joining the Avengers would be a landmark issue,too.
Anyhow:
-Under Siege
-Avengers Forever
-JLA/Avengers
-Entire volume 3(0kay,not really entire). Which includes classics like The Morgan Conquest,Nefaria protocols,Ultron Unlimited and Kang Dynasty.

Also,don't mean to be confrontational or anything but comics aren't studying.You dont have to sit down and read every important issue starting with #1.Actually,I found that its easier to start with a (relatively)  modern story and work your way backwards.So to cut things short,I think Avengers Assemble volume #1 by Busiek and Perez would be the best introduction to Avengers.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 01:38:43 PM by HarryTrotter »
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Offline Epimethee

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 06:27:40 PM »
Between you and HT, I think you already have most of the top stories covered, Benton.

You could also include:
#115-118 Avengers-Defenders
#146-149 On the Squadron Supreme's Earth (part of the Serpent'S Crown storyline)
#161-162, Introduction of Jocasta
#164-166, Nefaria
#167-168, 170-177 Korvac Saga
#267-269, Introduction of the Council of Kangs
#280 Faithful Servant
Vol. 3 #65-70 Red Zone (if memory serves, I haven't read it since)
More recent stuff…?

Taking into account your previous choices, my suggested additions are strongly skewed toward a specific era. Looking back, I understand better why I loved the Avengers so much: The books I read a a kid were translated reprints from maybe their most consistently interesting period, the second half of the seventies, which featured some of the best work of Englehart, Conway, Shooter and Michelinie, with art by Perez and Byrne.


P.S.: Love the original Swordsman. You already cover his two key appearances (intro and death) in #19 and the Celestial Madonna storyline.
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Offline Panther_Gunn

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 10:06:20 PM »
My knowledge of the Avengers title history is rather limited, so I only have one suggestion to add at the moment.

195-196:  Introduction of Taskmaster
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Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2018, 12:59:18 AM »
Honestly, these are some pretty good recs, but what about the real milestone? How could anyone forget the fabled crowning jewel that would forever define Avengers now and forever? I am of course talking about none other than the one, the only Avengers #200-- {is shot. Repeatedly. With bazookas}

...Nevermind.
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2018, 04:31:21 AM »
Honestly, these are some pretty good recs, but what about the real milestone? How could anyone forget the fabled crowning jewel that would forever define Avengers now and forever?
Avengers #500?  :banghead:
Also,
-Nights of Wundagore #181-187
-and since we kinda have to mention it,Avengers #213
On the more general/marginal recommendations:
-Earths Mightiest Heroes by Joe Casey.Stories set in teams early days.
-Ultimates 1 and 2.Fun blockbuster stories.
-Ultimate Avengers, thou its less Avengers,and more Suicide Squad.Btw,Mark Millar on Suicide Squad is something I would like to see.Blade alone makes it worth reading.Also,Mephisto.
-Dark Avengers,an odd case where Bendis pulls off writing a team.But a lot of credit goes to Deodado there.
-John Byrnes West Coast Avengers (or was it Avengers West Coast?).Can a comic be so stupid,yet so monumental?Oh yes,it can.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 04:38:05 AM by HarryTrotter »
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Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 05:16:48 AM »
-Ultimates 1 and 2.Fun blockbuster stories.

"YOU THINK THIS 'A' ON MY HEAD STANDS FOR FRANCE?!"

Yeah, no thank you. <_<
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2018, 05:38:03 AM »
I said fun,I didnt say inteligent.
Btw,how would Captain America even be aware of the "cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys" meme?
Then again,I never bought that fact that he didnt go mad from future shock.
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 04:06:37 AM »
Thanks for the responses and the good feedback guys!  I'll look through these and I'm sure I'll use many of them! 

I probably won't use much modern stuff because I don't have access to it.  My 40 years of the Avengers DVD is missing, and I've only got the stuff (through the 70s) I copied onto my PC.

HT: You're not wrong, and I wouldn't have thought you were being confrontational if you hadn't mentioned that, ha!  Still, I'm approaching this like I would want it approached for me.  I like to see things build and grow, and starting at the beginning is the best way to do that.  I am including some notes about how to skip around if the earlier stuff isn't enjoyable for him.

