Monday, December 17, 2012


AVENGERS: THE PRIVATE WAR OF DR. DOOM (Marvel, 2012; Hardcover)

Collects Avengers Nos. 150-156, Avengers Annual No. 6, and Super-Villain Team-Up No. 9 (cover dates August, 1976- February, 1977)

Writers: Steve Englehart (co-writer 150, 151), Stan Lee (issue 150's reprint portion), Gerry Conway (151-155, Annual 6), Jim Shooter (151, 156), Scott Edelman ((Vision back-up story in Annual 6), and Bill Mantlo (SVTU No. 9)

Artists: George Perez (150, 151, 154, 155, Annual 6), Jack Kirby (issue 150's reprint portion, covers on 151-156 and Annual 6), John Buscema (152) Joe Sinnott (inker) Herb Trimpe (Vision back-up story in Annual 6), Jim Shooter (SVTU No. 9), Pablo Marcos (inker), and others

This was an at-the-time huge crossover that spanned across The Avengers, the Avengers Annual, and Super Villain Team-Up. It seems rather quaint by today's mega-epic, 50+ issue crossovers that plague the industry. 

The gist, with minimal spoilers- Attuma, in an attempt to usurp control of the world, enslaves The Avengers with the assistance of Tyrak the Terrible. Using slave collars that blocked their powers to escape but not their powers to fight, they are sent to attack Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. They unknowingly and unwittingly end up attacking Dr. Doom. The Vision convinces Doom that defeating Attuma is in his best interests, and the Avengers and Dr. Doom end up working side by side fighting Attuma, Tyrak, and the Atlanteans. 

Steve Englehart's Magneto as the Scarlet Witch's father subplot gets dropped when he leaves (or was booted from) the title, and Gerry Conway ends up making the Whizzer her father. This ret-con was later ret-conned (see the Avengers: Knights of Wundagore TPB), and has been ret-conned a few more times if I'm not mistaken. There is a free flowing spirit in these Bronze Age comics, where mistakes can happen but the energy and spontaneity are enough to make it all worthwhile. Everything is spit shined to perfection nowadays, with all of the juice and life sucked right out of it. 

This book is loads of fun, but it is uneven in places due to the constantly shifting creative teams. There are a few points where the plot almost gets lost, but everything is tied up neatly by the end of the book. George Perez's artwork is great. It's amazing how quickly he progressed in such a short time. John Buscema does a fill in issue without missing a beat. He's one of the best. Perez handles the bulk of the issues collected in this book. Despite it's flaws, this book is a better read than anything written by the loathsome Brian Michael Bendis. Modern Avengers fans who have never read any of the classics would do well to pick this book up so that they can see how it is really done.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5. 

The OCD zone- Marvel needs to revamp the way they list creator credits in these collected editions, particularly when attributing cover artist credits. While Jack Kirby is credited under artists and in the issue where his artwork appeared, the uninitiated might not realize that Kirby also supplied the artwork for the bulk of the covers of the issues collected in this book. One might also argue that the uninitiated might not care, but for the sake of budding OCD completists everywhere let's assume that they do.

The OCD zone- The late, lamented Marvel Premiere Classic line of hardcovers were a sort of junior Masterworks line, with decent restoration, nice paper, and sewn binding at a much lower MSRP.

Linework restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. The linework restoration is mostly excellent.

Color restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. The colors are spot on and faithful to the original comics.

Paper rating: 4.5 out of 5. This line of books has a thick coated stock.

Binding rating: 5 out of 5. Wonderful sewn binding, although the book doesn't lay perfectly flat due to the 180+ page count and the square spine. Whoever decided that squared spines are good on books, anyways? Most hardcovers now seem to have blocky squared spines instead of rounded goodness.

Dustjacket coating rating: 3 out of 5. This has that image coated/ solid blacks not coated approach that so many publishers have adopted. It is easily scuffed and therefore loses points here in the OCD zone. Durability trumps fancy production values every time out in my world.

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  1. "...and Books that Lie Flat." Honest. Trust me on this one.

  2. Ha! Either way, it no longer matters as the group has been renamed the grammatically correct Collected Editions Consumer Resource Center. ;)