web stats

CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 324

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!

Uncollected Classics week continues with a storyline from a notable run that has very few parts of it collected, Roger Stern’s Avengers run. I don’t believe anyone specifically requested this storyline, but it just seemed to stand out for me in how much it would work as a trade paperback nowadays, especially with the Chaos War stuff. So without further due, I give you “The Olympus War,” from Avengers #281-285, by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer!

Enjoy!

The set-up for this storyline is as follows…Hercules was not very happy having to follow the orders of the Wasp as leader of the Avengers. So one night, when Hercules had been plied with liquor by some bad guys, Hercules ignored Wasp’s orders not to try to attack Avengers Mansion (which had been captured by the Masters of Evil). He was then beaten nearly to death. He survived but was trapped in a deep coma. Time moved on (as it tends to do) and Wasp left the Avengers and Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) became the leader and the team’s lineup changed (Wasp and Hercules left and Thor, Doctor Druid and She-Hulk joined).

Well, right before Avengers #281, Hercules vanished from his hospital bed! And when #281 begins, the nurse accuses Thor of kidnapping him. Thor denies it and realizes who was ACTUALLY behind it. Like Hercules, Thor was not great at following orders, so he spirited away to take care of things on his own. This left the Avengers to debate the issue…

The fellow enjoying himself at She-Hulk’s expense is Dionysus. Yep, the Greek gods have set their sights on the Avengers and they are PISSED!

After they take down the whole team (Thor is taken down separately) we see what the deal is…

Not good. Not good at all!

In the next issue, the remaining Avengers who were around during Hercules’ tenure on the team, Namor and the Wasp, are sought out. Neptune himself grabs Namor, but Namor gets loose in the River Styx (what a cool idea – Namor in the River Styx!).

the mysterious stranger sets the plot up…

Just when the Avengers escape and think they’ve found a way to rationally discuss stuff, well, this happens…

Here’s an example of how cool things get – the Black Knight ends up wielding Cap’s shield along with his ebony blade!!

By the time this war is over, the Olympians know that they have been in a fight! Hercules wakes up, and that is not necessarily good news for the Avengers (remember, he was beaten nearly to death – expect some brain damage!). All in all, this was a dynamite-paced five-parter by Roger Stern, getting in tons of awesome ideas while being aided brilliantly by one of the top art teams Marvel had at the time, John Buscema on breakdowns and Tom Palmer on finishes.

Sadly, this would be the last full storyline by Roger Stern. He was fired from the book in the middle of the next story over a disagreement with the book’s editor, Mark Gruenwald. It’s really too bad – but at least he had this really awesome send-off!

17 Comments

Great choice Brian- this was a perfect summary of the Stern / Buscema / Palmer run. This team line-up, when they worked together could thrash about anyone as the Olympians found out here. Between the Masters of Evil, Kang, Nebula and this story it was a great run, and I think this is the best of the lot.

Great pick!

I’m a huge fan of Stern’s Avengers run, and while everyone (rightly) lauds the Under Siege storyline that precedes this one, I quite like this story (admittedly, some of that comes from my always having a soft spot for Greek mythology). It’s just fun, classic superheroics.

No, no, no. Should have been the Vision rules the world story.

Is Marvel doing anything with Dane Whitman these days?

I’m not really much of an Avengers fan but I loved this storyline. Funny thing is, I originally missed the first issue but even after getting issue 281 years later, I think the story reads better without it. Whether it’s some sort of weird nostalgia thing or what have you, I prefer the vibe of learning what’s going on right with Namor. In any case, I enjoyed this story enough to hunt down the rest of Stern’s Avengers run; the only run I’ve ever collected of Avengers.

Good stuff.

Crazy, I just picked these issues up last Thursday, haven’t had a chance to read ‘em yet though.

No, no, no. Should have been the Vision rules the world story

That was what I was going to go with, but after looking at the issues, I can really see how Marvel would skip collecting those issues. Because unless they just collected all of Stern’s issues, that storyline really wasn’t much of a storyline, up until the very two last issues. The whole story took place as a subplot in the title while the book had completely unrelated main plots, including some really disparate stuff tied directly into the continuity of Marvel at the time (Dire Wraiths plus Simonson’s Thor). I don’t think it would read very well as a “Vision takes over the world!” trade (plus, the artwork paled in comparison to the Buscema stuff).

