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Stan Lee is a man who needs no introduction. Nevertheless: Having begun his career with wartime Timely Comics and staying the course throughout the Atlas era, Stan the Man made comic-book history with Fantastic Four #1, harbinger of a bold new perspective in story writing that endures to this day. With some of the industry's greatest artists, he introduced hero after hero in Incredible Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men and more -- forming a shared universe for rival publishers to measure themselves against. After an almost literal lifetime of writing and editing, Lee entered new entertainment fields and earned Marvel one opportunity after another. He remains one of Marvel's best-known public representatives.
This masterwork volume is typical of the breed as they are turned out nowadays. Collection editor Cory Sedlmeier turns out a first rate product, reproducing 12 issues in 240 pages. Reproduction is quite good, as usual. The only thing in the way of bonus material is the cover of the all reprint Captain America King Size Special #1.
Gene Colan is the penciller for all 12 issues. What makes this volume of artistic interest, as well as hit or miss, is the 5 different inkers that worked on these issues. All seem to have their merits inking Colan with the exception, to my tastes, of Dick Ayers who just doesn't seem to mesh well with Colan. Unfortunately, for me he inked 6 of the issues in this book.
There was only one writer as well, the redoubtable Stan Lee. Lee seems to be in a bit of a quandary about how to best use Captain America. The spy craze which led to his use as a Shield agent had run its course. Sales were declining across the boards in the early '70s so Lee was constrained to one or two issue stories to make them more new reader friendly. After a stint on the road Cap finally decides to team up with the Falcon to tackle more socially relevant problems. Lee handles this transition fairly well. While none of the stories are real gems they are consistently entertaining and read quickly. Indeed, I had just finished Strange Tales Masterwork 3 and it takes much more time to read an issue of the latter than the former.
There is also a nice 2 page introduction by Bruce Canwell.
Again, not Cap's strongest stories but recommended to fans of the character and to comics of this period in general.
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