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Marvel Masterworks, Volume 009: The Avengers…
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Marvel Masterworks, Volume 009: The Avengers Volume 2 [#11-20]

by Stan Lee

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Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and Spider-Man help the heroes face the evil Loki.

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The original Avengers concept - an all-star superhero lineup a la DC's Justice League - wasn't working as well as Marvel's other teams the Fantastic Four and The X-Men. The problem was the 5 principals had their own comics in which their characters were being developed in line with Stan Lee's 'soap opera' concept which left nothing for The Avengers comic to do other than pit the heroes against baddies. The result was a more bland title than Marvel's others, made worse by the fact that The Avengers didn't know each others secret identities so the whole thing read rather like a bunch of superheroes at the office.

Maybe that was the idea, after all The Fantastic Four was based on the superhero-team-as-family concept and The X-Men on the superhero-team-as-classmates concept so The Avengers served as the superhero-team-as-corporation concept.

All the same, the idea was too rigid, too formal, to work as Stan Lee wanted it to so with issue #16 the all-star lineup was dispensed with in favour of an edgier, more quarrelsome troop.

With Captain America remaining as leader, the choice of new members was inspired - 3 semi-baddies from the pages of Iron Man (Hawkeye, Marvel's answer the Green Arrow) and The X-Men (the brother/sister mutant pair of Quicksilver, Marvel's answer to The Flash, and The Scarlet Witch).

Sparks start flying immediately with the ambitious Hawkeye and Quicksilver each planning to depose Cap as leader when the opportunity arises while Hawkeye's arrogant personality conflicts with Cap's experience and military background almost immediately.

The new lineup's first 2 adventures (issues 17 and 18) are uncertain efforts but the Swordsman 2 parter (issues 19 and 20) shows how quickly Lee and Don Heck took advantage of the possibilities now on offer.

Better days were to come but the classic era of the Avengers begins here. ( )
1 vote schteve | Jul 21, 2007 |
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Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and Spider-Man help the heroes face the evil Loki.

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