Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Classics - Solo Avengers #1

Right now we're going through Avengers overload, as Marvel cranks out quite a few Avengers-related titles, capitalizing on the team's "hot" status (and preparing for next year's movie, no doubt).

But this isn't the first time for that phenomenon. By December 1987 (the cover date for this issue) Marvel had added to the original Avengers title a team spin-off - the West Coast Avengers - and this issue, Solo Avengers, which was a "split" book designed to throw the spotlight on a rotating cast of team members.

And the first issue looks mighty familiar, as the first half of the book was dedicated to the leader of the West Coast team, Hawkeye, and the second half - for this issue - starred his new wife, Mockingbird.

Both stories were written by Tom DeFalco, and while he's had his share of great stories, this isn't one of them. The first features Hawkeye struggling as he faces a trap by a bunch of third-rate henchmen, while the second story gives us the same tale from Mockingbird's viewpoint.

The art is the most interesting thing about the book. Hawkeye is drawn by penciler Mark Bright and inker Joe Rubinstein, and they turn in some solid superhero art here. Nothing terribly flashy, but strong and professional.

The backup story is more interesting - it features a young Jim Lee as inked by the legendary Al Williamson. It's quite a combination, evoking strong influences from John Byrne. It's a bit crude compared to his modern work, but it's a good effort that demonstrated a lot of promise.

This comic wasn't a huge success, although it held on for 40 issues (it was retitled Avengers Spotlight for the last half of the run).

Actually, I'm surprised that they haven't revived this title to go along with all the other Avengers books crowsing the shelves - New, Secret, Academy, etc.

Give 'em time...

Grade: C+


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