Monday, January 6, 2014

BAB Classic: Three Cows Shot Me Down! Avengers #89

Avengers 89 (June 1971)
"The Only Good Alien..."
Roy Thomas-Sal Buscema/Sam Grainger

NOTE:  This post was originally published on 3 October 2011. 

Doug: Welcome to what will be a two months-long examination of perhaps the seminal graphic novel at Marvel Comics. Roy Thomas' 9-part masterpiece known as "The Kree/Skrull War" is one of the oft-lauded stories of the Bronze Age, so it's fitting that we get down to business and review this mammoth here at the BAB. We'll be running posts in the series each Monday (with the exception of Avengers #93, which will run on a Tuesday (due to the fact that Halloween is on a Monday, and you know Karen will want to "monster up" on that day!). Karen and I will take turns being the "lead voice" as we move through, and today I'll drive this train. So strap in -- this should be a fun ride!

Karen: This saga means a lot to me. It's my all-time favorite comic book continued story, and I was there right as it unfolded. Avengers 92 was my first Avengers comic. Now I'm not going to say that when I first read the Kree-Skrull War, I actually understood the story -I was only six years old! But I kept going back to it, and reading it again and again. Over time, I came to see it as more than just cool super-heroes in colorful outfits; this was a true epic adventure. So you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm going into this with a biased opinion.

Doug: In case you were wondering about the title of today's post (and indeed this series), it comes from a suggestion Neal Adams made to Roy Thomas at the bottom of the splash page to Avengers #93, Adams' first issue as penciller and co-plotter. Roy had been percolating the idea of the K/S War, but felt like he was meandering with it. Neal asked if he could take it and run, and Roy concurred. Adams decided to use the Skrulls who were left as cows at the end of Fantastic Four #2; we'll see how it turned out in a few weeks, and why Adams chose that phrase as his suggested title.

Karen: From what I gather, there's a little bit of conflict between the two over who came up with what. Of course, Adams was not happy when John Buscema was brought in to wrap up the series.

Doug: We open in slam-bang mode as the Avengers (consisting only of the Vision and Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch) come upon the Kree Captain Mar-Vell. The Avengers accost him, telling him that they mean him no harm and that he must come with them... for his own good. This inflames the seemingly distraught Captain, and it's game on. Of course Pietro takes the lead (a - because he's fast, and b - because he's just like that), but Mar-Vell socks him a good one. Next up is the Vision, but Mar-Vell evades him with a blast; when Wanda steps to the fore, it's retreat-time for the Kree. Landing on a rooftop, Mar-Vell is felled by a blast from a ray-gun... a gun fired by Rick Jones!

Karen: At this stage Mar-Vell still seems to take some pride in his Kree heritage: "Who are you to tell a man of the Kree what to-" It was surprising to see how well he fared against these Avengers, even if the fight was fairly abbreviated.

Doug: Rick doesn't feel too good about what he's done to his former "alter ego". The Avengers nonetheless get Mar-Vell to a quinjet and then whisk him away to the Cape Kennedy Hospital, where they rush him inside and get him hooked up to what looks like a high-tech hair dryer from back in the day (raise your hand if you ever went to the beauty shop with your mom and she sat under one of the things like you see on the cover of this comic).

Karen: As they head off, Wanda points out that she and her brother, being mutants, and Mar-Vell, being an alien, are all strangers in a strange land. Of course the Vision is sitting right there, and certainly he's got it harder than any of them! It's interesting that this group of Avengers is easily the most unconventional and outcast of any group before, and possibly since.

Doug:As the machines hum, Rick flashes back to how this whole thing got started. As he was playing a gig, Mar-Vell appeared to him and showed him a vision of Reed Richards adrift in the Negative Zone (see Fantastic Four #109), being hunted by Annihilus. Somehow Richards had managed to seemingly split himself into multiple images to confuse Annihilus. As Mar-Vell, also adrift in the Neg. Zone, watched as Richards made his way toward a small opening in the fabric of space, and disappeared through it. And so Mar-Vell told Rick that he had to get immediately to the headquarters of the FF.

Karen: This just reminds me that I need to get my hands on some of those pre-Starlin Captain Marvel comics. I'm not even sure how Rick and Mar-Vell got joined. I'm certain I've read it somewhere but it escapes me now. Of course it's a total rip-off (or homage, take your pick) to the original Captain Marvel and Billy Batson.

Karen: Another thing to point out is that already in this first issue, Roy is bringing in threads from other comics (Fantastic Four) and weaving them into his tapestry. By the time he was done with this story, he had done an incredible job of connecting characters and events to really explore and expand the Marvel Universe.

Doug: Rick did as he was told, but Mar-Vell suddenly ordered him to switch places. As Rick banged together the bracelets which served as the catalyst for the body-switch, Mar-Vell appeared and Rick Jones was himself exiled to the Negative Zone. Mar-Vell started into the Baxter Building, but after being confronted by a security guard chose the express route -- by flight! Landing on the 35th floor, Mar-Vell gained easy entry, and then ripped open a steel door to gain access to the Negative Zone portal room. The mission is now evident -- to figure out a way to allow Mar-Vell and Rick to occupy the same space coincidentally. As Rick screamed in fear of being watched by an unseen nemesis, Mar-Vell figured out how to open the portal. Rick jumped through, but at the same time so did someone else -- Annihilus! And at that very same minute, the Avengers arrived, serving as "got your backside" assistance to the out-of-town FF! Needless to say, a melee ensues, and it's a real free-for-all.

Karen: I don't know -it's pretty one-sided. Quicksilver bounces harmlessly off Annihilus, and for some reason, which makes absolutely no sense, Wanda's hex power can't affect him. It's only the Vision who really gives him difficulty.

Doug: The Vision orders Rick to flip the switch that allowed passage to the Neg. Zone; Rick does just that, and Annihilus begins to feel the pull of the neg-gravity. He latches onto the Vision, who goes first diamond-hard, and then intangible. As Annihilus had let up a bit, he's not ready and is sucked back into the Neg. Zone. You know, it was cool to see someone else's baddie guesting in the Avengers' mag -- I'd have liked to have seen more! In all of the confusion, Mar-Vell ducked out and snagged a quinjet. He took off for Florida and Cape Kennedy -- boy gonna hijack himself a rocket ship!

Karen: Maybe it's just because I always liked him, but doesn't it seem like the Vision was always saving the day way back when?

Doug: The Avengers give pursuit, and we come back to the present with Mar-Vell hooked to the machine. The Avengers had noticed abnormally high radiation levels left in the Baxter Building near where Mar-Vell stood. It was now a race to find the Kree Captain, and make him well. As Mar-Vell was being treated, it became apparent to his doctors that if the nega-energy wasn't entirely eradicated it could come back. The Vision offered to exchange his own solar energy with Mar-Vell if it would help. Hooked up, the process was completed, with both heroes down for the count.

Karen: That process seemed a little confused. The technician said they were almost out of power, and the Vision offered to supply his power -but the art and caption has him blasting Mar-Vell with his solar jewel! Very odd.

Doug: Cut to the Kree homeworld, where the Supreme Intelligence has encountered Ronan the Accuser, one he had formerly banished. But Ronan had returned, crushing the Supreme Intelligence's guardians. Claiming that he was now in control, Ronan is even able to activate the Kree Sentry -- as fate would have it, on ice at Cape Kennedy... but no longer!

Karen: As far as I'm concerned, this is the only Sentry!

Doug: Oh, I couldn't agree more! You may have just raised a future topic -- comic book characters who never should have existed...

Doug: And come back tomorrow for a bonus post: a little Discuss-ion!


Anonymous said...

Doug - not only do I remember my mom sitting under one of those things, I remember that I would only consent to go with her if she would stop at the drug store spinner rack next door and buy me some comics to read while she sat in that chair.


Fred W. Hill said...

