Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Classics - Avengers #5

   A couple of years ago I reviewed Avengers #3, the first issue of the series I saw - and one that made this comic an instant favorite.

   At the end of that story, they teased that the next issue would feature the return of Captain America!

   I remember thinking, "Who the heck is Captain America?"

   At 8 years old, I knew nothing about comics history, and less about a character whose last appearance was around the time I was born (not counting an imposter who appeared in an issue of Strange Tales I missed.)

   To compound the problem, I never saw that fourth issue (although I read a reprint of it years later) - the next issue of The Avengers I saw was #5 (published in 1964). Thankfully, it quickly brought the reader up to speed on the team's newest member.

   It was immediately obvious that there was something special about Cap - a normal man in top physical condition, armed only with a shield that served as both a defensive and offensive weapon.

   Thrown onto a team with Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man and the Wasp, he immediately stood out as a true hero - both in his courage in facing incredible odds, and in smaller ways.

   For example, in this issue the team faces the Lava Men, a lost race of what seems to be humans made out of volcanic rock, each with incredible powers. At one point Cap is wrapped up in bands of volcanic rock. Iron Man uses his repulsor rays to free Cap, but warns that it will be painful. As he blasts the rock, Iron Man thinks, "What a man! He's taking the full force of my electronic repulsors without a whimper!" No magic hammers, no armor, no growing powers - Cap was just a tough hombre!

   The issue includes the menace of the Living Rock, which threatens the entire planet - but to deal with it, the team had to fight an army of Lava Men - and the Incredible Hulk!

   Crafted by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the issue was an instant classic. It was another action-packed issue, and I discovered a new favorite hero to add to my "must buy" list!

   And this kind of thing was a monthly event at Marvel. What a deal!

Grade: A


No comments: