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Avengers: The Serpent Crown by Steve…
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Follows the adventures of the Avengers as they fight the Squadron Supreme and head for the nineteenth century to keep the West from getting wilder.

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For those who believe the multi-threat superteam adventure was a creation of Grant Morrison in JLA, it's fun to see writer Steve Englehart doing exactly the same a quarter of a century earlier. Here the Avengers are divided into two teams for two separate yet concurrent storylines. Firstly, Thor and Moondragon travel back to the 19th Century Wild West to rescue a time-lost Hawkeye and team up with various old Marvel Western heroes like Rawhide Kid, Two Gun Kid and Kid Colt (everyone was a kid in them days) to defeat Kang The Conqueror. You have to wonder whether a young Grant Morrison might have read this book, not only for the split-team dangers, but also a mind-melting explanation of the link between Kang, Immortus and the pharaoh Rama Tut that shows Englehart at his big idea-ed best.

While all this is going on, a second team of Avengers is taking on the evil corporation Roxxon Oil who are using the other-dimensional Squadron Supreme and a pan-dimensional Serpent Crown to wreak all kinds of havoc. Included on this team are Iron Man, Cap, the Vision and Scarlet Witch, a newly recruited Beast and Patsy Walker, who adopts her Hellcat identity for the first time here - though exactly how she does so (pretty much tripping over the Cat's pre-Tigra costume in a warehouse and saying "I know, I'll become Hellcat") is probably the weakest bit of plotting here. The best thing here is the Avengers versus an expanded Squadron Supreme - originally devised as Marvel's alterniverse versions of Superman, Batman, the Flash and Green Lantern, Englehart now introduces spoofs of Hawkman, Aquaman, the Atom, Black Canary and Green Arrow (who for some reason has the worst Dick Van Dyke cod-British accent you'll ever read). They even have their own equivalent of the JLA satellite - Rocket Central. The story climaxes with a giant battle against Orka the human killer whale which also features one of those classic Perez shots of the whole team strapped into some funky machine designed to drain their powers before that hoary "we need to have a big line-up change" cliffhanger leads us into the following month's 150th anniversary issue... sadly not collected here.

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1 vote rolhirst | May 10, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steve Englehartprimary authorall editionscalculated
Perez, GeorgeIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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