Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Classics - Avengers #6

In the early days of comics collecting, it was difficult to acquire a complete run of comics. Take The Avengers, for example.

When the series first appeared in 1963, I didn't see any issues until #3, which I picked up (and, as this review reveals, is one of my all-time favorite comics).

I never saw issue #4 until it was reprinted years later. Perhaps the distribution improved, or I was more diligent in my searches, but after that I was able to track down most of the issues easily, and The Avengers was one of my favorite titles.

Out of the first 10 issues, #3 is my favorite, closely followed by #6, which featured the first appearance of the Masters of Evil and the return of Baron Zemo, Captain America's foe from World War II who caused Bucky's death. (Or so we thought at the time.)

It's the most natural storyline for any team comic - pit them against a team of bad guys. But it's safe to say that no one did that any better than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

The story centers around Zemo, who discovers that Cap is still alive (having just been rescued from suspended animation two issues ago). He decides to assemble a team of villains to oppose the team, so he gathers the Radioactive Man (Thor's foe), the Black Knight (Giant-Man's foe), and the Melter (Iron Man's foe).

What makes it work is the combination of two things: Lee's dialogue - fast and funny at times, and downright inspiring (Cap's speech during his hand-to-hand fight against Zemo still gives me chills); and Kirby's amazing action scenes, as the two teams duke it out in the streets of New York - it's especially fun to see Thor cut loose.

It's smart, fast-paced and loaded with twists and turns - just a heck of a lot of fun. I defy anyone to read this comic and not fall in love with this title.

Grade: A



El Vox said...

I'm going to have to break out my old collected graphic of the Avengers story and re-read them after reading that review :) Yes, distribution was difficult back in the old days. I never even thought about collecting a run of anything, at best, I just had favorite titles or characters. Fun to reminisce though.

Chuck said...

El Vox, that's true - collecting a complete run seemed impossible, since there were no back issue dealers in the '60s (at least where I grew up). I didn't even realize for the longest time that comics were delivered on a certain day - I only got to visit newsstands and drug stores (the usual outlets) when my parents allowed it - though that was usually once a week.