Saturday, June 27, 2015

Avengers 300 - The Revenge ( finally ) !

Because my last posts have all been DC - centric with lots of stuff about Superman and the Justice League of America I thought it´s about time to spice things up a little before my next JLA casting post goes online. So I went through all the stuff I have already lined up for upcoming posts and decided to go with something I already attempted twice : Avengers 300.

Which is the reason why you see the italian version of the Avengers 300 cover above and not the original one. I try not to post the same images again and again and since I already posted the original cover and the german version as well as the cover from the Netherlands this was the only one left. Maybe that´s too big an effort for some people but I think my readers might get a kick out of seeing all these different versions.


This all started way back in March 2014 when I got the X - MEN : INFERNO CROSSOVERS HC omnibus at amazon for half price ( that´s the only way to afford these expensive doorstoppers and the only one where I paid full price because it was only available at one online comic shop was SECRET WARS II ) which reminded me of my love for this particular crossover. Now when last we talked about INFERNO I covered the excellent AVENGERS 298 which was a story mainly focused on Jarvis as the only one upholding the ideals of the Avengers. One of THE best " done in one " Avengers issues that clearly shows the opportunities such a company wide crossover event like INFERNO offers. The issue has my utmost recommendation and if you want to know more about it you can go back and check out my post on it.

So for the next post I decided to skip AVENGERS issue 299 and go directly to the big anniversary issue because I thought it deserves a post of its own. I even went so far as to dig out my physical copy of the issue even though it is contained in the omnibus. But the omnibus only has the main story and not all of the extra material which is what this post is all about.

Anyway, that was the plan but as usual I got sidetracked on two occasions. On the first one I wrote more about the fact that the biggest part of the INFERNO crossover was not published in Germany despite the fact that it´s such a big part in resolving storylines dating back 20 years and the art crimes to humanity Condor Verlag committed on the german covers. 

And the second post was more about some old comics I came across while preparing for the post which landed on my " to read " pile on my desk.


Which is one of the reasons why I´m trying to finally wrap things up with AVENGERS 300. Ever since I decided to make the post about it my copy of the issue has been lying on my desk along with the folder where I keep my scattered Avengers issues between 227 and 370. And now that there is the possibility I might get my new shelf porn ( porn shelf ? ) in the next two months I should get done with it so I can put these away. Yes, I´m saying there is a possibility because once again the gods had their fun with me. This Wednesday I was a micron away from finally getting my new shelf porn. After almost two months of sending e - mails, making phone calls and drinking lots of beer I managed to set a date for delivery and assembly of my new bookshelf ( since I can´t do this myself because of my bad knee ) and it really was delivered. I hadn´t slept much since the day before I had physio and then my brother needed me to write an e - mail very late. Now I don´t mind writing e - mails for other people but I was trying to avoid to go on the internet because every time I fire up the laptop it gets until six o´clock in the morning until I can turn it off again.

This time was no exception but it was not that bad because even though the trucking company had said they would come around two o´clock in the afternoon my experience with handymen told me that six o´clock would be a more realistic time. So I slept in late, had time to clean and wipe my room and had just finished eating dinner while watching a few episodes of the new iZOMBIE series when the handymen arrived around six - ish.

Everything was starting to look perfect so the Chaos Lords had to through a monkey wrench into it to prevent me from getting my desk sorted out.

Which they decided to do by breaking the lateral sides of my bookshelf during transportation which we only found out halfway during assembly. And since it makes no sense to assemble a bookshelf that is going to break as soon as you put a book in it I´m sitting here with a the unbroken parts of my bookshelf waiting for a new delivery date since the new parts have to be ordered while my desk keeps looking like a mess for another two to five weeks depending on how quick the hauler can get new parts.


Okay, back to AVENGERS 300, as I wrote in one of my earlier posts, it´s a 64 page spectacular ( eight pages of ads ) which you could purchase back then for the price of only 1.75 US dollars and I bet you can still get it at some comic shops for that price - or at least much less than the 4 bucks you pay for the 22 pages of comic story entertainment from the big two.

