Monday, September 24, 2012


ACTS OF VENGEANCE OMNIBUS (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)

Note: Book actually released in 2011

Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 326-329, Avengers Nos. 311-313, Avengers Spotlight Nos. 26-29, Avengers West Coast Nos. 53-55, Captain America Nos. 365-367, Cloak and Dagger No. 9, Iron Man Nos. 251, 252, Quasar Nos. 5-7, Spectacular Spider-Man Nos. 158-160, Thor Nos. 411-413, Web of Spider-Man Nos. 59-61, and selections from Avengers Annual No. 19 (cover dates December, 1989- February, 1990)

Writers: John Byrne, Ron Frenz, Tom DeFalco, Mark Gruenwald, Dwayne McDuffie, David Michelinie, Gerry Conway, Howard Mackie, and Terry Austin

Artists: Paul Ryan, Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema, Alex Saviuk, Kieron Dwyer, Al Milgrom, Herb Trimpe, John Byrne, Ron Lim, Mike Vosburg, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Tom Palmer, Joe Sinnott, Andy Mushynsky, Mike Esposito, Don Heck, and others

Stop me if any of this sounds familiar to you: Super villains unite to swap their foes in order to gain a strategic advantage over them. The Avengers' headquarters gets destroyed. There's a big supervillain prison breakout. The Government is trying to pass the Superhero Powers Act, which would make being a superhero illegal. Am I referring to Avengers Disassembled? The opening New Avengers arc, Breakout? Civil War? DC's Villains United? Nope. All of these things occurred here more than a decade before they were re-purposed (read: ripped off) and padded out to ensure maximum decompression. And here you kids thought that Avengers centric events were new!

Loki manipulates Doctor Doom, the Red Skull, the Mandarin, the Kingpin, Magneto, and the Wizard into forming a tenuous partnership where they will swap each others' enemies and catch them unawares. This results in some pretty cool brawls: Quasar vs. the Absorbing Man. Iron Man vs. the Wrecker. The West Coast Avengers vs. the U-Foes. Thor vs. the Juggernaut. The Avengers vs. Freedom Force (a/k/a the New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants), my personal favorite battle in this crossover. There are lots of cool, fun moments throughout this book.

Spider-Man temporarily gets the power of Captain Universe, which helps him win some upsets over villains who clearly outclass his normal power range (i.e. Graviton, Magneto). This Omnibus also serves as a clear cut upgrade over the old Spider-Man: The Cosmic Adventures trade paperback from the '90s, as this has superior linework and color restoration. 

Long before we had Illuminati or Dark Reign, we had Acts of Vengeance.

I look forward to cracking open my Acts of Vengeance Companion Omnibus, which collects the rest of the crossover issues.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5. 

The OCD zone- Superb coated stock paper and high quality sewn binding that enables this book to lay completely flat from the first page to the last equals one happy OCD camper. Couple it with double page spreads with zero gutter loss and you have the definitive document of this crossover for the ages.

Extras include the Marvel Age cover and article from issue 81, the pin-ups from Cloak and Dagger No. 9, the cover to the Spider-Man: The Cosmic Adventures trade paperback, the house ad for this crossover (which was used for this direct market variant cover that I bought), and the Alan Davis cover for the bookstore market version of this book.

Linework restoration rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Color restoration rating: 5 out of 5.

Paper rating: 5 out of 5.

Binding rating: 5 out of 5.

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