I didn't get serious about collecting comics until a few months after the Kree-Skrull War, but I was there for Jim Starlin's run in Captain Marvel where I first got an inkling of what I'd missed. Much later I paid $25 for Avengers #93 (the most I've ever paid for any comic) and gradually got the whole epic, in either reprints or back issues, including this one. Sal Buscema's art suffers only in comparison with Neal Adams; it serves the story well enough but doesn't enhance it, providing the real sense of epic wonder that Neal would provide, or that Kirby gave to his most epic tales in the FF and Thor or Starlin gave to Captain Marvel & Warlock. Or, to give credit to an often overlooked earlier epic, Ditko's classic multi-issue Dormammu/Mordo/Eternity Dr. Strange extravaganza.
One thing I noticed after I'd managed to collect nearly all of Roy Thomas' run on the Avengers is that it wasn't until about the middle of the Kree-Skrull War that the Big Three -- Thor, Iron Man and Captain America -- all returned to stay as active members for several years running after having been mostly inactive save for ages, Iron Man & Thor since ish 16, Cap since somewhere between issues 40 and 50. I know it was Stan's desire to keep the Big Three's appearances sporadic at most in the title, apparently to avoid continuity foibles with their own series, but he appears to have relented by this time, just before he got his big promotion and Roy took over as Marvel's top editor.

Rip Jagger said...

This is the BIG ONE for me amigos!

I started full speed into comics with the debut of Captain Mar-Vell and I was a hardcore fanboy of the Kree Captain right up through his demise in the capable hands of Jimbo Starlin.

The Avengers was my fave comic at the time this storyline started featuring my fave hero alongside my fave team fighting some outrageous baddies.

I agree with the good things said about this Sentry. He is awesome, implacable and resilient.

The Kree-Skrull War would've broken the internet if we'd had one.

I look forward to this series!

Rip Off

Doug said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. Karen and I were beginning to think this series was going to be some big intergalactic DUD! Late save by Fred and Rip -- we were about to get a complex, as Spidey used to say.

Hopefully we'll live up to the significance of this great story.


Edo Bosnar said...

How can you think this one would be a dud? Since I came into comics later than a lot of you guys (i.e. roughly mid-1970s) I missed this one by quite a bit, but the Kree-Skrull war was always sort of a Holy Grail for me - frequent tantalizing references in the comics of "my" time, and incredibly expensive back issues and no reprint editions.
In fact, I only read the whole thing through rather recently, when I found a reasonably priced used copy of the TPB. Damned if you guys don't get me to read it again just to keep up with your reviews.

Doug said...

Edo --

We don't think the Kree/Skrull War is a dud -- we were beginning to think our review of Part 1 was a dud! I mean, c'mon... over 300 people viewed this post, and only four (including you) had anything to say about it?

It could just make a reviewer question whether or not they still have a voice, that's all.

Hey, all readers -- it's conversation that we want to be about around here!



Edo Bosnar said...

I'm wondering if the lack of comments might be due to a problem I had with your other post about reboots - i.e., blogger is again insisting on commenters to register and/or log-in, instead of just allowing standard name/URL or anonymous comments...

Doug said...

Ah, yes -- the lovely changes that occur behind the scenes. I was happy to see that the picture/slideshow feature has been dismissed, and you can now view images single-screen with the ability to enlarge when possible.

Or maybe the post just wasn't all that interesting ;)


david_b said...

Sorry for the delay, I've been waiting for this review for a while.. I just had a long response all typed out on my BB, but lost it going throught TX today on a rare vacation with the Mrs..

I respect the magnitude of this saga greatly, but the execution was hit-miss... LOVED Sal's art, effectively underscoring the drama and impending build. Never liked Neal's art in ish 93 (I also bought it for $25 in '83..). It just didn't look like 'Avengers art', somewhat defeating the 'Avengers saga'.., plus he draws a lousy FF.

Looking forward to the remaining reviews..!

david_b said...

Doug, your review was awesome, looking forward to everyone's input on the rest of this grand saga..!

