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Avengers: The Contest Paperback – May 30, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: Avengers
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; First Edition edition (May 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785161996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785161998
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,334,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Steirer on February 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Avengers: The Contest collects the 1982 three-issue mini-series Contest of Champions as well as West Coast Avengers Annual #2 and Avengers Annual #16, both from 1987. As with other Marvel Premiere Edition hard covers, production quality is high: the paper is archival quality, colors are bright, and the boards are in black (faux-)leather with green foil-stamps. Extras include an amusing Introduction by Tom Defalco (originally published in the 1999 edition of The Contest), a "complete list" of every Marvel superhero "alive" in 1982 (originally published at the back of the original mini-series), and a couple pages of additional cover art.

Story-wise, this collection is a bit of a mess. Originally intended as a tie-in to the 1980 Olympics, the opening story pits superheros of different nationalities against each other in a somewhat nonsensical contest staged by Death and The Grandmaster. The plot makes little sense and suffers an extraordinary error: the authors accidentally assign the winning point to the wrong team. Defalco acknowledges the error in his introduction, but his commentary only furthers the impression that Contest of Champions was a cheap and contrived mini-series. The two Annuals offer up a sequel in which Death and the Grandmaster stage yet another contest. No mistakes crop up in this one, but the contest itself is much harder to follow.

The art is good, though not particularly noteworthy. A very young John Romita Jr. pencils the first story. An assortment of artists pencil the two annuals. There's some pleasure to be had from seeing your favorite superheros battle regardless of the hokey premise. Unfortunately, many of the competing superheros are rather obscure (Shamrock anyone?), so there's less of that kind of pleasure than you might expect.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
MARVEL SUPER HERO CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS came out in 1982 and has got bragging rights as the first ever limited series published by Marvel. It'll dawn on you just about right away that Jim Shooter lifted this premise for his own SECRET WARS project. And, fine, CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS isn't as good as SECRET WARS.

What had happened was... Death and the universe's ultimate gamesman, who calls himself the Grandmaster, embark on a wager and gather the entirety of Earth's supply of superheroes to use as their play pawns. With the world's population held in thrall under animated suspension, the heroes are forced to comply. The rules go as such: Something called the Golden Globe of Life has been broken up into four segments and scattered to the winds. Death and Grandmaster each select four teams, each team comprising three heroes. These teams compete to gather as many of the Globe's pieces. So, twelve superheroes versus twelves superheroes.

Bit of trivia... This story, in another form, was originally slated to be the "MARVEL SUPERHEROES AT THE SUMMER OLYMPICS" Treasury Edition, Marvel's intended tie-in for the 1980 Summer Olympics, before the U.S. boycotted. It sat on the shelf for a two years until some bright boy (Mark Gruenwald?) got the idea of retro-shaping it into - ta-daaa! - THE CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS.

The overriding draw is, of course, the gazillion heroes cooling their heels in the same room (in this case, a stadium orbiting in space) and later taking on each other (some of them, anyway). There must've been a hell of a charge in first witnessing that double spread page inhabited by EVERY FRIGGIN" SUPERHERO in Marvel! I have no doubt that this canvas of crowded gave George Perez a nutter, wherever he was at the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William R. Robesky on April 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I feel like Marvel dropped the ball with this whole story. The concept comes off as convoluted and forced. There are dozens of throw away characters here that were never seen from again. In fact the editors can't even keep track of them and it actually ruins the plot. I also hate the old plot prop of making heroes fight without any context, literally every fight in this book is done in this manner. The characters do that spoken plot dialog to try and keep you involved, but really there is no substance here. This was really just Marvel's practice run at a crossover before the Secret Wars. On the other hand the book is beautiful and looks real nice on my shelf with the rest of my collection.... where it will stay.
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Format: Paperback
"The Contest" collects three "Contest of Champions" comics from 1982 and a pair of annuals from later in the 1980s. Despite being billed as an "Avengers" comic, the "Contest of Champions" comics feature several other heroes.

Heroes battling each other might seem typical now but, in the 1980s, it was an innovative concept. The "Contest of Champions" was an interesting idea with every superhero in the Marvel universe sharing the same stage but only a handful of them get the limelight. Some of the most prominent heroes (Spiderman for example) get little attention while obscure international heroes like Shamrock, Arabian Knight and Sabra get the limelight. It's annoying to say the least and the story is not memorable in the slightest.

The other comics feature the Avengers battling the West Coast Avengers before both teams join up to battle a team of dead heroes and villains. There are some interesting moments here with a little bit of the focus on Hawkeye and, to a lesser extent, Captain America. These comics are much better and more engaging despite some flaws. There are some interesting notes and a solid introduction.

While not the most epic of works, the comics collected here are fun if not exactly memorable. Marvel fans from the 1980s should like the book but its appeal will not extend much beyond them.
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