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CSBG Archive

50 Greatest Avengers Stories: #50-41

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In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Avengers, we’re doing a poll of the greatest Avengers stories of all-time! You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 50 Greatest Avengers Stories!

We’ll do 10 this first day and then go to five each day from here on out (until we get towards the end, when it’ll probably get down to 3 a day). Here is a master list of every story featured so far.


50. “The Sentinels Are Alive and Well” Avengers #102-104

Roy Thomas continues his Sentinels story from the pages of X-Men with the Sentinels (who had left for the Sun at the end of their last appearance in X-Men, since the radiation from the sun was viewed as the source of all mutations) returning to Earth to continue their crusade to rid the world of mutants. While the Avengers battle the Sentinels (who have captured Scarlet Witch), Scarlet Witch’s brother, Quicksilver, splits from the team to find Larry Trask to help stop the Sentinels on his own. They all end up in a battle in Australia. In the end, the revelation that the leader of the Sentinels has, himself, been mutated by the sun’s radiation, stops the Sentinel’s plans. The Avengers go home, not knowing that an injured Quicksilver was still there! This leads to Quicksilver’s animosity towards the Avengers, which lasted for years. Rich Buckler and Joe Sinnott drew the story arc.

49. “Deliver Us From…The Masters of Evil!” Avengers #54-55

In this classic two-parter by Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Georges Tuska and Klein (the latter two each inked one issue apiece), the Avengers are betrayed by their own butler, Edwin Jarvis! This story would be referenced many times over the years, as it was pretty much the introduction of Jarvis as he was betraying the team (yes, he had made earlier appearances, but never to this extent). This storyline, which introduced a new Masters of Evil, also saw the introduction of their secretive boss – the malevolent robot, Ultron!

48. “The Contest” West Coast Avengers Annual #2/Avengers Annual #16

Steve Englehart and Tom DeFalco (with a host of artists, primarily Al Milgrom, Bob Hall and Tom Palmer) came up with this delightful crossover story where both Avengers teams end up fighting against each other as part of a contest between the Grandmaster and Death itself. The West Coast team wins on behalf of the Grandmaster, which allows the Grandmaster to take control of Death. Now the Avengers have to combine to take on an army of the dead with the fate of the universe in the balance. In the end, only Hawkeye and Captain America survive. They soon learn that they are now going to have to fight all of the dead heroes AGAIN, but now also all of their just-deceased teammates! Hawkeye comes up with an alternate solution. He bets the fate of the universe on a simple game of chance with the Grandmaster. The Grandmaster agrees but Hawkeye wins! As it turns out, though, with the fate of the universe on the line, what more can you expect from a former carny but Hawkeye CHEATING to win!

47. “The Trial” Avengers #160

The Grim Reaper captures the Avengers and then insists that they hold a trial to see who is the REAL Simon Williams. The Vision or the newly resurrected Wonder Man? Black Panther serves as defense counsel in this compelling, character driven one-off story by Jim Shooter, George Perez and Pablo Marcos.

46. “The Last Avengers Story” The Last Avengers Story #1-2

In this dark prestige format two-parter by Peter David and Ariel Olivetti set decades in the future, Ultron decides he wants a final showdown against the Avengers. First he nukes the current team of Avengers, killing them all. This forces a retired Hank Pym to put together a team of veteran heroes plus some of the kids of former Avengers to make a final stand against Ultron, but Kang chooses this moment to also get HIS last licks in, as well! As noted earlier, it is a really dark story, but David does strong work with the characterizations of all the heroes involved, making the bleakness resonate without being too depressing.

Go to the next page for #45-41!

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“The Contest” was probably the first Avengers story I ever read. Still like it and it’s probably why I like Hawkeye so much.

I have the Annuals story, the Byrne story, Siege, and Red Zone (except part 1). Red Zone was good and the Byrne story was okay (I like the the kidnapping of the Scarlet Witch and the return of the Torch best out of Byrne’s run).

I might reread the annuals to see what I think of them.

Surprised to see the Annuals story on the list. I had it at #8 on my list but didn’t know if anyone else was a fan. Last Avengers Story almost made my list. It would have been in my top 15. I like all the others except for Siege, which I only read parts of since I hated pretty much all of Bendis’ run. Unfortunately I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty more of him to come. Red Zone was a pretty good story, but really suffers from the prevalent “Writing for the Trade” trend that every Marvel title went by at that point. It’s a 3 or 4 issue story very clearly padded out into 6.