Doug said...

It's funny, because we always comment on the art but this time did not. I'm wondering if anyone else felt that Sam Grainger's inks were just a bit heavy? Not necessarily "slick heavy" as Sinnott, but I guess just a bit "off". There's no mistaking the lay-outs of Sal -- they are evident in his style, facial expressions, etc. But some of the linework just felt a bit too broad to me.


Chris said...

I've only read these issues once a few years ago after finally getting them all from the back-issue bins.

To tell the truth...after all the hype/significance etc., I was kinda disappointed.

However, I plan to re-read along with you guys to see if (on a second reading) it get's better with age.

I'll let you know what I think..

Redartz said...

Truly a landmark storyline. I haven't read it in decades, as the issues involved departed my collection long ago. You inspire me to hunt down the TPB.
Oh, and regarding the machine on the cover which Mar-Vell is strapped into? Yes, it looks like a hair dryer, but my first thought on seeing it was those brain-switch devices often used in cartoons. Think of Bugs Bunny and the Mad Scientist...

Edo Bosnar said...

Heh, Redartz, the brain-switch device that comes to my mind is the one from Gilligan's Island (Mrs. Howell speaking with the Skipper's voice is one of the most hilarious bits in that show).

Anyway, back on topic, and in response to Doug's comment about the art from way back in 2011: yes, Grainger's inks do seem a bit overpowering at times, but all in all I still like the art here quite a bit. But then again, I pretty much always like Sal's art...
Also, I see that in my original comments I didn't actually comment on the story itself. I love all the stuff happening here; it's a really action-packed beginning to the saga.

Doc Savage said...

Unfortunately these types of stories leave me cold. I have no interest in the fate of the Kree or the Skrulls. The whole "cosmic" shebang I find dull. I like my heroes to deal with the "real" world and criminal-type villains. Stories like this have so many ramifications that would change the world and human interrelations forever, yet next issue everyone goes back to business as usual. Not for me. But I do love Buscema. Adams, blah.

mr. oyola said...

Like Edo, to me the Kree/Skrull War was one of those legendary events of the near-yet-distant past that I knew about but never read. Before the days of collected trades I would have given my right arm for those issues - every Marvel Comics fan I knew raved about it.

But. . . to this day I have still never read the dang thing!

I am not much of an Avengers guy - so I never made a point to seek out the TPB. Maybe one of my buddies has it and I can borrow it.

Like Matt C. I am not sure I am big on the cosmic stuff (or like some of it and don't like others - depends on how you define "cosmic" I guess), but the sheer significance of this storyline I think makes it worth seeking out.

Edo Bosnar said...

Osvaldo, like I pointed out in my original comment, I found a rather inexpensive copy of the Kree/Skrull war tpb back in 2010 (about $10 total, with postage). Obviously, I haven't looked in years, but I'll bet you can find a pretty cheap used copy on eBay or the Amazon marketplace.

david_b said...

It was certainly THE event for the Avengers, as Doug and/or Karen noted previously, it's what elevated the Avengers to a top-notch team in the Marvel Universe, much like Galactus did for the FF just a few short years earlier.

I personally find the entire saga a slight chore to read because of the mix-match artistry (Sal-Neal Adams-Big John) and the unsmooth pacing in this issue, when Neal took a few pages to showcase Hank Pym's journey into the Vision, and the seemingly hasty, near-'oh-by-the-way' telling of Clint's return to Earth.

Agreed with Fred on Sal's art. It was serviceable at best (looked rushed..).

By contrast, Steve Englehart's Avengers/Defenders cross-over was near perfection, it felt 'just long enough' and dipped into both books. Perhaps this story's 'grand majestic' feel would have helped greatly with a consistant production team and perhaps a slight FF (or Mar-Vell) cross-over.

Doc Savage said...

Avengers-Defenders was very cool and a lot of fun. But I like the Defenders better than the Avengers.

david_b said...

Perhaps if I can offer another reason why this 'huge event' doesn't generate more enthusiasm.

