The second of my lengthy re-reading projects (following my Byrne FF Project) reached its conclusion last Sunday with Avengers #300. All told, I had a great time going through the 40-odd issues, and although there were some dips in quality along the way, in summary I can safely say that the mid-to-late ‘80s was a great time to be an Avengers fan. Time-travelling antics, intergalactic sojourns, face-offs with Greek gods… there wasn’t any messing about during this period. The Avengers meant business. If you asked me to pick a standout storyline, while I’ll dutifully acknowledge the greatness of the rightly acclaimed Masters Of Evil arc, I have to say it was the ‘Assault On Olympus’ issues that really set the bar high in my eyes. If you’re thinking of dipping into to this era of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to get a feel for things, either of those stories should be at the top of your list.
So here’s to the late, great John Buscema, the man who pencilled every issue I’ve reviewed over the last nine months or so. A true master of the medium and a hugely influential talent, one that perhaps doesn’t get the kudos he really deserves. For my money he should be right up there with the cream of the crop (and yeah, I mean your Eisners and your Kirbys – he was that good!). Of course it would be remiss of me not to shine the spotlight on Tom Palmer too – his inks on Buscema’s pencils were always full of life and energy, and you could possibly argue that visually the book wouldn’t have had quite the same impact without him. And while I’m at it, Roger Stern and Walt Simonson need mentioning – top class storytellers both, and Stern in particular can lay claim to being one of the best writers ever to work on the title.
A thoroughly enjoyable trip down memory lane then, but the real question is, what’s next?
Watch this space…