It’s time for another Esssential review and this time we’re taking a look at the 9th volume of Avengers! Their new film is coming up soon so it’s always good to revisit the classics and the stories were pretty solid. The Avenger comics were typically my favorite ones from back in the day as far as Marvel is concerned. This collection does bring an infamous Ms Marvel comic with it as well, which I shall definitely discuss. Even without Comicvine to back me up on this retro review, I definitely wouldn’t forget that one.
There are many comics and plots contained in this Essential. As with the previous reviews, I shall not mention all of them, but I’ll make sure to give as many plots as possible. The first adventure that I shall mention was a mini Vision story in the Tales to Astonish series. The Vision has to help the passengers of a plane, but then he learns of a murder that is about to take place. He has to decide whether to stay in the plane and help an old man prevent a heart attack or he could go and stop the murder. The Vision may have to make the toughest call of his life. Is he more machine than man? That’s the question that we have to think about.
The Avengers Annual featured a story with Arsenal. Arsenal is definitely a powerful Marvel villain and he made for a really good villain. The Avengers find out that this unstoppable beast is in their mansion and now they will have to stop it. The only problem is that this villain’s power is almost immeasurable and Iron Man only barely managed to stop it last time. Luckily, he’s brought along Captain America and Thor (among others) so they are ready this time. It made for an interesting comic and Arsenal was cool. I guess he’s more of a one shot villain than most, but the world’s never too small for an extra powerhouse.
An interesting comic saw the Avengers head to Russia to combat a supervillain threat. The enemies were a group of elemental villains who didn’t seem natural. The Avengers would have to find out how they were created and react accordingly. The villains aren’t what made the comic interesting, but the Avengers’ attitudes about it were. Captain America initially did not want to help because Russia was being attacked. After all, he’s Captain America and he believes that the Avengers are country based. The Beast (considering that he’s typically an Xman and not an Avengers makes things interesting as well) defies Captain America and he says that it’s the Avengers duty to help out anyone in trouble. Captain America grudgingly agrees in the end and then the group goes off to help. (They’re ultimately chased off, but only after they’ve solved the problem) This could have been the first comic where Captain America didn’t act as heroic as we are used too. (Pre AVX days)
The next comic arc proves once again why the Avengers can be a little annoying. Wasp ventures to an asylum after hearing a story from one of the guys who escaped and his tale turns out to be true so she is quickly kidnapped. The Avengers head there, but decide that they can’t bust in because of legal issues. I can’t help but wince whenever I see one of the Superheroes saying that. They should worry about the consequences after they bust in and save the day. Instead, they send in Antman and Yellow Jacket to secretly check what’s happening. They’re quickly defeated soooo….time for Plan C! Who could defeat three Avengers anyway?
After that, the Avengers get locked in their elevator, which makes for an amusing story. This was the calm before the storm as the infamous Ms Marvel comic occurred shortly after. Uh oh….herrrrre we go! Well, as you may already be aware, Ms Marvel quickly has a baby and the process only took a few hours when it should have taken months as in the real world. The Baby immediately begins to grow up and boss the Avengers around as he tells them to gather some tools. The Baby then builds a dimension or time machine. (I forgot, but it doesn’t matter all that much) The baby grows into an adult and he tells the Avengers about how he basically turned his essence into a baby and put himself in Ms Marvel and he’s the one who originally had the baby with her. Now that he is an adult again, he wants to go away with her to his realm. Ms Marvel doesn’t really object to this and she leaves with him, but we have to remember that the guy seems to have some form of telepathy so the whole thing was very suspicious. He did make Ms Marvel forget about their affair after all.
Naturally, the worst part about this is the fact that the Avengers didn’t really do anything about it. They just wished the two of them well and forgot about the whole affair entirely. I can definitely see why fans can’t stand this comic and I have to agree that it was poorly written. I’m not sure what the writing staff was thinking when they wrote it. Nobody is in character and the Avengers should have at least gone with them through the portal or quickly begin preparations to find them. They just forgot the entire matter and it didn’t seem very heroic. This was definitely one of the largest errors that the Avengers have made.
Next, we got to see the iconic Jarvis comic. A bully enters his old neighborhood and it’s up to Jarvis to put him down for the count. What’s a regular teenager going to do to a man who’s helped the Avengers take out guys who could destroy planets? Jarvis is going to show him that you never mess with an Avenger! We also get a comic where Ultron returns to plague the world with his greatness, but it was surprisingly uneventful. Just a typical day with the Avengers.
The final comic was interesting because the Human Torch got to make an appearance. Unfortunately, his flames were not potent enough to put out the chemical flame inside of a warehouse and it was actually draining his abilities. The Avengers are forced to go in, but is this place really safe? One thing’s for sure…this was not a natural disaster!
The art is pretty good and it’s classic. All of the character designs are clear and easily understood. The comics are all in black and white of course since this is the Essential series. I definitely wouldn’t say that there was anything wrong with the drawings and sometimes I miss the good ole days. The facial expressions were definitely a little more life like at times back then.
One thing that always made these Avenger comics fun was the amount of suspense and drama that was added. The characters would always be at the limits of their abilities. The headlines would be startling and the heroes weren’t afraid to panic or say their thoughts aloud. It was a different era and the heroes were typically pretty cheerful. The Vision was not, but he had his own subplot with the Scarlet Witch that was present the whole time and they were at odds for a bit. The Falcon also had a subplot where he felt like the team was excluding him. I can’t say that I sympathized every time. There may have been a few times where I felt bad for him, but the Falcon did overdo it on several occasions. He was mad that they didn’t ask his opinion before going on a dangerous mission, but the Avengers typically don’t ask for opinions. Guys like Hawkeye and Iron Man just volunteer their thoughts whenever possible since they love to be at the head of the group. Falcon just needed to be more proactive in his attempts to let the team know what he thought they should do. Ironically enough, the Avengers asked his opinion next time, but the Falcon gave a mean retort like “What does it matter what the new Avenger thinks!” since he needed to let more missed opportunities go as he flew off…..you can probably tell that I’m not a huge Falcon fan either. He can be all right, but usually he’s just not very likable for me.
Overall, This collection was pretty good and all of the comics were basically enjoyable except for the controversial Ms Marvel one. The Beast and Wonderman team up wasn’t that interesting either, but it was all right. I would definitely recommend the collection to comic fans and it would be interesting to see what you thought of the Ms Marvel issue. The art is solid and you get to see a lot of the classic Avenger villains test their mettle against the heroes. I would say that Thor’s role is a bit smaller than usual since he is not always around in these issues, but he did turn up for the big battle against Arsenal so that was good. Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are definitely three Avengers who should always be around. (Of course, Steve Rogers will be passing on the mantle in the current comics and Thor is no longer Thor…but that’s another story of how the current comics like to change the status quo for a few months to draw in fan rage and sales) We are drawing to the end of the retro reviews that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while. Only one left and then the other reviews will be back to being a lot more thorough and point by point since I can evaluate them better. Nevertheless, this is one collection that you should obtain!