After posting my mention of cross-overs, I started pondering different Avengers minor cross-overs that occurred later, such as ish 125 with the Thanos-led invasion weaving in/out with Mar-Vell's title, even the Pietro-Crystal wedding a few issues later with FF 150.

When you include characters from different titles in some 'magnificent event', you'd think there would be SOME mention or affirmation that it occurred in the pages of the 'other title', even if it's delagated down to a mere sidenote. This plays to the entire 'Marvel Universe' concept where it's really happening in New York or somewhere familiar and it's all 'one big fun place' to hang out.

I believe the virtue of this battle being self-contained while including heroes from other mags, reduces it's overall resonation.

By comparison, the Galactus Trilogy in FF could be successfully contained because Stan/Jack chose not to include the likes of Thor, Doc Strange, etc.

Granted there's probably dozens of examples which can readibly disprove this train of thought, but it's just a idea..

Doug said...

David, does your "doesn't generate enthusiasm" comment apply to you or across the board? While I don't think this is the best comic book story I've ever read, I certainly do appreciate the scope and scale of Thomas's effort here.

I totally agree with your comment about events in one book being seemingly disregarded or treated even as if they don't happen. At the least, you'd think some of the denizens of the Marvel Universe would keep up with the Daily Bugle. That being said, I cannot abide that the deaths of Gwen Stacy and the Green Goblin weren't huge events even though they garnered no mention throughout the rest of the MU. Also, there's been some love shown the Avengers/Defenders (justifiable so), but the argument about it resonating in the rest of the MU should apply here. Was it ever mentioned in ASM or the FF, or DD's book? Nope. Additionally, that the Avengers/Defenders War was told in two separate titles necessitated that there be two different artists. While I do not dislike Bob Brown, he's below Sal Buscema on my "love 'em" list -- the difference between the Avengers and Defenders installments was jarring for me.

So again, I don't think Kree/Skrull is the next greatest thing to sliced bread, but it was a pretty darn good story. Sure, it has its faults, as you mentioned on the three artists (although if I had to pick 3 BA pencilers I wouldn't feel like I got cheated with the brothers B and Neal Adams!) and the ending feeling rushed. But the overall set-up and escalation is wonderful to me. It's definitely in my top 10 comic book stories, though whether or not it sneaks into the top 5 would require a little meditating on my part.

My thoughts -- not combative in any way, just extending the debate.

Oh, and Matt Celis -- I guess I think of the Kree/Skrull War as the geopolitics of the Marvel Universe. Call it metaphorical if you wish, but the Avengers getting involved in an interstellar skirmish is not unlike headlines we've read over the past 100 years.


Doug said...

Note to all --

In our library of reviews, I'll be updating the links to our reviews as we move through January. If you might recall from last year, when you see a review in the LinkWithin feature that does not say "BAB Classic" in front of it, that post will no longer have a link. Let me clarify --

Let's say two weeks from now when we run an episode of Kree/Skrull War, the LinkWithin feature may show you "Three Cows Shot Me Down - Avengers 89" and "BAB Classic: Three Cows Shot Me Down - Avengers 89". Only the latter will take you to the post we ran today. The former will get you one of those "Link not found" error pages.

Carry on...


david_b said...

Doug, great comments addressed.

I was primarily speaking for myself regarding 'enthusiasm', but there's been a few others here who have made similar mention.

Artists: I didn't mind the virtue of consistant artists on different titles (Avengers stayed with Brown, Defenders stayed with Sal), but to have nearly 4 different artist/inker teams in 5-6 consecutive issues of the SAME title during a single story arc seems a bit much.

Cross-overs: I stressed in my comments that in this adventure 'did' include characters from other titles (FF as witnesses, Mar-Vell) which went unnoticed in their respective books.

In contrast, Gwen's and Gobby's deaths which were by nature self-contained events (ie, they didn't appear in other books or have their own titles..), so there was no need for any further addressing outside the confines of ASM; however, the huge impact of Gwen's loss DID extend into the opening pages of MTU ish 13, Spidey's only other title at that time, which was essential and timely for Peter's character.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss. :)

Doug said...