Ha!  Thanks Epi, I'm glad someone gets it.  Yeah, I've always liked The Swordsman.  He's just a neat character, and I'm always a sucker for a reformed villain trying to learn how to be a hero.

-Ultimates 1 and 2.Fun blockbuster stories.

"YOU THINK THIS 'A' ON MY HEAD STANDS FOR FRANCE?!"

Yeah, no thank you. <_<

Haha, you read my mind, Kk.  Thanks HT, but I don't have much interest in the Ultimates line.
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2018, 05:02:56 AM »
I didnt recommend it to you. ;)
It would primarily be of interest to new readers who want something similar to the movie.
http://atomicjunkshop.com/comics-you-should-own-the-ultimates-volume-1/
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Offline Tomato

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2018, 01:45:44 PM »
Except... it isn't, not really. While yes, it does impact the structure and story of the films... the fact is, it's not part of the mainline Avengers, it does not in any way affect the history of the main 616 team, and anything it did affect was wiped out years ago.

As a footnote about it's impact on MCU Avengers' story structure, sure. As part of an introduction to the main series Avengers and their history... no.

Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2018, 09:10:49 PM »
Still, I'm approaching this like I would want it approached for me.  I like to see things build and grow, and starting at the beginning is the best way to do that.  I am including some notes about how to skip around if the earlier stuff isn't enjoyable for him.

I too have a fondness for reading the books in publishing order sometimes (I've been taking that approach with the $1 reprints Marvel's been putting out lately). To me the weird eccentricities of the older books is part of the fun, like how some of the earliest Silver Age Marvel comics, such as the first appearances of Ant-Man and Thor are just standard Sci-Fi comics stories with a superhero character thrown in. Or how the first appearance of Thanos shows Mentor and Eros with purple skin like he has. Though older comics tend to take much longer to read due to being much wordier so I get a lot more modern comics read these days than older ones. Like you said, the older material might not hold much appeal for someone just getting into comics now.
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2018, 01:32:21 PM »
Except... it isn't, not really. While yes, it does impact the structure and story of the films... the fact is, it's not part of the mainline Avengers, it does not in any way affect the history of the main 616 team, and anything it did affect was wiped out years ago.

As a footnote about it's impact on MCU Avengers' story structure, sure. As part of an introduction to the main series Avengers and their history... no.
Thanks for clearing that up.Even if nobody ever said it.
Again:
It would primarily be of interest to new readers who want something similar to the movie.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2018, 01:54:29 PM »
Yeah, whether the Phase 1 MCU is based on Ultimates has been a sore point with fans for years. And yes, if you read Ultimates, you get a fairly brisk story about Shield assembling the Avengers who fight the Hulk, then Chitauri, then later Loki gets in there, With Black Widow and Hawkeye as Shield Agents. The difference is in the writing sensibilities.

I'd have trouble thinking of specific mainline Avengers story that follows a similar pattern. Avengers #1 features them forming, fighting Loki and the Hulk, but Black Widow and Hawkeye aren't in it, nor is Fury and Shield.
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2018, 02:07:16 PM »
Millar was never a master of dialogue,that stands.

Fun fact,idea of Avengers working for SHIELD comes from Heroes Reborn.Say what you will,but Liefeld was way ahead of his time there.  :)
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Offline Tomato

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2018, 01:20:25 PM »
Spade, no one is making a list "for the fans of the movies." It's a list of important stories from Avengers history for people interested in the comics. Relevancy to the MCU might be a neat bonus, but it is not the point here, and Ultimates is a footnote in Avengers history at the best of times.

That said, I do echo Spade on several other choices. Avengers Forever is a good one, since it's a solid mini which ties together a lot of Avengers history, though you do kinda need some information going in. One of the minis retelling the Avengers early years (I think the Avengers Assemble mini that Spade mentioned is the one I'm also thinking of, but it's been awhile) might be a good supplement to the original story, since IIRC it doesn't "retell" the early stories so much as add bits of story in between, building upon what's already there. It can help add a bit of breathing room in between the stories for someone not used to how dense early issues are.

