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You Decide ’11 – Whose Avengers run have you enjoyed the most?

Each day this month, I’ll be posting a different poll question – each poll will last five days, and I’ll reveal the results of the finished polls every Tuesday.

This way, for this month, we can see what our readers feel about various comic book questions. For a month, you folks will decide! Click here to see the other questions that you can answer as well as checking out the latest poll results!

Read on for the latest poll question!


Bendis. If only because I’ve never really followed any other run, except a few issues here and there.

Without even an instant’s hesitation, Busiek.


February 16, 2011 at 5:15 am

Roger Stern. I’m not so old.

Well, I’m old too, and it’s still Busiek.

Stern, with Englehart to place and Busiek to show.

Stern first, then Busiek.

Stern !

Busiek over Stern, Englehart & Thomas by a little bit. Busiek had George Perez art

Roy Thomas is to the Avengers what Lee & Kirby were to Fantastic Four.

Roger Stern for me…Kurt Busiek a close #2

This is the easiest one yet. It’s Roy Thomas by a mile.

I chose Stern because that was the guy writing Avengers when I started reading it, and I loved his writing. Busiek runs a close second for me because I think he had a very solid run.

Bendis? Over rated. :)

No David Michelinie?

No David Michelinie?

No David Michelinie. Or Larry Hama. Or John Byrne. Or Gerry Conway. Or Chuck Austen.

Definitely Roy Thomas. Then Englehart and Shooter.

The Crazed Spruce

February 16, 2011 at 7:52 am

I went with Busiek. Like I said when I put him on my “Top 10 Writers” list, he could give Geoff Johns lessons on how to pay tribute to the comics you read as a kid without tearing down everything that came after.

Stern, that’s what made me a life long comic fan. Then Busiek which was the last monthly series I bought before going GN only.

Just for the sake of clarity, I voted for pre-1973 Thomas.

I wouldn’t have commented if I wasn’t the first comment for Shooter. Because he was a hands-down, albeit Thomas was a fairly close second.

(Yeah, Jimmy will still lose — probably Roy, too — but that’s popularity for ya.)

I voted Roger Stern. Not sure if he’ll win though.I’m guessing Busiek will.

As “The Crazed Spruce” said, Busiek knows how to balance nostalgia and actually progressing a franchise. He could write stories steeped in continuity without destroying the work of all the creators that came between his childhood and his own run on the Avengers.

Even better, Busiek actually added to the mythos of the team with decent characters like Silverclaw and Triathalon, while touching on classic stories and concepts fro mearlier writers.

Then again, Busiek’s just about my favourite comic writer, so I’m a bit biased.

A close call between Stern and Bendis. Not saying which for fear of reprisals. :)

Busiek, although Stern is a very close second.


The Triathlon stuff and how drawn out the Kang War hits Busiek’s down a bit. I really considered Harras though. It’s what I grew up. But I don’t want to reread it now.

I went with Stern. I kind of wish i could have voted for all the Tom Palmer years, he gave such a cohesive feel to the book, and yeah, i even quite liked the little loved Harras run which it would include when i was youg

1. Busiek
2. Englehart
3. Thomas

If Ultimates counted, Millar would nab the bronze medal

I voted Bendis, because I feel he is one of the only writers who didn’t write Avengers in the style of Lee-Thomas, which was a long time ago now. His run was always fresh and fun for me. Stern would be second. His characterization was great, and he wrote a lot of epic runs. Working with John Buscema didn’t hurt, either.

If there was a way I could vote Busiek for last place, I would. He writes well enough, but the whole thing came off as fanfic he wrote as a child in the ’70s, barely updated for the 21st century. If it weren’t for Perez’s style at the time, they could almost come off as reprints or flashbacks.

Kang Dynasty was the greatest Avengers story ever told, so I gotta go with Busiek.

Stern for sure. Englehart a close second. Thomas, Shooter and Busiek are runners-up.

Englehart by a nose over Roy Thomas. Loved both eras, but I started reading comics during Englehart’s run, so it gets the nostalgic squeaker.

I voted for Bob Harras. That’s right. Outside of a handful other issues, Harras’ is the only Avengers I’ve really read. I liked the jackets. Yes, the jackets. And Black Knight, and Sersi, and whoever the hell else was on the team.