I think one of the more jarring inter-story art changes was in an Iron Man vs. Namor 2-parter that crossed over between Tales to Astonish #82 and Tales of Suspense #79. As Gene Colan was the penciler on both features, I'm sure the Smiley One thought it would be a great idea. However, in the text included in Marvel's Greatest Superhero Battles, Stan relates that Gentleman Gene fell ill and couldn't finish the conclusion. In stepped Jack Kirby. Wow. Not knocking Kirby at all, but to go from Gene to Jack, especially with Gene doing the first page or two of the conclusion before seguing to Kirby... now that was jarring.

In regard to cosmic stories, I personally enjoy them (especially as relates to Thor) because all rules are thrown to the wind. Out in space, or in other dimensions or whatnot -- the creators can do whatever they want. There's not even a reason for me to have a suspension of disbelief in those settings. I like my street-level, but I appreciate the possibilities of loosing one's imagination as well.


Fred W. Hill said...

In my perception as a fan in the early '70s who "just missed" the Kree-Skrull War, but reading comments about it in letters pages over the next several years, it seemed to be second only to the Galactus Trilogy itself in terms of classic events in comics, or at least Silver Age comics, moving the line far enough to include the KSW. When I did finally read the whole thing for myself (in piecemeal fashion, but eventually I got it all) I did enjoy it and still regard Adams' art in particular as stunning.
It is interesting, tho', that even with all the inter-connectedness of the Marvel Universe, by the very nature of the medium it was only natural that "pocket universes" remained -- after all, the Avengers and Dr. Strange weren't shown getting together with the FF after Galactus' first visit to discuss what to do if he ever did return. And the suspicion that Spider-Man may have been involved in the slaying of Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborne didn't result in any of the old guard superhero community being called on to bring him in, and not counting Luke Cage, I don't recall any even asking Spidey about it when they teamed up with him.
Speaking of which, the Bronze Age accelerated the pocket universe syndrome at Marvel as the Avengers' Big Three more regularly appeared in that mag and their own simultaneously with little effort to correlate them, except when one scribe handled both the group and solo mags. Then, of course, there was Spidey, split firt into two and then three mags and it's gotten much crazier since then. There must be several Spidey & Wolverine clones out there to account for all the different mags they've been appearing in for years now.

Doug said...

Fred and others --

I find now that when I read older comics I care less about continuity and more about getting some bang for my investment of 20 minutes. This is, however, an about-face for me as compared to a reader of these stories when they were new. Maybe older is wiser; now I just want to read a fun tale.


Karen said...

I think in regards to cross-over in other books, you just didn't see much of that at the time this epic was published. We've already discussed the Galactus Trilogy, and certainly the wedding of Sue and Reed affected just about everyone in the Marvel U at that time but you didn't see it mentioned in any other books. Certainly part of the reason, if not all of the reason, for this, was Stan Lee's well-known concern over keeping timelines straight from one book to the next. That's the main reason Roy was working with a bunch of Avengers who didn't have their own books -Stan didn't want to have to explain all the time how Cap could be fighting Kang with the Avengers in that book yet be caught up in a multi-part adventure against the Red Skull over in Tales of Suspense, or how Thor could be in Asgard in his own title, but running around on Earth in the team book, and same goes for Iron Man.

To be honest, I have no problem with a self-contained tale like this. After years of 'big events' where a reader was coaxed into buying dozens of issues, many of titles they wouldn't normally get, in order to get a 'complete' story, it's refreshing to have a story of galaxy-wise conflict snugly packed into 9 issues of one title.

Karen said...

I see Fred commented as I was mid-post (yes, I take a long time to post!) and remarked on the return of the Big Three to the team and how the concerns over their appearances in the team book pretty much disappeared. It's very true and I think it must be connected to Stan's stepping down from the editor position and Roy moving into it. Even before it formally occurred, Roy seemed to assert himself more and more and he began utilizing the Big Three fairly often. By the time he passed the baton to Englehart, the rule was gone. I'd say the benefit of having at least one or two of those characters around outweighed any concerns over continuity.