I will say though... much as it pains me, JLA/Avengers might be problematic. Don't get me wrong, it's AMAZING, the best Marvel/DC crossover hands down... but it's so dense with characters and continuity that it can be hard to read without having a decent background on both teams.

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2018, 02:49:12 PM »
Your mansplaining again.The same thing you just mansplained.
For the record,Benton said his friend asked for Avengers comic.I dont see why that would exclude anything that could appeal to the fans of the movie.
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2018, 05:10:46 PM »
Gentlemen, play nice. 

I appreciate everyone's contributions to this conversation!

To clarify, I hate the Ultimates line and what it represents, so I won't be including those comics in my primer.  That being said, of course there are reasons why their inclusion would make sense.  You both make good points on either side.  It just so happens I don't care for them, so it's something of a moot point.  :)
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2018, 05:29:40 PM »
Thats cool.I just mentioned it. :)
And you know,keep in mind you are not doing this for yourself,and your approach could scare some people off from comics.Just saying.
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2018, 07:11:36 PM »
That's a fair point, HT, and that's why I'm trying to use a light touch in my selections from the Silver Age and will include a primer document that will prepare the way.  Still, I am pretty sure my friend can manage it and will find those older books interesting.
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Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2018, 11:59:52 PM »
Honestly, I think the best place to start for a newbie is with Kurt Busiek's run. It keeps the classic feel of the Avengers of old intact while bringing in just enough additions and 'quality of life' enhancements for a more modern audience. It also gets them up to speed with a LOT of Avengers history and past members up to that point without assuming they've already read all of it, and makes you interested in what came before if you haven't already read it. So much so that you might just want to check out all that old stuff yourself. And Avengers Forever comes as part of the package.

Roger Stern's run from the 80's is also a really good read. I wouldn't say it's as good a place to start as Busiek's, but it's still easy enough to get into and one of the better eras of the franchise.
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2018, 12:59:46 AM »
I do love Busiek's work in general, so I imagine I'd love his Avengers run.  I've read part of Avengers Forever and quite liked what I saw, but I need to read all of that stuff one of these days.

Okay guys, I'm working on refining my list, and I'd love for y'all to weigh in on some of the choices I'm toying with.  I'm going to post particular questions as I review my list and have to make some decisions.  Please let me know what y'all think!

So, I'm determined to provide a small sampling of early Silver Age books as a sampling of that era of comics and as some historic milestones of the title.  I'm settled on #s 1, 4, 8, and 9, which include Cap's intro, Kang, and Wonder Man, but I'm debating on some other options.

First, I'm trying to decide if I should include one of the early Masters of Evil appearances, and if so, which one. 

The first one, in 6-7 has the advantage of some great King Kirby art, and it is, well, the first one.  The second one, 15-16, has much weaker Don Heck art, but I'm already including 16 because that's the changing of the guard issue.  While it can mostly stand on its own, obviously there's something to be said for completeness of storylines. 

Second, I'm going to include the cool Kang vs. the Grand Master storyline, which also introduces the Squadron Sinister, in 69-71.  Kang's motivation there is his lost love Ravonna.  She is introduced in his appearance in 23-24.  That's a fair story on its own, though not exceptional, but I'm debating whether to include it for the double benefit of another Silver Age example and the background on the later tale or cut it.

So, what do y'all think?

« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 01:04:20 AM by BentonGrey »
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2018, 03:52:36 AM »
Somewhat unrelated,but I found Kree/Skrull War really disappointing.There is really no war in it,for once.And no living person ever would say things Roy Thomas' characters say.And Rick defeating Ronan by pulling a bunch of Gold Age heroes out of his a*s.Wth was that?  :blink:
Okay,it was explained in Avengers Forever,but it just comes out of nowhere in the story itself.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 03:56:43 AM by HarryTrotter »
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Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2018, 12:05:59 AM »
Somewhat unrelated,but I found Kree/Skrull War really disappointing.There is really no war in it,for once.And no living person ever would say things Roy Thomas' characters say.And Rick defeating Ronan by pulling a bunch of Gold Age heroes out of his a*s.Wth was that?  :blink:
Okay,it was explained in Avengers Forever,but it just comes out of nowhere in the story itself.