Also worth mentioning: The incredibly short Simonson run. With Gilgamesh!!!!

Englehart. Looking back at his runs on AVENGERS and the associated material (WEST COAST AVENGERS, the VISION & SCARLET WITCH maxiseries, the AVENGERS: CELESTIAL QUEST midiseries (?)), what he wrote succeeded as literature. A reader could take his SERPENT CROWN TPB (AVENGERS #141-#144, #147-#149) or the maxiseries and do a paper on it as though he were doing a paper on a classic SF novel. Could that be said about AVENGERS storylines written by anyone else?


As far as I’m concerned, Roy Thomas gets this one in a walk. I did like Englehart’s first Avengers run, though not his later WCA stuff. I enjoyed the Stern run too, but Jim Shooter qould probably come in second for me for the Korvac Saga alone.

Englehart or Stern, I still haven’t decided yet. I haven’t read enough Thomas, although the few issues I’ve seen look good. Should we factor West Coast Avengers into our decision?

In the top 100 runs poll a while back, Busiek’s run placed highest, then Stern, then Thomas, while Lee, Englehart, Shooter, Harras, and Bendis didn’t place. It will be interesting to see if this poll shows similar results, or wildly different ones.

I suspect Harras won’t get a lot of votes. Most people tend to romanticize the comics of their youth and overrate their quality… Well, Harras was the Avengers writer of my youth, and while I bought the stuff at the time, I look back at it now as just awful. So if a run can’t even get the “he was the writer from my childhood” vote, then you KNOW it was bad. Same with Tom Defalco’s FF run.

I’m interested to see how Englehart does… I don’t think he has much chance at finishing better than 5th, because Stern, Thomas, and Busiek’s runs are so iconic, while Bendis has the modern popularity vote. But that being said, I remember thinking during the top 100 runs poll tat Englehart’s Avengers was conspicuously absent, and it did have quite a few classic stories (Celestial Madonna, Serpent Crown, Avengers/Defenders War, etc.)

I voted for Shooter, mostly because of the Korvac saga, the fact that he had my favorite Avengers lineup (with Beast), and because having Perez and Byrne switch off on art might have the best 1-2 punch ever.

Lee could well finish second worst, which is fascinating because what other Marvel silver age titles would Lee ever place so low on a ranking writers poll?

I picked Busiek, but it was a difficult decision. There are five runs of Avengers I consistently pull out to re-read Those are the Thomas era, the first Shooter era (I despise Shooter’s work in his second era), the Michelinie era (who was omitted from this poll), the Stern-Buscema-Palmer portion of the Stern era, and Busiek. All have their strengths and pleasures. To me, Stern did an admirable job in pulling the Avengers out of the doldrums the books experienced post issue 203 with Bill Mantlo and the return of Shooter, but I enjoyed the other above-listed eras just a smidgen more.

It ultimately came down to a contest between Roy and Kurt and, in the end, I gave it to Busiek.

Stern, and I’m only 20. It’s the only extended Avengers run I really liked, actually.

I’ve been reading a lot of Avengers lately and I’m almost astonished by how consistent it really is, at least until Bendis took over. Thomas, Englehart, and Stern all have fantastic runs, some of the best on any superhero book ever. But the poll says “enjoyed the most,” so I’m voting for Stern.

Buisek, with Englehart & Bendis coming in 2nd & 3rd respectively and Harras’s run gets an honourable mention.

I agree with irritant, I’ve consistently enjoyed the series as they would change writers, I had to vote for Busiek though because it was a fantastic run and the art helped a ton.

The first Avengers I ever read regularly was Busiek’s. It’s really high up for me, but after going way back with the help of Essentials, I’m going with Thomas. I gotta dig those out again…

Maybe it does come down to whoever was writing it when you became a regular reader. I’m old too, and it was Roy Thomas. Not that there aren’t many other very good writers on that list, like Englehart.

Thomas. I feel he defined The Avengers better than Stan ever did, and most takes on the team are based on his.

Thomas. I feel he defined The Avengers better than Stan ever did, and most takes on the team are based on his.