The first Avengers comic I picked up was #150. Cool cover and cool story.

Got all of these but the last avengers Bt David.I ws a reader from issue one ,but it took issue 54 to hook me as a monthly buyer.Remember cutting the comic add by Rogarsky out to send for his price list, so, theres a copy out there with hawkeyes face cut out.Took 15 years to replace this book.

It’s funny, half my list I’m pretty sure won’t be on this list, and half I’m pretty sure will be. But it’ll be interesting to see if the CSBG mob loves some of the same stuff I do.

None of these were in my top 10, but it makes me smile to see all the old-school Roy Thomas and Jim Shooter stuff popping up. I have fond memories of those Englehart and Stern stories, too.

If it makes you feel any better buttler, there were two Marvel Adventures Avengers stories on my list, including my number one selection. I feel your pain.

A lot of classic stories already.

Ookerdookers has totally decoded my comment. And yeah, my list was almost half Marvel Adventures Avengers stories, because they’re freaking awesome. Glad to hear I’m not alone.

Absolute Vision is my favorite of these ten, though I loved John Byrne’s WCA as a kid. Byrne’s evil Scarlet Witch was more convincing than Bendis’ though I suspect Avengers Disassembled will rate higher on this list.

Some fun stories here. I wonder if the Jim Shooter haters will note that Byrne’s fight with Marvel editorial here was 3 years after Shooter left the company or continue to flack the line the Shooter drove Byrne from Marvel?

I’m not a huge fan of Johns “Red Zone” arc, but it’s not terrible. Coipel wasn’t yet realizing his full abilities either, IMHO. (I’m a huge fan of Coipel now, but this wasn’t his best work, IMHO) Love seeing the first of what I assume is many Roger Stern’s writing here; he’s a GREAT Avengers writer, as good as anyone, IMHO.

The Trial is a nice one-off, and I LOVE the cover. Tell me that wouldn’t get you to pick it up!

I like the Annuals 2-parter, it’s a fun story and a good use of the Annual format. (I have to say, I love the color scheme on the Mark VI armor, but the shoulder pads and bullethead never were that exciting for me)

The Crazed Spruce

June 22, 2013 at 1:34 am

I was planning to submit a ballot, but never got around to putting a list down on paper. If I had, though, “Darker Than Scarlet” would’ve been on it. (Not very high, though, ’cause I wasn’t really happy with the status-quo ending. Maybe 8 or 9 at best.)

Can’t really speak for any of the others because I haven’t read any of them. I have GOT to get one of those “Essential” collections one of these days….

“The Sentinels Are Alive and Well” is the first Avengers story I ever read! Great memories.

Glad to see lots of Thomas/Buscema love…sadly I couldn’t fit too much of them on my list. Very glad to see the Trial, or pretty much any Shooter representation…he got lots of votes on my list but I couldn’t fit this particular issue in.

I vaguely remember that Annuals story as being both charming, classic comic-book fun and hilariously ridiculous.

The fun was seeing one-on-one battles and keeping score of the outcome (always fun) and seeing so many classic dead characters come back. Kind of sad to see so many of those characters featured (Green Goblin, Bucky) actually never died, which sort of renders the story moot (anyone try to retcon that?).

The hilariously ridiculous aspect was, if I recall correctly, doesn’t one of the Avengers arch-foes (is it Collector or Grandmaster himself?) convince one team that the only way to rescue their teammates from Death’s realm was to kill themselves and go get them? And they do it? Kill themselves?

That’s the most fiendishly simple plot to off your (gullible) enemies ever! Luckily this turned out to be the one-in-a-million situation where mass suicide was the right thing to do.

good start… one of my picks so far (the Sentinels one….I loved Buckler’s art on it)
(I expect most or all of the other 9 are higher placed though a couple of 3-parters may fall short..will have to wait and see)
Yellowjacket and the Masters of Evil would have probably made my top 20

Patrick Hamilton

June 22, 2013 at 6:42 pm

@dhole: you are correct. I believe the West Coast team kills themselves to go after the dead East Coasters (I think La Espirita was the only one who didn’t die).

Just reread 160. Great art and amazing the complexity of the story telling in a single issue. Action, character, development, tension, and moves the Avengers mythos regarding Wonder Man and Vision forward. A couple books on my list, but will have to dig out the annuals.

