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CSBG Archive

50 Greatest Avengers Stories: #50-41

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45. “Darker Than Scarlet” Avengers West Coast #56-57, 60-62

John Byrne had been building to a long Scarlet Witch storyline, where the Avenger was manipulated by Immortus to becoming his weapon against the Time Lords (as Scarlet Witch’s reality-altering powers could mess with time itself), but Byrne left the book in a dispute with Marvel editorial after just two issues of the storyline (earlier issues had set up the mental fragility of Scarlet Witch, as she lost her husband and discovered that she had used her powers to create her children), as Scarlet Witch debuts a new look and a new evil personality. This all turns out to be just the effects of Immortus’ influence. Inker Paul Ryan took over pencils upon Byrne’s departure and Roy and Dann Thomas took over writing duties, finishing the story ROUGHLY the same way Byrne was intending to end it (well, the Immortus using Scarlet Witch as a pawn part, at least – everything else was different).

44. “Siege” Siege #1-4

This mini-series drew to a conclusion both specifically the Dark Reign over-arching storyline, where Norman Osborn took control of SHIELD and made true superheroes have to fear for their safety, as well as more generally bringing to a close a rough period in the Marvel Universe, with Civil War, Secret Invasion and the dearth of Captain America. In this series, Steve Rogers has returned and he reunites with Iron Man and Thor and the good Marvel heroes to defeat Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers once and for all, including Osborn’s secret weapon, Sentry, who has given himself over to his evil side, the Void. This was the launch of the Heroic Age. It was written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Olivier Coipel and Mark Morales.

43. “Red Zone” Avengers Vol. 3 #65-70

In this epic by Geoff Johns, Olivier Coipel and Andy Lanning, a mysterious red dust is killing people in the middle of America. The Avengers try to stop the deadly dust while discovering that the whole thing was orchestrated by the Red Skull, who has infiltrated the highest level of the U.S. government and is trying to topple the United States government in a sick attempt to make over the country in his image! Can the two Avengers the Skull hates the most, Black Panther and Falcon, stop him?

42. “Absolute Vision” Avengers #251-254

After Secret Wars, the Vision (who had been severely injured during a crossover with the Fantastic Four) recovered and asked to be made leader of the Avengers. He made some sweeping changes, including the installation of a SECOND Avengers team (meant to be the first of many) in California, leading to the West Coast Avengers. As it turned out, all of these moves were part of an overall plan to take over the world for its own protection. Naturally, the Avengers took issue with this and had to take on their own teammate (who, as it turned out, was not quite himself). Bob Hall, Joe Sinnott, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey and Joe Rubinstein drew this story and Roger Stern wrote it.

41. “His Name is Yellowjacket” Avengers #59-60

Roy Thomas, John Buscema, George Klein and Mike Esposito introduced us to Hank Pym’s newest superhero identity, Yellowjacket. They also introduced the concept of Hank Pym being a little mentally unstable, a concept that has been used frequently in the years since. Hank marries his longtime girlfriend, Janet Van Dyne, the Winsome Wasp, in this story.

That’s the first ten! Check back every day to see the rest of the list!

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33 Comments

“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.
J.M.

@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.
J.M.

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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