It’s weird, but those are the exact reasons I don’t like Thomas. He defined the team more than Stan ever did, and most takes on the team are based on his, but I think the ways he defined the team were terrible. A robot that’s in love with a human, and the whole book trying to sell that anyone who thinks a chick in love with a toaster is weird is some irrational bigot or hate-monger? He’s a toaster!!! The whole weird thing of Vision being programmed with Simon’s engrams, but acts nothing like him? And other weird things that have stuck with the franchise for decades. And I know I’m in the minority but I think the classic scene with the Vision crying is hokey as hell.

And his melodrama was too much, even for the Stan Lee era. Plus he planted the first seeds of Pym’s insanity and had the wedding between Pym and Jan under those dubious mental circumstances, paving the way for Hank as eventual abuser and basketcase. Then he also had one of Hank’s creations turn into a murderous monster, thereby paving the way for said murderous monster to murder a whole nation, which then made Pym indirectly responsible for genocide.

I’ll take Stan Lee’s simple version of the team any day. Thomas definitely defined the team more and in a more enduring way, but I never felt for the better. That’s one reason I loved Bendis’s original New Avengers premise so much, even if not always the execution: the Avengers with Marvel’s biggest guns, and other Stan Lee secondary picks like Hawkeye.

I was really torn between Stern and Shooter.

Jim Shooter was a master of an almost forgotten art: writting amazing superhero battles. The issues with Ultron, Count Nefaria, and Graviton had these awesome, grandiose battles that really were worthy of Earth’s Greatest Heroes!

Bendis can’t write a big superhero battle if his life depended on it. And you have to excuse me, but Avengers without cool battles is like a marriage without sex. FF is about cosmic discoveries and exploration, Spider-Man about angst soap opera. Avengers must have awesome battles.

But ultimately I went with Roger Stern. He was a master of another art that is even more forgotten these days. He could tell a epic superhero story in six issues and make it so it really needed six issues to tell. No padding, no decompression. Just epic goodness that really needed 150 pages to be told.

Also, he knew how to build things. That is big problem with the comic book industry today. I’ve read a Tom Brevoort interview these days, where Brevoort said writers should start strong and shocking and fast in his introductory issues. This is garbage. This is what led to Avengers Disassembled and garbage like that. You start your run by killing and changing and shocking, and turns readers into enemies. Roger Stern knew that first you got to have the readers care for you and your story, and big things must be built toward, so when they happen, they look like natural developments.

So, Stern it is for me.

T. I think Steve Englehart was a lot more extreme than Thomas, in presenting the Vision and the Scarlet Witch as some sort of sacred, exemplary couple. But even though he and Thomas took the Vision’s side a little too much, I’m still on his side too. He can think and feel, so it shouldn’t matter that his flesh is synthetic. And really, it makes sense that other superheroes would be very open-minded regarding this stuff. They have gods and mutants and time-displaced supersoldiers. Loving a man with synthetic flesh is no big deal in such a world.

My mind immediately popped to Shooter, so that’s who I picked.

I found the runs of Stern and Busiek consistently entertaining, but Shooter was the first run I really got into, and for me it had the highest high points with the likes of Ultron, Nefaria and Korvac (I agree with Rene, the superhero battles were great).

I also liked character developments like Iron Man’s leadership coming under fire and Wonder Man’s adjustment to resurrection. And as great as Stern and Busiek’s runs were, they were seriously lacking…the Beast! Loved that character immediately.

It doesn’t hurt that the images burned into my brain from this run are mainly drawn by Perez or Byrne.

(Incidentally, I wish Michelenie’s run was included in this poll, it had 20-odd very solid issues in there that included Red Ronin, Taskmaster…maybe not Marcus so much, but it was still mostly good stuff…)

I haven’t read a full run, but from what I have read it’s a hard choice between Thomas and Stern.

Thats a hard decision..I went with Stern, but he barely edges out Busiek and Thomas for me. Shooters Korvac saga was amazing, but his second go around knocks him out of the running.

Bendis can have the booby prize…his writing drove me off of my favorite marvel title. Something even Austen couldnt do

On the question of whether Michelinie should’ve been included– His run started out great. He was the one (I believe) who first introduced Gyrich, one of the best self-righteous douchebags Marvel’s ever had. It was his idea to impose annoying Government regulations on the Avengers, and he was the one who added Ms Marvel and the Falcon to the team. He really deserves credit for all that.
Of course, his stories went way downhill towards the end, but that happens with a lot of writers.