Dude, it was made in the Silver Age/Early Bronze Age. Cut it some slack. For comics back then, Thomas may as well have been a word smith.

And just because it wasn't an actual 'war' doesn't mean it still wasn't a kickass story. Especially for the time. Because sometimes, you have to look at these things in the context of the era they were made in to really appreciate them.
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Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2018, 12:17:13 AM »
If you want the war, see the second Kree-Shi'ar war from the late 80s/early 90s. I think Marvel called it Galactic Storm or such...all I really remember is Black Knight lobotomizing the Supreme Intelligence...
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2018, 04:17:17 AM »
Vision: If a man of Kree can be detained,whos next?Giants?Or androids?Or Mutants?"
And from that day,I hear Vision as Sideshow Mel. :)
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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2018, 02:11:36 PM »
I do love Busiek's work in general, so I imagine I'd love his Avengers run.  I've read part of Avengers Forever and quite liked what I saw, but I need to read all of that stuff one of these days.

Yeah, Busiek's run is pretty great, especially when you add Perez art - highly recommended.
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2018, 06:46:13 PM »
Yeah, you've got to think about where Roy Thomas, who was a fairly young man when he started, learned how to write.  It was from the school of Stan Lee, where everything is ridiculously overly dramatic and he never met a piece of purple prose that he didn't like.   :lol:  They both overwrite like crazy, yet there is a real charm to their work.  But yes, it is definitely a product of its time, and one should read it accordingly.

And despite the lack of an actual 'war' in the Kree/Skrull War, as HT says, I still think that story is great.  You've got mostly good art throughout, you've got interesting political/cultural stuff with the parody of the House Unamerican Activities Commission, and you've got some pretty solid character work throughout, with the Vision's continuing character development reaching a new milestone.  Plus, for my purposes, it provides a nice tour of the Marvel Universe, albeit a limited one.  It's one of my favorites that I've come across as I've been reading back through all of these in order to choose my list.  It really is quite good, a strong, exciting story, with a lot going on.  I think Rick's usage of the Golden Age heroes works just fine.  We get a few mentions of his having grown up on those old comics, and he's clearly obsessed with superheroes, so it makes a certain amount of sense. 

Yeah, the "Galactic Storm" storyline was pretty good.  I've got the TPB of that someplace, or did once upon a time. 

On the subject of the list, I've decided to cut the Serpent Crown story.  It was NOT as good as I remembered, and it was just sort of all over the place.  Plus, someone coming in without a lot of background is super likely to be lost.  I suppose I mostly just enjoyed it because of the fun of seeing the Avengers go up against an ersatz JLA. 

I'm going to keep the first Lee/Kirby Masters of Evil story to provide a greater sampling of their work.  Otherwise there just wouldn't be enough Kirby in this list, and that story has some really cool pieces that show his creative imagination, however inconsistent its quality is.  I also re-read the first Swordsman story, and though very silly, it was even better than I remembered.  :)

I just read the Nefaria story for the first time, and it was great!  There's not a whole lot to it, but it is a fantastic multi-issue brawl, one of the finest in any of the classic Avengers comics.  Plus, there's some good character work throughout.  Thanks for the recommendation!

I'm starting the Korvac Saga, and it's certainly very interesting so far.  It's definitely a good snapshot of Marvel cosmic.
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Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2018, 08:21:37 PM »
You might also want to include the storyline where Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil almost succeed in destroying the Avengers (the one were Goliath beats the holy mackerel out of Hercules and wherein the heroic Black Knight and Rita Demara Yellowjacket are introduced).
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Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Avengers 101
« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2018, 03:13:45 AM »
You might also want to include the storyline where Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil almost succeed in destroying the Avengers (the one were Goliath beats the holy mackerel out of Hercules and wherein the heroic Black Knight and Rita Demara Yellowjacket are introduced).

You do know the heroic Black Knight showed up long before that story, right? He's been around since the 60's.
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