Sunday, August 20, 2006

Avengers Assemble!

A few evenings ago, I decided to sift through my box of old comics. "Books" as I refer to them- trying to sound a little less like a geek in response to my wife's questions as to what I'm looking for. You see, I keep them in the back of the crawl space leading to the attic. In order to reach this veritable treasure trove of nostalgic bliss, I have to complete an obstacle course by climbing over three "winter clothes" bins, a plethora of purses, and a multitude of luggage.
As I inch closer to the coveted cardboard cube, I'm making a LOT of noise, and my wife never fails to notice all the racket.
"What are you looking for in there?"
"Ummmmmm... Books" I answer, thinking that the response given would be sufficient.
Not so.
She then hits me with "What kind?" Then I answer her query feeling slightly like a geek, but kinda tickled by the fact that she's kinda tickled by my attempts to be covert. We play this game about once or twice a year, and I swear it never gets old or any less ticklish.
But I digress.
Upon perusal, I find within the musty box four of what I consider The best issues of the Avengers comic. Immediately I was nine again. Issues 183 and 184 featured the Absorbing Man Crusher Creel (I love saying his name) whuppin' ass! He pretty much just smacks 'em all around until the coolest Avenger-the Vision steps in to put an end to all that nonsense. Issues 190 and 191 were also pretty tight. The Grey Gargoyle is in the house and his knuckles are having their way with various Avengers. Daredevil(!) even gets smacked up in issue 190! There is no shortage of action, and they are pretty solid in terms of artwork.
John Byrne did the pencils, and its no secret that he was in top form. These are great books, even though the dialogue was sort of wack. The covers- though not illustrated by Byrne were works of art, giving readers a glimpse of the chaos about to occur within. This was a time period (late 70's) when the Avengers were top-notch in my book. I mean, there was a gang of heroes included in these issues, and all of them were bad-ass! Look, you had Hawkeye, Wasp, Beast (Obviously taking a break from the Xmen) Ms. Marvel (HOT), Iron Man, Black Falcon, (known as the Falcon at that point), Captain America, Scarlet Witch (Super Hot), and the Vision! Nine cats in one comic every month! Are you kidding me!?! It was enough to blow a nine year olds' mind! John Byrne managed to cram so much action into his run on the Avengers that after being exposed to these books, I became spoiled and expected ALL comics to be comparable in creativity and caliber.
By all means, if you are a fan of the Avengers and /or John Byrne's artwork, then you must check out these issues.

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