Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Classics - Avengers #28

Continuing our focus on The Avengers (leading up to the movie), I'll resist the urge to just review stories from the first dozen issues and instead move to the "second phase" of the title: Cap's Kooky Quartet.

A phrase I never cared for, by the way.

Following the "retirement" of Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man and the Wasp, Captain America stayed on to lead the new team, which included Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

As a team, they were underpowered but managed to succeed using their unique skills and teamwork.

About a year after their retirement, Giant-Man and the Wasp returned to the team - but there were changes. Now known as Goliath, Hank Pym no longer had easy control of his size-changing powers. Now he could only grow to 25 feet tall, and then he had to remain that size for 15 minutes.

The Wasp had been captured by The Collector, a strange character who was collecting super-heroes, so he lured the Avengers into a trap. What follows is a wild, action-packed battle between the team and the traps created by the Collector.

There are those who think writer Stan Lee only did his best work with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, but this issue is outstanding, and includes some excellent artwork by the sadly-underappreciated Don Heck (here inked by "Frankie Ray").

The layouts are strong, the heroes powerfully depicted, the storytelling crisp and clear - just a great issue! Stan holds up his end with the usual sharp dialogue, lots of humor, drama and even some pathos.

Starting with this issue, the days of the "quartet" were over - but the team and its stories would just keep getting bigger and better.

Grade: A-


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