ACTS OF VENGEANCE CROSSOVERS OMNIBUS (Marvel, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Alpha Flight Nos. 79, 80, Damage Control Nos. 1-4, Daredevil Nos. 275, 276, Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme Nos. 11-13, Fantastic Four Nos. 334-336, Incredible Hulk No. 363, Marc Spector: Moon Knight Nos. 8-10, New Mutants Nos. 84-86, Power Pack No. 53, Punisher Nos. 28, 29, Punisher War Journal Nos. 12, 13, Uncanny X-Men Nos. 256-258, Web of Spider-Man Nos. 64, 65, Wolverine Nos. 19, 20, and the Apocalypse back-up story from X-Factor No. 50 (cover dates December, 1989- June, 1990).
Writers: Walter Simonson, Archie Goodwin, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Peter David, Mike Baron, Carl Potts, Chuck Dixon, Ann Nocenti, Terry Austin, James D. Hundall, Louise Simonson, Chris Claremont, Dwayne McDuffie, and Gerry Conway.
Artists: Rich Buckler, Ron Lim, John Byrne, Jackson Guice, Jeff Purves, Jim Lee, Ernie Colon, Rob Liefeld, Paul Smith, Alex Saviuk, Mike DeCarlo, Klaus Janson, Marie Severin, Mark Farmer, Al Milgrom, Tom Palmer, Al Williamson, Bret Blevins, Bob Wiaceck, Joseph Rubinstein, and others.
I really enjoyed the core of this crossover which was collected in the Acts of Vengeance Omnibus. This book collects the odds and ends of the event, including the “epilogue” battle between Graviton, Brothers Grimm, Goliath, Thundra, and Trapster against Spider-Man in Web of Spider-Man Nos. 64 and 65. Marvel really caters to the completist rather than the mythological mainstream bookstore buyer that DC keeps on chasing, and god bless 'em for it. Marvel's collected editions are exhaustively researched and amazingly complete. DC's often omits covers, for chrissakes.
Many of these issues are mediocre, although there is some gold in this sand. The aforementioned Web of Spider-Man, Power Pack, Doctor Strange, and Alpha Flight issues all rank as highlights for me. The Moon Knight, Punisher, and Wolverine issues were also highly entertaining. Others, such as the second Damage Control mini-series, will be skipped over when I re-read this book in the future. The writer of that title, the late Dwayne McDuffie, would go on to do vastly superior work on Fantastic Four and the Ben 10 Alien Force cartoon.
The worst issues in the book are probably the favorite of the under 30 crowd: the Uncanny X-Men issues with the idiotic Claremont/Lee collaboration which turned Psylocke from a British telepath from the UK Captain Britain strip to an Asian ninja. This is asinine and has never been undone. Ninjas in general are often lame, and ruining a perfectly good character when you could just create a new character is just plain dumb.
|Is that Robin? Nope, it's Jubilee. Artwork by the overrated Jim Lee.|
Also horrendous is Jubilee, whose color scheme is just like Robin's. Yes, Robin, as in Batman and Robin. Horrendous costume designs were just coming into vogue during this time and would last for the better part of the '90s. I find Jim Lee to be the most overrated artist in the history of comic books. He's okay, but people act like he is the lord and savior of comic book artists. He still sells, so I am in the minority, but in my opinion he is a huge part of the problem with comic books, not the solution.
Is this an essential, must-own book? No way, Jose. Is this a fun, albeit uneven, read of one of Marvel's earliest crossovers? Absolutely positively. There is some good writing and good artwork throughout the book, but that's all it is: good. Never really good, or even very good. Strictly second and third gear stuff. If you go into this book with that in mind and read this book in small doses you will enjoy it. I couldn't plow through more than five issues at a time. I quit comics as this crossover was gaining steam and didn't come back until the early aughts. Read whatever you want into that.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I love the Marvel Omnibus format. It may seem like I don't review a lot of them, but that is because they take forever to get through. This beast was over 750 pages. I probably have two dozen more unread Omniboo in my backlog waiting to be read.
Linework restoration rating: 5 out of 5. Much of the artwork in here is just okay, but it is flawlessly presented here in its mediocre glory.
Color restoration rating: 5 out of 5. Rest easy, folks: Rob Liefeld's New Mutants have received the hi-def treatment.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Beautiful thick coated stock with a slight sheen. These Chinese made books smell fantastic, the result of ink made from compounds of asbestos tiles, mercury from recalled thermometers, and lead paint chips. Once mixed with the final ingredient, the tears of the Chinese children working the sweatshop printing presses, you get an aroma that is delectable. The paper is also great, likely sourced from virgin Amazon rainforest trees. China's complete lack of respect for the environment is our gain, at least pertaining to the wonderful, toxic aroma of this book.
Binding rating: 5 out of 5. Like all late 2007-on Marvel Omnibus hardcovers, this has sewn binding. The casing is not glued square to the spine, allowing for a considerable amount of flex. The book lays perfectly flat from the first page to the last.