Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Classics - Avengers #96

We're just a few days from the premiere of The Avengers film, and I'm greatly encouraged by the good reviews and by comments made by my friends overseas who have seen it (although I'm still generally avoiding any articles about it until after I see the movie, to avoid spoilage).

So let's continue our look back at some of the greatest Avengers stories, with a look what may be the most famous story from the Roy Thomas era - the Kree-Skrull War from 1972.

This is the next-to-the-last issue in that story and the threat against the Earth is overwhelming, as the two galactic empires (the Kree and the Skrull, of course) prepare their vast space armadas for battle, with Earth serving as the battlefield.

Standing against them are a small (but powerful) number of Avengers, including Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Vision and Goliath (actually Hawkeye). Also in the mix are Captain Marvel, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

But how can they stand against such vast odds? The secret to victory lies in (of all places) the mind of perennial sidekick Rick Jones - but that revelation would have to wait for the next issue.

The other star of this issue is artist Neal Adams, who really pushed the envelope - even for him - and created some stunning images as the heroes take part in an interstellar battle (long before Star Wars and its iconic space battles).

Adams was really hitting his stride here, though judging by the small army of inkers on this issue (and the fact that he only illustrated part of the next issue), the deadlines must have been wearing on him.

Still, spectacular work by all involved, as the team made their mark on Avengers history.

Next week we'll wrap up classic reviews with one of my all-time favorite Avengers writers - Steve Englehart.

Grade: A



Len LaCara said...

Also worth noting: this issue is the first appearance of the Avengers cover still in use today -- even in the movie.

Great series. Wish I hadn't sold these issues!

Chuck said...

The logo - you're right, I didn't even notice!

This is the first time I've read this issue in more than a decade - great to see the story holds up so well after all this time!