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Essential Avengers, Vol. 2 (Marvel Essentials) Paperback – June 1, 2000

3.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 2 of 7 in the Essential Avengers Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; Revised edition edition (June 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078510741X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785107415
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The second volume reprinting this comic series is a bit of a mixed bag - the stories are of a fairly variable quality, some great, some quite poor, and the overall impression is of something moving along with no real plan.
I guess what we have here is fundamental proof that Stan Lee, at the height of his powers, had his limits - while turning out great stories in Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, this title suffered. Stan even appeared to realise that as, part of the way through this volume, a new writer was brought in: Roy Thomas.
Roy has shown himself to be a great writer of this form, but his first few stories don't really show him at his best. I believe that this was amongst his first published work.
On the plus side, however, the characterisation improves vastly, with some of the cast becoming easily distinguishable by their dialogue alone, a vast improvement from the period where all the characters spoke the same.
Not a showcase of the greatest Avengers issues, but of a period of transition. Things were better before this, and also improve after.
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Reprinting Avengers 25-46 and King Size Special #1, "Essential Avengers vol. 2" is something of a mixed bag. Stan Lee hands over the reins to Roy Thomas at approximately the midway point in the collection, which is a slight improvement as Thomas injects some fresh blood into a project which clearly held Lee's interest only flaggingly at the end. Don Heck's art looks uniformly execrable throughout, so John Buscema coming on board for the last third or so is a very welcome change indeed.
The scripts themselves are uneven. While the initial bickering amongst the team is fairly interesting (if only to hear Captain America, a product of the 40s, exchanging barbs with Hawkeye in perfect 60s tough-guy patois), the team soon begins to emit affirmations of hero-worship to each other like a couple of natural-born bootlickers at a Promise Keepers rally ("You're the man!" "No, you're the man!" <hug>)
The initial promise of Goliath's being trapped at the freakish height of 10 feet tall is squandered within a few issues, Hercules joins the team in an apparent attempt to bring Stan Lee's lofty dialogue back, the Wasp is her usual irrelevant self, and Captain America, the born leader, fails miserably to control the team and needs Goliath to straighten it out.
The issues do build some momentum, and classic battles with the Super-Adaptoid and the Whizzer rekindle the old magic of the Avengers.
Even with all the aforementioned flaws, this collection of the Avengers still beats most of the stuff on the newsstand and in the comics shops today.
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Volume 2 of "The Essential Avengers" marks the point where the pendulum started to center for the series and Roy Thomas and John Buscema took over from Stan Lee and Don Heck. The Avengers started out as a group of super strong super heroes including the Mighty Thor, the Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man. This proved to be rather problematic with coming up with super villains who could plausibly give this group a stand up fight. So then the group went in the completely opposite direction and came up with a skill quartet of Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. That lasted until issue #28 when Giant Man came back (now called Goliath), bringing along the Wasp. This not only gave the new Avengers some muscle, but with Henry Pym back in the fold the group had its requisite scientist for those times when brains can help brawn and the ability to throw a shield, shoot an arrow, run really fast, or cast hexes. Then for brawn without the brains, Hercules joins the group.

Collected in Volume 2 are "The Avengers" #25-46 and Annual #1, which brings together the "original" Avengers with the Avengers of "today," against the Mandarin, Power Man, the Living Laser, the Swordsman, the Enchantress, and the Executioner. Thomas took over as writer with issue #35 and Buscema takes over as the primary artist with issue #41. The artistic improvement is obvious, especially for someone such as myself who was never enamored of Don Heck's artwork, but the more significant changes are coming from the writing. It was Thomas who brought Hercules into the mix, which upped the ante on the bickering in the group.
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Good stories ruined by not only having the color drained out- but even more black ink added on top of the art to obscure the line work- hopefully you'll be able to get color reprints of these stories instead on better paper with strong binding.
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Format: Paperback
This book marks some turning points for the Avengers, collecting Issues 25-46 and the First Annual. It sees Stan Lee's departure as writer after Issue 34 (replaced by Roy Thomas) and Artist Don Heck is replaced by John Buscema in Issue 41.

The Avengers team changes, though mostly through addition. It begins with a team of Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch. In the course of the book, GoTliath (formerly Ant Man), and the Wasp are added to the line-up as well as Hercules, though Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch leave in the middle when the powers are on the wane,.

The feuding between Captain America and Hawkeye comes to an end thankfully. When Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch leave and are replaced by Goliath and the Wasp, he figures he has no chance of gaining leadership of the Avengers plus he seems to have developed a genuine respect for Captain America. He still manages to push back and challenge every other male to come on the team including Goliath and Hercules who could tear him apart.

This book also reprints the origin of the Ant Man from Tales to Astonish #27 and that's because Henry Pym plays such a "big" role in the book. He goes through a period where he can't shrink at all and is 10 feet tall and becomes the real muscle on the team prior to Hercules joining the team. He also takes on a leadership role when Cap has to disappear to deal with a long adventure in his own book. Pym is a central character and this has to got to be a high point for Pym in the role of Goliath.

Overall, the book has two big moments. The first is the first appearance of the Sons of the Serpents in Issues 32 and 33 and they make a great appearance as a sort of extension of the hatemonger character. Then, the Annual #1 is written by Roy Thomas.
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