I went with Stern’s because I feel it’s a more consistent run overall. Busiek’s I honestly lost a lot of interest in after Perez left.

It’s interesting to see comments on how the artwork affected a reader’s enjoyment of a storyline, because the artwork has very little to do with the quality of the writing. The plot, theme, characterization, setting, development, if any — all of those story elements exist separately from the artwork. An artist’s strengths or weaknesses might affect how a writer structures a story, but the basic elements of the story shouldn’t be affected.

Consider the adaptation of a prose story. However good or bad the artwork is in the adaptation, the artwork will have no effect on the quality of the original story.

The artwork in an original story can enhance or detract from the impact of the writing, but can’t change the writing, aside from obvious conflicts, miscommunication, or technical glitches that would signal editorial incompetence. Good writing combined with bad artwork is a good story with a diminished impact; bad writing combined with good artwork is wasted effort by the artist, because the best imaginable artist can’t save a story crippled by a defective plot, mischaracterization, or continuity conflicts.

I’m not going to argue that enjoyment of the artwork shouldn’t have any effect on someone’s opinion of a writer’s run on a title, but that enjoyment should be separated from an opinion of the writer’s success on the title. When the quality of the writing in any given issue is judged, the artwork is practically irrelevant.



With respect, I think you’re wildly wrong on quite a few counts.

First, when you say that the basic elements of the story aren’t affected by the art, I think you’re misunderstanding that one artist vs. another can change the very type of story a writer will create. Consider Claremont’s mutant work of the 80s… the types of stories he was writing were radically different with Barry Windsor-Smith or Frank Miller, Alan Davis or Paul Smith, Art Adams or Bill Sienkiewicz, etc. Same with Peter David’s Hulk run- look at how different it was with Todd McFarlane vs. Dale Keown vs. Adam Kubert; that’s about more than just a different visual style, David was writing the book differently. So when you say “artwork can’t change the writing,” well, that’s simply not true. With many of the great writers, artwork drastically changes the writing.

Second, to say the best imaginable artist can’t save a flawed story, well, again, simply not true. Look at Jeph Loeb’s entire career! If he weren’t working so much with TIm Sale, he never would have been a name writer. But he had the good fortune of working with one of the best artists of the last 20 years, and the good sense to cater his writing to a lot of splash pages. Those two things alone make any Loeb/Sale collaboration readable, and a few of them manage to overcome some serious flaws and be nearly great. I assure you, this would not have been the case with a different artist. Same thing with Hush. You think anyone would like that shit if it weren’t for Jim Lee? But because of Lee’s presence, it’s almost enjoyable.

And to say that the quality of art “should be separated from an opinion of the writer’s success on the title,” well, that’s a bit naive. Even if it’s not necessarily fair to the writer, bad art can kill the ability to enjoy good writing. I’ve never been able to like Gail SImone’s Birds of Prey run because Ed Benes’ art is so horrific, and I’ve always thought the lack of artistic unity in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run seriously hurts it. I understand neither of these things are really the fault of the writing, but to say they shouldn’t inform our enjoyment of a finished product is a bit ridiculous. It’s like saying the quality of a movie shouldn’t have anything to do with the acting, because the screenplay and direction are still the same. Well, would Raging Bull have been a great film with anyone other than DeNiro? No matter that Scorsese’s direction and Schrader’s screenplay still would have been there, DeNiro’s performance is essential and inseparable to the film’s importance.

And your comment about the adaption of a prose story has absolutely no relevance to the discussion of comic books, because prose stories aren’t designed to be accompanied by art. Prose and graphic storytelling are two completely different art forms.

Torn between the sheer joyous nostalgia of Thomas, who defined my youth, and the brilliance of Shooter. OK, Shooter – by a fraction of a hair’s breadth…

A tough decision because I LOVED Roger Stern as Avengers writer… but the Korvac Saga is my favourite thing ever in the Avengers, so I went with Shooter.

