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Avengers: The Korvac Saga by Jim Shooter

Avengers: The Korvac Saga

by Jim Shooter (Writer), David Michelinie (Writer), George Perez (Illustrator)

Other authors: Pablo Marcos (Inker)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Marvel Premiere Classics (38), Avengers, 1963 series (167-168, 170-177)

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704261,274 (3.57)None
Intent on changing the future to his liking, Michael Korvac, a powerful being, travels one thousand years into the past, where he meets Carina, an alien who becomes his wife. The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy follow the couple to their home to stop Korvac's manipulation of the time stream and engage in a deadly battle with the would-be god.… (more)



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This volume collects a ten-issue epic from 1977, from issues of Avengers and a Thor Annual.

Korvac was a slave of the alien Badoon until he used their own technology to break free. Gathering power along the way, he travels from the 30th century to our time, intending to remake the world, bringing him into conflict with both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

I never really liked Jim Shooter's writing much, even as a kid, and he handles most of this story arc (and seems to direct the rest, as there isn't a noticeable difference among the other writers who contribute.) There are too many attempts to be funny that just come off as embarrassing, too much petty, annoying bickering amongst the teammates and too many broad, hand-wavy explanations for everything. Korvac's origin is a particularly egregious example; he escapes from Thor and the Guardians and just happens to teleport right to Galactus' world-ship. There he plugs himself in and woohoo instant near-omnipotence. Honestly, I don't expect real, hard science from this but at least make something up that sounds plausible.

There is an odd sequence where the Avengers, needing to get somewhere but having their jet flight privileges revoked, take a bus--despite the fact that about half of them can fly under their own power.

Ultron makes a less-than-stellar showing around the middle of the volume, hiding out in a convent (!) We find that the Avengers have been "immunized" to his primary means of attack. How does that work, exactly? The Scarlet Witch's involvement in this battle was referenced when Ultron returned a couple years later, but this really dumb plot device is never heard from again. Nor is the deus-ex-machina way in which Thor finally defeats the robot.

And what on Earth is Nighthawk doing in here? He shows up at a fashion show, something he admits he wouldn't normally do, for no apparent reason.

I like a lot of 1970s Marvel, but the Avengers wouldn't reach greatness until about a half a year later. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
In retrospect this is one of the foundation stones that pointed the way to the future of modern comics. It’s clearly influenced by Claremont’s X-Men storylines, with a lot of soap operatic conflicts going on (a leader filled with self-doubt, Captain America taking a quite out-of-character Wolverine role of undermining him), panels here and there setting up later storylines so nothing ever quite feels tidily resolved, and epic battles stretching from the 31st century to New York’s Forest Hill Gardens neighbourhood.

It’s clearly a primitive form of the ongoing narrative which dominates modern comics – whilst the story builds to the last three issues here, the Korvac storyline itself doesn’t properly kick in until the last three issues or so. What saves it though, and marks it out from the majority of what’s followed is the enormous sense of fun behind it all. In the economically testing 70s the government interference and cuts storylines were very much on the nose (and read so again to a modern British reader like me). It culminates in the splendidly absurd way the Avengers eventually reach Korvac’s lair, a splendidly comic conceit that adds to the absurdity of the climax’s setting. And of course there are the requisite punch-ups, although Jim Shooter has the wit to undermine this in the climactic battle (it’s far better executed here than when he reused it for Secret Wars). This is ridiculous, epic and yet has room to ponder moral questions.

What also raises it above the usual superhero fare is the essentially tragic nature of the villain. Korvac is clearly one of the Avengers’ most powerful foes and even a combination of the world’s mightiest heroes wouldn’t match him. The answer is therefore rooted in character, lending a tragic air to proceedings. We’re not simply admiring the heroes and jeering the bad guys, instead we’re left with characters on both sides as flawed and complex as the medium would allow.

Of course, being forty years old a lot of the attitudes on display are out of date, as happens to all art over time. But this is a reminder of how inventive Marvel of the 70s was and how fortunate I was to be brought up on them. Tremendous fun. ( )
  JonArnold | Jul 12, 2015 |
Ah classic comics, where else you you get a woman being belittled for being a feminist and another woman being praised for a ridiculous costume? And love conquering all, even common sense.

Not the best story but you do see some of the characterstics and stresses showing. Korvac wants all the power in the universe and the Avengers are determined to stop him. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Oct 1, 2012 |
It's funny how the two best stories of an era in comics known for social realism (the drug stories in Spider-Man and Green Arrow, "Demon in a Bottle", the death of Gwen Stacy, etc.) are just total epic soap opera adventure gathering of the troops-type productions. This one is only the second best (see: Dark Phoenix) but god it's a good time. It's amazing to revisit all those little moments I tried to suss out as a kid--the way they talked about the house in Forest Hills Gardens where they fight Michael shed so much light on the way the'70s saw suburbia; the jokes about Allen Funt and "Neil Sedaka's pianer", Jan's fashion show and "Oh, sit on it, Nighthawk!"

But it's not all just historical sociology. The central mystery and the Enemy's machinations are appealingly menacing; the moral ambiguity of the Michael character is not made as much of as it could of maybe but it's good, it's progress; the fact that this is the first "everybody dies but then not really" story is noteworthy, and means that you actually wondered if they could possibly kill 'em all so callously; it sponsors both emotionally gutting moments (Infinity Gauntlet) and egregious pieces of shit (Marvel Zombies) future. The character moments are fantastic. The shocks are of a kind that have been milked dry in 30 years, but were all new then: "mere meters from the teleportation chamber he was rushing toward, Major Vance Astro dies screaming." The art is by George Perez.

I remember there having been more of this when I was a kid, but maybe I was just slower and lingered more over the deets. Regardless, this was an immensely pleasant nostalgia bus read today, even if they only reprinted it in hardcover. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Oct 13, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shooter, JimWriterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Michelinie, DavidWritermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Perez, GeorgeIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Marcos, PabloInkersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morgan, TomIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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