Comic Review – “Essential Avengers Vol. 4”

Read about where they were before Bendis kills them
all off.

General Information

Title: Essential Avengers Vol. 4

Credited to: Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, John Buscema,
Neal Adams, and Friends

Original Publication Date: 2004 reprint of material
first published
from 1969-1972

ISBN: 0-7851-1485-8

Cover Price: $16.99 US, $27.25 Can

Buy from:

Past comic reviews can be found here.


The continuing adventures of the Avengers in the
largest Essential to
date, with issues 69-97, covering right up until the
Kree Skrull war
wraps up.

High Point

Issue 93, “The Beachhead Earth,” which brings in Neal
Adams on the art
chores, kicks off the Kree/Skrull war in earnest, and
retcons what
seems to be a mistake made way, way back in
Fantastic Four

Low Point

The ending of the Kree Skrull war was pretty bloody
lame. I don’t
even see why it ends the war, instead of just
postponing it.

The Scores

It starts off with the usual adventures Marvel heroes
went through
when Stan Lee was at the reigns. By about half way
through, things
start to change. The Kree Skrull war is a far more
extended story
than they usually had in those days, and the premise
of superheroes
getting accidentally caught in the middle of
something bigger wasn’t
very common in those days. I give the
originality 5 out of 6.

The artwork starts out good, and then
becomes great when Neal
Adams comes in. His work is much better than it
looked when
. I just
wish his issues were in a continuous run, instead of
getting the
fill-ins all the time. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is a bit uneven at first, and then
it really starts
to pick up, tying things together that go back to
nearly the birth of
Marvel comics. (There are even some moments from
Timely comics here.)
The cop-out ending to the war is a distasteful spot
to finish up,
though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is pushed more to the
forefront here
than it had been before, particularly in the later
Interpersonal relationships are starting to drive the
actions and the
stories, which is far more plausible and engaging
than the old school
writing. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this generates starts
off lukewarm,
and then becomes pretty strong, until that
disappointing dive at the
end. (If I wanted great build-up and a lousy ending,
I’d still be
reading Stephen King.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow is jarring only when the artists
change. I give it
4 out of 6.

Overall, this is a very good collection,
well worth the
price. I can see why this was the highest selling
title on the market
at the time. (At least, it was Marvel’s biggest
seller.) I give it 5
out of 6.

In total, Essential Avengers Vol. 4 receives
32 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

I’m well behind on my comic reviews, I know. I hope
to start catching
up in October. I’m behind in some of the monthly
titles (Supreme
Power, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Daredevil spring to
mind), and I also
have yet to review a series of Essential volumes
(Captain America
Vol. 1 and 2, Tomb of Dracula Vol. 2, Iron Man Vol.
1, Super Villain
Team Up Vol. 1, and Conan Vol. 1). Any preference
for which reviews
you see first?