Humanbelly said...

Okayyyyyyy, okay, okay, okay--

I've gone down and dug out the Kree-Skrull War from, uh, longbox #3. Let me go ahead and actually be an informed participant & do the required reading for the class. . . (grumble, daggone task-masters, mumble grumble)

I do remember reading it in its entirety (more or less) as it was coming out, via borrowed copies. Read it again about 3 years later. Once again back in the late 80's, and then probably again about 10 years or so ago. I've never thought it was perfect, but I have ALWAYS loved it and marveled at its confident ambition and striving to create (and often succeeding at it) a sense of "epic magnitude", as it were, beyond the usual over-the-top hyperbole that Stan & Marvel routinely subjected us all to. Matt, my one thoughtful reply to your awfully easy dismissal of it (beyond simple matters of taste) is that when you mention "these types of stories"-- well, this was really one of the very first. It was certainly charting new waters, which was very, very exciting at the time. And Roy did a commendable job of keeping us engaged with the smaller personal stories even as the major, overwhelming event played out. Where I would kind of agree with your assessment is when SO MANY attempts were made- and are still being routinely made- to capture that lightning in a bottle once again. Bigger Space Opera. MORE Cosmic. HIGHER stakes. There's a complete inability to let the "biggest" thing ever remain so. It ALWAYS has to be supplanted by the next, even bigger thing-- which cheapens ALL big things, of course, and makes them small and dull.

Okay, now I'm gonna read, yessir--


Edo Bosnar said...

Man, we're gonna discuss this story to death in the first post!
Anyway, I have to say that for all of its faults - mainly the sort of unsatisfying ending - I really like the Kree-Skrull War. In fact, I like it better than the Avengers-Defenders war. One thing I really like about it is that it almost has this "making it up as we move along" quality, i.e. it certainly wasn't written with a view to eventual publication in an overpriced reprint book. Instead, the goal was to tell an exciting story, and to insure that each individual 'chapter' (issue) was also exciting and, hmm, complete, if that makes any sense. Above I noted how exciting this particular issue is, and how much stuff happens, and really that can be said about the entire saga - it has everything: aliens making trouble on Earth, a looming intergalactic war, a journey into an android's body, that same android getting all passionate a few issues later, a dust-up with the Mandroids, some action with the Inhumans... And to me, the art is great all the way through, everybody mainly remembers Adams, but the Buscema brothers bookended the saga quite beautifully.

Karen said...

Good point by HB - I know when I read the K-S War, I was blown away, because I'd never experienced anything like it. The impact it had on me was the comic book equivalent of what 'Star Wars' did to kids years later. As both HB and Edo point out, the story took us all over the Marvel Universe and really showed us how expansive it was, but also gave us very personal moments, such as the Vision's growth.

Fred W. Hill said...

I agree, Karen, as long as the story is good I'm not all that concerned about strict continuity regarding what the characters might be doing in other mags the same month. There should be some balancing -- after all, while I wouldn't care that Thor is off in space on his latest Odinquest in his own mag while fighting Kang in the Avengers, it wouldn't sit right if after the Swordsman was killed to have him teaming up with Spider-Man six months later with no explanation (and I'm not talking about the ghostly Cotati doppelganger who married Mantis). Englehart did a nice job of balancing what was going on in Captain America's mag during & after the Secret Empire story with his appearances in the Avengers as he was writing both strips. I think it would have bothered me if another writer had been on the Avengers, with Cap appearing all along with no mention of his legal problems and then quitting being Cap altogether in his own strip. On the other hand, I was getting tired of all the mega-events involving dozens of mags back in the mid-80s, before things really went crazy.
These days my comics habit is limited to trades and I really want the full story -- so if there's gonna be a crossover, they'd dang well better include whatever issues came from other titles!

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