This is my all time favorite story and made me a comic fan for life.

Buscema and Palmer were a superb art team. They make the book look epic.

Stern’s run is what made me a die-hard Avengers fan.
Those were the days when I literally could not wait until the next issue came out at the drugstore downtown to find out what happened.
And I loved this Avengers team. Sorry but I’ve got a soft spot for Dr. Druid. The Black Night was always awesome, and making Namor an Avenger was just one of many brilliant moves on Stern’s part.
I would love it if Marvel gave Stern an Avengers project.

No, no, no. Should have been the Vision rules the world story

That was what I was going to go with, but after looking at the issues, I can really see how Marvel would skip collecting those issues. Because unless they just collected all of Stern’s issues, that storyline really wasn’t much of a storyline, up until the very two last issues. The whole story took place as a subplot in the title while the book had completely unrelated main plots, including some really disparate stuff tied directly into the continuity of Marvel at the time (Dire Wraiths plus Simonson’s Thor). I don’t think it would read very well as a “Vision takes over the world!” trade (plus, the artwork paled in comparison to the Buscema stuff).

I see what you’re getting at Brian. But there again I think my shelves should be straining under an Avengers Visionaries: Roger Stern collection ;-)

From memory there’s an early issue plus an annual in the Byrne FF Visionaries trade, a few issues in the Secret Wars II HC plus the Kang: Time & Again and Under Siege trades. And Under Siege has been out of print for donkeys years till the HC a few months back.

Oddly for 80s Marvel, UK readers got to see a lot of Stern’s Avengers. As well as the issues that directly cross over into Secret Wars II, the UK Secret Wars title printed the entire Avengers/Nebula/Skrull story in lovely oversized colour.

Yeah, I would totally be on board with an Avengers Visionaries: Roger Stern collection. Honestly, it is kind of odd that they don’t have Avengers Visionaries collections. It’s currently their #1 franchise, and they appear TO be cashing in on it with a number of trades – and yet not the Stern stuff (nor are there any Avengers Visionaries: Roy Thomas or Avengers Visionaries: Steve Englehart collections).

One collection I’m REALLY surprised doesn’t exist is the Gatherers storyline from Harras/Epting. Epting is one of their top artists, you’d think they’d want to reprint his earlier work for them.

The Harras bit of the creative team could be the clue there.

Thomas & Englehart have both been collected in Essentials.

A quick look on Amazon shows several Englehart trades: Avengers/Defenders HC, Serpent Crown, Celestial Madonna. The Coming of The Beast is getting a HC collection too isn’t it?

Yeah, Thomas and Englehart have both had trades before. I just think they should have specific “Avengers Visionaries” trades. Really, I just think Avengers Visionaries should exist, period! :)

“One collection I’m REALLY surprised doesn’t exist is the Gatherers storyline from Harras/Epting. Epting is one of their top artists, you’d think they’d want to reprint his earlier work for them.”

THANK YOU BRIAN!!! Finally someone agrees with me that The Gatherers work should be collected for Epting’s art alone….

However, I remember a lot of fans hating on that run for the “Avengers Jackets” among other things….

..but I loved Dane’s fight with his inner nature all through that story….

Also Brian I think I saw on another site that Marvel is planning to collect The Olympus War in a trade later this year….

Thanks Man! This brought back great memories…

Not this year, there’s only a month left and it’snot on Marvel’s December solicitations.

The crystal ball that is Amazon’s Marvel trade listings doesn’t show it either :-(

Harras’ run was underrated.
I loved it when it came out. Re-read it about two years ago and it still stands up.
I recall some folks comparing Harras’ run to Englehart’s and I find that to be true. Lots of meaty subplots thread through some really great storylines – Operation: Galactic Storm, The Gatherers, the return of the Kree terrorists, the cross-over with X-Men.
Plus we had a focus on some underused Avengers, such as Black Knight and Black Widow and Black Panther, and fun with alternate reality Avengers like the Swordsman and the evil Jocasta.
If Stern’s Avengers made me a serious fan, it was Harras’ run that got me back into the book when I temporarily dropped comics while in college. I just have such nostalgia for Harras’ run. Really good memories.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives