50 Greatest Avengers Stories: #6-4
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!
Each day will have five more stories on the countdown (eventually I think it’ll get to three stories a day). Here is a master list of every story featured so far. Here are #6-4!
6. “Behold, the Vision!”/”Even an Android Can Cry” Avengers Volume 1 #57-58
These two issues are a master class on comic book storytelling, as first we meet the mysterious Vision, then see him fight the Avengers, then see him betray his master, Ultron, and save the Avengers. This then leads to the classic story “Even an Android Can Cry” where the Avengers consider the artificial being for membership in the team. His reaction to the news confirms the title of the story. Roy Thomas did the story and John Buscema and George Klein did the art (plus a little work from Marie Severin). This is the story that has the classic “Ozymandias” ending with Ultron’s head that blew the minds of many a young comic book reader at the time.
5. “Avengers Forever” Avengers Forever #1-12
Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino delivered this time-travel classic that relied on a unique team of Avengers plucked from the past, present and future, who have to take on Immortus and the Time Keepers, a powerful group that has been manipulating the Avengers for years. Each member of the team is chosen at a very specific moment, from Captain America being at the peak of his strength but at the nadir of his confidence to Hank Pym at both his then-present status and also from when he first became Yellowjacket, this was a unlikely collection of Avengers and their journey would take them across space and time to fight for the destiny of Earth itself.
4. “Ultron Unlimited” Avengers Volume 3 #19-22
The concept of the storyline (written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by George Perez and Al Vey) is that Ultron IX has decided that he does not want to simply wipe out humans from Earth – he wants to repopulate the world with his own people: robots. He begins this attempt in horrific fashion as he enters the small European country of Slorenia and proceeds to slaughter the entire human population in three hours. He sends a message to the horrified public watching at home – do not come into this county or suffer the same fate.
Meanwhile, he has also kidnapped the Avengers that he considers “family” and intends to use their brainwaves to base his new world population of robots on, much like the way he earlier based his intended robot bride Jocasta on Wasp’s brainwaves, the android Vision on the brainwaves of Wonder Man and the robot Alkhema on the brainwaves of Mockingbird.
It is during this story that we learn for the first time something that probably should have been evident to readers earlier (it’s somewhat surprising it took decades until Busiek came up the concept), which is that Ultron’s mind was based on the brainwaves of his creator, Hank Pym, who happens to be among the Avengers kidnapped by Ultron.
The Avengers ultimately decide to invade Slorenia, resulting in many interesting battles within the country as the small band of heroes seem to be overmatched by Ultron’s apparently unending supply of robot drones (hence the “Unlimited” part of the story’s title). During the course of this war, the Avengers have to face off against all the earlier Ultrons, each of whom was enough to fight them to a standstill in previous years.
Ultron is quite confident that his minions are more than enough to defeat the Avengers. That same confidence leads to one of the coolest dramatic entrances ever (and winner of a Wizard Award that year for Best Moment) when the Avengers burst into Ultron’s lair, looking quite ragged, with Thor speaking for the entire team when he declares “Ultron, we would have words with thee!”
This turns the tide, and ultimately, Hank Pym is able to redeem himself and save the day.