“Red Zone” has one of my fave moments as Skull looks out at the Washingon Mounument, talking of how he’s going to remake America in his image…and the window smashes in to show a pissed-off Cap. “Skull. Don’t you DARE salute that flag!”

Absolute Vision was on my list. Cool.

However, Siege was awful and Red Zone may have been worse.

Oh well.

Maybe they meant “Under Siege,” which is awesome, but in which case it would be ranked way too low here,

Wait, how is that Steven Seagal movie an Avengers story? I’m so confused!

Captain Haddock

June 24, 2013 at 9:47 am

I have to say that considering we had Steve Rogers and Bucky during Siege, I doubt we really had DEARTH of Captain America, if anything we had a surfeit.

…I’m being a smartass cause there’s a typo in the blurb for siege.

The Trial & The Sentinals Strike, How did I forget those, Great stories

@Dhole: Retconning the Goblin’s presence is easy. I just read the story about two weeks ago and noticed that the Goblin has no dialogue, meaning it could be one of the numerous folks who donned the costume after Norman Osborne. Bucky is more problematic, but I then just imagine to that scene where the Wasp is playing slots in Death’s casino, trying to come back to like. I’m figuring James Buchannan Barnes came up with three diamonds and “was never dead.”

I remember the “wicked” scarlet witch storyline. I think it was the first time she was used as a fallen hero (understanding that she had a short run on the original brotherhood of evil mutants).
Does anyone know what was the intended orignal ending that Byrne planned?

Does anyone know what was the intended orignal ending that Byrne planned?

The ending was the same, but just how they got there was a lot different.

Here is an old Comic Book Legends Revealed on the topic.

That’s a pretty interesting interpretation of it being the same ending… unless you just mean “The Avengers won in the end and Wanda didn’t stay a villain forever.”

That’s a pretty interesting interpretation of it being the same ending… unless you just mean “The Avengers won in the end and Wanda didn’t stay a villain forever.”

Yep, that’s it. Both versions end with Immortus turning out to be the big bad guy who is manipulating Scarlet Witch. They stop him and she goes back to being a hero. They just got to that point in wildly different ways.

But that’s like saying that Operation: Galactic Storm and Maximum Security had the same ending: The Earth was save from the aliens, they just got to that point in different ways.

@Brian Cronin. I just read the plot summary. It was quite different and little cliche, but alternate timelines are always a little cliche (undeground resistance? character outside timespace?). I would love Byrne to really finish his storyline.

@Brian Cronin. I just read the plot summary. It was quite different and little cliche, but alternate timelines are always a little cliche (undeground resistance? character outside timespace?). I would love Byrne to really finish his storyline.

Yeah, it would be nice to do, like, a West Coast Avengers Forever or whatever. I don’t think Byrne is interested in working for Marvel, though.

@Brian Cronin. Well. He´s Byrne, remember? His ego is greater than a planet.

I shouldn’t subject myself to this, but okay. My thoughts on these picks:

50. Solid story, a cool double splash page with the Sentinels is pretty much the highlight. Just okay for me.
49. An all-time classic. great story. I’m surprised this isn’t higher on the list. Really one of the best.
48. A personal favorite of mine. Blew my mind as a kid. I love these issues.
47. Another classic with some awesome art. Great pick. Probably should be higher.
46. Eh. This is just okay for me. The art is aggressively ugly. The story is intentionally uglier. Not bad, but not my thing.
45. Bad. Byrne is just trying to rehash the Dark Phoenix Saga, only without Claremont and Shooter’s “interference.” To get there, he did his own Disassembled on the team (literally in the case of Vision) and unveiled his own weird sexual fantasies. Not to mention finally outed himself as one of the biggest d-bags in comics. I went from a big Byrne fan to a lifelong Byrne hater thanks in large part to this storyline.
44. I assume we are collectively being trolled on this pick, because honestly. This is terrible nonsense.
43. Just okay for me. I have never quite understood the love for this story some people have. But it’s not bad.
42. Good stuff. Very interesting use of Vision. Sadly it set the stage for the treacly Englehart Vision and Scarlet Witch limited series, but that’s not the fault of this story.
41. Very fun arc. Thomas and Buscema turned out some of the best superhero comics of all time. Avengers #51-60 is among Marvel’s most innovative and important runs. This one has some logic issues, of course, but Yellowjacket is a great design.

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