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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 248

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Today we look at a classic Avengers tale from Stan Lee and Don Heck as the Avengers face off against Kang (and maybe ALONGSIDE Kang?!?)…


As the story begins in Avengers #23, Kang decides to attack the Avengers at their weakest (as Captain America had quit the previous issue). So he brings Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Quicksilver to the future so he can defeat them to impress the princess of a land he is invading.

While he captures Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, Quicksilver escapes, and then Captain America, learning of Kang kidnapping the others, comes to their rescue.

Lee and Heck do a wonderful job describing the set-up of the Avengers teaming up with the people that Kang is invading…

In #24, we see the Avengers fight back against incredible odds…

But in the end, Kang’s numbers outmatch even the Avengers’ heroics.

However, Kang refuses to kill the princess of the invaded lands, and his lieutenants see this as a perfect opportunity for a coup…

That’s a pretty awesome set-up for a storyline, right?

The story ends in dramatic fashion, but I don’t want to spoil that for you. Go find this story! It is collected in a few different formats.


You’re an issue off: this was Avengers #23-24; #25 is the team meeting Doctor Doom after returning to the present, and may be one of the very worst Silver Age Doom stories. (Doom has a giant plexiglass dome with which he can cover the entire country, and there’s a maudlin subplot about a crippled little boy.)

Thanks, corrected it!

Omar, and don’t forget Hawkeye’s sneezing arrow used to defeat Doom.

This is one of my favorite Kang stories with great work by Don Heck pencils and John Romita on inks. A somewhat rare pairing as I recall.

An interesting pick, Brian. Some comments:

1. Don Heck: Overshadowed first by by the Kirby and Ditko duumvirate that dominated early MARVEL, then by the hot newcomers (Romita, Colan, Buscema), Heck was always the consummate pro, and AVENGERS 23-24 shows him at the top of his game.

2. Stan Lee: Stan’s initial non-Kirby issues on the AVENGERS were rather lackluster, but things began to improve after the the radical re-shuffling of the team in issue 16. By Issue 23, Stan was at the top of his game.

3. John Romita: Fantastic inks on 23.

4. The Cover: Jack Kirby’s cover to issue 23 has got to be one of his all time best. Kang has never looked more menacing.

Solid art and script from the Lee-Heck team. These two issues featured the first really great Kang storyline.

Some suggestions for future COOL COMICS picks:

CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES: Jack Kirby’s art is fantastic in this, and the scripting is some of his best. As a bonus, some of the art is inked by BARRY WINDSOR SMITH!

TALES TO ASTONISH # 60-67: Showcases the sadly undervalued Steve Ditko Hulk run, which saw the introduction of both emotion as the trigger of the change into the Hulk and of the Leader.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #194-200: Kirby’s terrific MADBOMB epic.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #201-203: The night People and Zero Street, Kirby’s surreal follow-up to the MADBOMB arc.

SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MAGAZINE 1-2: The short-lived AMAZING SPIDER-MAN MAGAZINE from 1968 had some of the best work from the Stan Lee-John Romita. team.

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 124 and THOR 125-130: the epic Thor vs Hercules vs Pluto storyline.

This was one of the worst Kang stories for me. Except for the resulting “death” of Ramona, this story is not important. It may have been the catalist for stories in the future, where Kang seeks to restore her… but I really disliked the fact that Don Heck has all these faceless armies of the future waring against each other. I really couldn’t care less about their conflict. And I think the art suffers for all the tiny figures.

I will agree that Cap’s Kookie Quartett are hitting their stride with these issues, but I’m getting tired of Cap’s on-again, off-again leadership of the team. In my book, he agreed to stay on, and he has to continue to make good on his pledge… at least until one of the other originals return…which they do in the form of Giant-man/Goliath…and the WASP when she returns.

I like Kang much better when he’s behind the scenes in Avengers #56 and Annual #2… but the Scarlett Centurian identity was entirely a waste.

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