For the month of February, we’ve been doing something special here at Biff Bam Pop! Each week our writers and correspondents will be compiling lists of their favorite things. As the resident Avengers guy here, I thought I’d let you all know what I think are my favorite Avengers stories, closing out this special month here at Biff Bam Pop!, after the jump.
There are lots of great Avengers adventures, and many better stories, greatest battles, and more exciting epics, but let me stress, these are my personal favorites. There were many runners-up, including “Ultron Unlimited” and JLA/Avengers, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Just the fact that four of the five are from the 1970s, and three of them are by the same writer, should cement the fact that these are favorites, and to a certain extent, guilty pleasures.
Marvel’s The Avengers
This one is just a fanboy wet dream, pardon the language, but I never thought that in my lifetime I would see an Avengers movie, and never would I have expected it would be nearly perfect, a movie I loved, and one of the biggest blockbusters in film history. What more could I ask? How about a sequel? Oh yeah, can’t wait!
The Celestial Madonna Saga
While Kurt Busiek’s “Kang Dynasty” and Avengers Forever come very close, this story, told over the time span of literally years – quite possibly from Mantis’ first appearance in Avengers #112 to her departure in Giant-Size Avengers #4 – is the ultimate Kang the Conqueror epic. Not only does it spotlight the origins of the Vision and Mantis, as well as the universe itself, here the Avengers first battle the Legion of the Unliving, Kang fights Rama-Tut, and murders the Swordsman. Long term storytelling at its best by writer Steve Englehart.
The Serpent Crown Saga
This was Englehart’s follow-up to the Celestial Madonna saga, with a brand new team of Avengers (the Beast, Hellcat, Moondragon, Yellowjacket and the Wasp!), the return of Captain America, and a battle royale with the Squadron Supreme, even Kang and the heroes of the wild west are in there too. Have I mentioned that Steve Englehart is my favorite Avengers writer?
The Avengers/Defenders Clash
Happening within the confines of my number four slot, the Celestial Madonna saga, this is the prototype for crossovers and superhero battles for decades to come. Told over the space of a summer, alternating from each title, the Avengers clashed with the Defenders over the Evil Eye, while manipulated by their arch-foes Dormammu and Loki. Superhero vs. superhero stories don’t get better than this, and for me, all such stories are held to this example.
The Nefaria Trilogy
This three issue epic during Jim Shooter’s first run on Avengers to me is the best story ever. Count Nefaria manipulates a new Lethal legion into battling the Avengers, and in doing so gains unreal superhuman powers himself. He attacks the Avengers and beats them soundly, finally dropping a building on them. This was pre-9-11, and before it happened every other event in the Marvel Universe. Drawn by John Byrne for the first time, we see how the Avengers work as a unit, and what each member brings to the team.
There are wonderful moments. The Wasp showing real power for the first time, Captain America giving Wonder Man his shield, Thor making a last minute appearance and bringing the thunder, Yellowjacket bringing the Vision back to life to fight Nefaria… I could go on. This is a near perfect Avengers story, full of suspense, triumph, and fantastic superhero action, and you will boo the villains and cheer the heroes. And isn’t that we all want in superhero comics?