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The Avengers Debut! A Comic Book Review of the Marvel Masterworks Collection!

Updated on August 30, 2017

Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Ant-Man and the Wasp Unite!

The Avengers Volume 1 was one of the first four collections when Marvel Comics began publishing its Marvel Masterworks series in 1987. Since then the company has come out with new editions and reprints that vary, contain fewer stories or bonus material, and have different covers. This review will focus on the 2003 trade paperback version that Marvel published in partnership with Barnes & Noble, as that is the book I am holding in my hands! ISBN: 0785108831

The Coming Of The Avengers!

This Marvel Masterworks volume contains the first 10 issues of The Avengers, which debuted in 1963 when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought together Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp to battle Thor's evil half-brother Loki. From the start Lee and Kirby seemed determined to throw everything into the series but the kitchen sink. The membership began changing in the second issue, a tradition that has continued until today.

Each adventure veers wildly from scene to scene, with the characters always racing off somewhere and the fights being over-the-top in the Kirby style. Ant-Man becomes Giant-Man, Iron Man changes his suit, the Hulk leaves and then is chased by the other Avengers, leading to a fight with the Sub-Mariner. And that's only the first three issues!

One gets the sense when reading this books that Stan and Jack were having a lot of fun, and that joy is evident throughout.This is a great collection for anybody who loves old comics!

Buy This Book on Amazon!

Amazon offers various editions of Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Vol. 1. So take your pick!

Captain America Joins...The Avengers!

Avengers No. 4 is easily the most important of the stories collected in this volume, even more than the debut of the team in the first issue. Given the unimaginative title ''Captain America Joins...The Avengers!'', Lee and Kirby re-introduce the comic-book character from the 1940s (Kirby was co-creator of Captain America back then).

Captain America had been in suspended animation, frozen in a block of ice, since the final days of World War II, and he recounts how his young partner Bucky had been killed trying to disarm a Nazi missile (Lee has said that he killed off Bucky because he simply disliked kid sidekicks).

This had a huge impact on the series, because the grief-stricken Captain America almost immediately became the emotional center of the book, with his search for his old WWII enemy Baron Zemo pushing the storyline. (The scene shown here is from Avengers No. 6, included in this Marvel Masterworks, of course!) Captain America would go on to become one of Marvel's most-popular characters in the decades since his reappearance.

The Ten Initial Adventures!

The first 10 issues of the Avengers were so action-packed it would be hard to capture the flavor and drama of the stories on one short paragraph, so I've decided to list each issue separately. Enjoy!

  1. Avengers No. 1: The team comes together after Loki use the Hulk in a diabolical plot against his half-brother Thor. Best scene is when the Hulk hides out at a circus dressed as a clown!
  2. Avengers No. 2: Ant-Man becomes Giant-Man as the Space Phantom disguises himself as The Hulk to fight the rest of the Avengers. At the end of the issue, The Hulk resigns from the team because he says the others hate him.
  3. Avengers No. 3: Iron Man debuts his familiar red-and-yellow suit as the Avengers try to track down The Hulk. The Hulk teams up with the Sub-Mariner for a wild battle with the heroes!
  4. Avengers No. 4: The Avengers, still looking for The Hulk, come across Captain America frozen in a block of ice. There's a return bout with the Sub-Mariner as the Avengers help repair a spaceship so an alien can go home.
  5. Avengers No. 5: The Avengers fight the Lava Men, foes of Thor, with the help of The Hulk!
  6. Avengers No. 6: Baron Zemo, the Nazi whose plans put Captain America in the deep-freeze and killed Bucky, leads the Masters of Evil (The Black Knight, The Mysterious Melter, and the Radioactive Man) against the Avengers in an attempt to destroy Captain America!
  7. Avengers No. 7: Baron Zemo joins forces with the Executioner and the Enchantress to fight the Avengers.
  8. Avengers No. 8: The Avengers fight Kang the Conqueror from the future. Kang would later become one of the Avengers most enduring foes. This is the last issue that Kirby drew.
  9. Avengers No. 9: Baron Zemo tries once more for vengeance, and with the aid of The Executioner, The Enchantress plants ally Wonder Man in the Avengers ranks to betray the team from within. Wonder Man turns against Baron Zemo and seemingly dies in the end (Actually, Wonder Man would return a dozen years later). Don heck took over as the artist of the series with this issue.
  10. Avengers No. 10: Baron Zemo, the Executioner and the Enchantress (yes, once again!) team up with Immortus to battle the Avengers!

Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and Wasp!

In 1963 Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought together a quintet of Marvel Comics' finest super-heroes to create The Avengers. New members joined the team over the years, and at times each of the original members took leaves of absence. But the founding Avengers are still some of the best characters that Marvel has ever produced and they are still going strong decades later! The original line-up above is taken from the first page of Avengers No. 1, as included in the Marvel Masterworks book.

Who is the Greatest of the Original Avengers? Why?

See results

Marvel Masterworks vs. Marvel Essentials

The Marvel Masterworks series has fewer stories in each book, but they are published in wonderful full-color that presents the tales in all their original glory. The Marvel Essentials series of books publish the stories in black-and-white, on lesser quality paper, but each collection contains more than twice as many stories.

Is the Marvel Masterworks series better than the Marvel Essentials series? Why or Why Not?

The Avengers with Rick Jones

Here is a shot of the Avengers from the Marvel Masterworks showing how within a few issues of the comic's debut the cast of characters had changed: The Hulk left, to be replaced by Captain America; Giant-Man replaced Ant-Man; Rick Jones became an unofficial mascot; and Iron Man changed his suit of armor.

Comic Book Heaven!

Check out Geppi's Entertainment Museum!

If you are a fan of comic books then you should visit Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore. Founded by Stephen Geppi, president and chief executive officer of Diamond Comics Distributors, this place has one of the best comic-book collections on display anywhere! I wrote a separate lens on Geppi's that provides more details on the museum. Please check it out!

Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore: A Tourist's Guide to Comic Book Heaven!
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Captain America in the 1960s: A Marvel Comic Book Review
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The Avengers in the Late 1960s: A Marvel Comics Review!
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X-Men Reborn in the 1970s: Storm and Nightcrawler Debut, plus Wolverine!
Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 highlights the rebirth of the team in 1975-1976, reprinting Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 and X-Men No. 94-100. Promote...

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Captain America's 1960s Adventures in Color: A Marvel Comics Review
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Spider-Man in the 1970s! A Marvel Comics Book Review
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A Review of the New York Comic Convention 2011

Thousands of Comic Book Fans in One Place!

One of the big highlights of the 2011 comic convention in New York was the stand devoted to The Avengers movie as well as the accompanying panel with some of the actors that star in it. My daughter and I were able to attend the convention, and wrote a review of our day there. It was a blast, and we highly recommend a visit to the convention next year for any true comic book fan!

New York Comic Con + Anime Festival: A Comic Book Fan's Review!
The New York Comic Book Convention occurred Oct. 13-16, 2011, and coupled with the New York Anime Festival, drew more than 100,000 comic-book fans, video gam...

Order The Avengers Movie Today!

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man: A Review of the 1970s Marvel Comics Series!
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man first appeared at the end of 1976, and was a comic book aimed at cashing in on the growing popularity of Spider-Man....

The Mighty Thor Debuts: Highlights of His First Marvel Masterworks Collection
Thor, one of Marvel Comics' mightiest heroes, debuted 50 years ago in a comic book called Journey into Mystery. One of the Marvel Universe's earliest charact...

The Ghost Rider Debuts! A Marvel Comic Book Review
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Of Comic Books and Family Vacations

Who Are Goldenrulecomics?

For more about who we are and where we've traveled, please see here:

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Here's your chance to discuss this book, Spider-Man, comic books, this lens or anything else on your mind! Thanks for stopping by!


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