Very, very tough. I love Silver and Bronze Age Marvel, so I’ve got a fondness for Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart. I think both had some out-of-the park hits and some misses as well.
When you boil it down, Englehart’s best issues are probably those collected in the Celestial Madonna trade paperback.
Thomas probably has a longer list of successes – Kree Skrull War, the Olympus War, the introduction of The Vision, the Masters of Evil issues with Jarvis as the villain, bringing Black Knight on board for a while.
Stern and Harras were the creators I grew up with. I’ve read their runs as an adult and think they still hold up well.
In defense of Harras – Yes, his run has all the trappings of the 1990s. The jackets, a more “violent” team, internal debates over whether its appropriate for heroes to kill.
And yet much of his run, at least when Steve Epting was artist, contains some classic comicbook storytelling and the kind of stuff you’d expect from The Avengers.
Operation: Galactic Storm really was a great, space epic. And I thought the rift over killing the Supreme Intelligence was well-handled. The subsequent battles with surviving Kree soldiers out for revenge were handled well.
The whole Proctor storyline was chock full of comic stereotypes – Sersi goes bad, the love triangle between Sersi, the Black Knight and Crystal, the dark alternate versions of The Avengers – but I’d say it’s far more entertaining than most of what Bendis has written over the last several years.
The Bloodties cross over with X-Men I also thought was a fun storyline.
I also credit Harras/Epting with transforming the horrible “Avengers bunker” that had taken the place of the mansion. If you look carefully, Epting often drew the interior with elegant and homey rooms. You’d never know it wasn’t the original mansion, which to me is as much a character in the series as the actual team members.
I think Harras’ run would be more fondly remembered if he’d left the book following these storylines rather than hung around for the controversial The Crossing. I will admit that I was riveted by The Crossing but it is looking back the weakest storyline of the era.

Well, as far as kewl, edgy 1990’s runs go, Bob Harras was not bad, not bad at all. When you compare him to the monstrosity of deFalco’s FF run, it looks even better.

The thing I liked about Bob Harras’s run was that he used the right strategy to make the team “darker.” Instead of working with classic Avengers and force them to fit a grim and gritty mold like deFalco tried with the FF, Harras handpicked those members that already had a certain edge to them. Black Widow had been established since her first appearances as the one Avenger most willing to kill. The Black Knight carried a sword and spent time in the Crusades. Hercules had lived in mythological times were people killed people in battle. Sersi always had a certain amorality to her. The new Vision had already been established as lacking human emotion. etc.

I can’t say Harras is a favorite. I much prefer everybody else in the list (except Bendis). But I think he is not as bad as people say. Except for the Crossing. THAT was bad.

Hey Brian!

You left of Waid again! What have you got against the guy! :-)

As much as i love Waid’s writing, he wrote the book for what, two/three issues? With horrible artwork & teenage Tony.

My vote is between Stern [my 1st Avengers writer] and Busiek [my favorite writer]. Both are great at writing team books, so i’m gonna havta ponder sumore.


Mark knows I love him.

As for Avengers, while I know you’re kidding, I believe Mark was just hired to write strictly those three issues, so he was never really even the “regular” writer on the book.

Spider Jerusalem

February 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm

No Slott? I am disappoint.

Busiek, hands down.

Not sure why Bendis is on the list, though. Despite the titles of his books, he’s never written the Avengers. Just his same, one-note character* talking to himself in Marvel super-hero drag.

(*No, I don’t mean characters…I mean character. No matter whose mouth the words come out of, they all have the same “voice.”)

But, that’s just me.

Busiek, whenver I think of the Avengers it’s his run that I always go back too even though I have a soft spot for Harras Avengers run.

Hey Brian,

i’m glad that i could make you laugh! Thanks for running these polls!


Read a little of each, except Harras. Englehart really created the story structures that we take for granted, especially concerning team vs. team stories. Avengers/Defenders and his Avengers/Squadron Supreme in Serpent Crown are the best team vs. team stories ever, and Swordsman’s story arc is one of my favorite character arcs in comics. Mantis really brings him down though. I’m surprised to see Avengers fans dislike Bendis so much (sarcasm) but I like his run. Usually the ends of his stories are weak, and I’ll never buy Wolverine as an Avenger, and the padding to make a trade makes most comics weaker, but I really I like his additions (Echo, Spider-Woman, Ares) over Busiek’s (Silverclaw, Triathalon, Justice, Firestar), and his dialogue is good. Someone said it’s all one character, it’s just one style. How many older comics have similar long-winded exposition dialogue? I’ll take Bendis’s occasionally hilarious and more realistic dialogue and weak battle scenes over Busiek’s good structure but terrible narration most days of the week.

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