AVENGERS: THE LEGACY OF THANOS (Marvel, First Printing, 2014; Softcover)
Collects Avengers #255-261, Avengers Annual #14, and Fantastic Four Annual #19 (cover dates May- November, 1985)
Writers: Roger Stern and John Byrne
Artists: John Buscema, John Byrne, Glynis Oliver, Tom Palmer, Kyle Baker, and Joe Sinnott
Oh man! This is where it got real for me. While I discovered The Avengers via my older brother's comics with #187 and picked up select issues as far back as #196, #258 was when I became a monthly buyer. This issue was a crossover with Amazing Spider-Man #270, that issue being the second part of an epic battle with Firelord. I turned 12 that summer, and the cliffhanger of ASM 269 and 270 was just too much for me. Now we had to pick up an Avengers issue too? Cynical 44 year old me hates crossovers, and yet small crossovers like this helped hook young me in an organic way. My son is 11 and he is dabbling in comics and I see various series sucking him in in the same way. God help the boy. I caution him against the crossover trick, and yet here he is buying umpteen DC Metal crossover issues, but I digress.
#259 was my introduction to the Skrulls and also served as my introduction to The Avengers as a galactic powerhouse. Unbeknownst to 12 year old me was the fact that this arc was a nod to early '70s Avengers Kree-Skrull War. There was no Internet to look this stuff up on in 1985, and we were better off in some ways. Comics existed in the now and the now only. There were no trades of vintage material kept in print. No movies or video games with these characters. Whatever version of the characters that were on the spinner rack at 7-11 were the only ones that mattered. I think that there is something to be said for that.
As much as I grumble about crossovers, #260 and 261 were both Secret Wars II crossover issues and I loved them. Little did 12 year old me realize that I was helping show the industry that crossovers and endless tie-in issues work. They would soon become the status quo before almost killing off everything. Over the past decade Marvel began pumping them out one after another, and here we are on the cusp of yet another bubble burst. Those who don't learn from history and all that.
The summer Annual crossover with the Fantastic Four remains a fond childhood memory. I must have read those two comics a dozen times each when they were released in August of 1985.
Roger Stern is Avengers royalty and can do no wrong. He, along with Roy Thomas, Steve Engelhart, and Kurt Busiek have written the finest comics to bear the title Earth's Mightiest Heroes. This is top shelf stuff that should be in every library in the country, public and private.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations of physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed.
Linework and Color restoration: Everything looks good. Linework and color palette are faithful to the original comics. Books like this pose a question. As good as this looks, will the inevitable Marvel Masterworks really look any better? I'll let you know when I buy them whenever they are released. Why, god, why?
Paper stock: Matte coated stock of sufficient thickness and weight. This is the same stock found in the softcover Marvel Masterworks and Epic line books. It's my favorite paper stock used in collected editions today.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.