IF you can call what they publish nowadays entertainment. But this post is not about bemoaning the current state of comics. When AVENGERS 300 was printed - February 1989 - there were also CAPTAIN AMERICA 350 and THOR 400 ( both 64 pages specials ), in March there were INFERNO tie - ins NEW MUTANTS 73, UNCANNY X - MEN 242 and X - FACTOR 38 ( all three 48 page specials ), in May WEB OF SPIDER - MAN 50 came out which was another 48 page special, and then there were the ATLANTIS ATTACKS annuals : X - MEN, SILVER SURFER, IRON MAN in August, AMAZING SPIDER - MAN, SPECTACULAR SPIDER - MAN, DAREDEVIL, PUNISHER in September, AVENGERS, NEW MUTANS, X - FACTOR in October and WEB OF SPIDER - MAN, FANTASTIC FOUR, AVENGERS WEST COAST and THOR in November, clocking in at a whopping 64 pages each. What I want to show with this list is that 1989 was a good year for collectors of extra - sized issues.

Now I can´t speak for the quality of all of the ATLANTIS ATTACKS issues since I have only read some of them and those were not overwhelming.

From what I heard about the story in reviews it´s not Marvel´s most well received crossover but when you look at the pages per dollar ratio I don´t think you can complain. And I have read all the other specials from that year and they were all good. I´ll probably do another post on THOR 400 and maybe CAPTAIN AMERICA and from the looks of it also another about AVENGERS 300. I lost two hours trying to get access to the picture of my desk that was on my camera so I will have to wrap things up for Today.


First in AVENGERS 300 is a forty page story that begins with Kang drifting through the time stream on the brink of being erased from existence.

His only chance of salvation ? Ensure that a new team of the Avengers is formed. Now while issue 298 was a great standalone issue this one ( and Kang ) is mainly focused on moving the necessary players from a to b with the goal of introducing the new Avengers team at the end of the story.

So there are a few opportunities missed here and the artwork also is not consistent throughout the issue. Since John Buscema is listed with layouts and Tom Palmer with finishes it´s not hard to guess that some pages were probably done more fully by Buscema while others - especially towards the end - are mostly Palmer´s doing. Despite that there´s not much to nitpick apart from that and John Buscema gives us one of the best renditions of the best thing to come out of the INFERNO storyline : The Goblin Queen.

While Madelyne Prior was a supporting character in the x - books for quite a long time her actual stint as the Goblin Queen was rather shortlived.

She only appeared in two brink moments prior ( no pun intended ) to the INFERNO story where she met her demise at the end. Nevertheless she appeared in quite a number of stories afterwards - in alternate realities or the likes - which shows that she has become quite popular. I wager this is not in the smallest part due to the sexy outfit Marc Silvestri designed.

There also seem to be quite a few cosplayers who like the character since I found various dressed as her. Here´s one with Belle Chere and some guy ( sorry, but I could not find your name ) dressing up as Mister Sinister.


Okay, coming back to the Avengers in this story I have already mentioned that Sue and Reed Richards don´t stay very long with Sue only hanging on until issue 203 while her hubby already jumped ship with issue 202.

You have Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm guest starring in issue 203 but that´s the last we see of the Fantastic Four on that title for quite some time. Then there is Gilgamesh but I think I have already said more about that character than he deserves. If there is anything I feel like adding I will probably do that in the next INFERNO CROSSOVERS installment. Now before going to the rest of the issue I wanted to talk about the difference in quality from my original copy to the reprinted version in the omnibus edition. Here is the final page of the main story as penciled and inked.

This is how the page looks in a regular copy of AVENGERS issue 300.

And here the recolored version from the INFERNO CROSSOVERS omnibus.

Now in my book that´s a pretty good color job like most of the reprinted material I got from Marvel. There are some that prefer the original more muted and atmospheric colors to the digitally remastered brighter colors.

And I have to admit that at first I was taken aback by the coloring of the X - MEN : INFERNO PROLOGUE omnibus HC but after a few times leaving through the tome ( I´ll have to wait with reading it until I can lay it down on my desk ) it looks better and better. Now I don´t want to pimp these omnibus, especially since they are currently at ridiculous prices at amazon ( I´m really glad I bought them when I did ) but so far there are very few instances where I have encountered or heard of bad coloring concerning these new editions. Sadly the first has to do with one the best periods of Thor and it seems they just can´t get it right when the hammer dude is involved. They already did a bubble gum coloring job on the new edition of Jack Kirby´s TALES OF ASGARD that was reprinted a while back. Since I don´t have an actual copy I can´t make a qualified statement but from what I saw on RIP JAGGER`S DOJO I doubt that I will like it very much. 

I think for all the comic geek chique types who just want to hop on the comic bandwagon and want to impress others with their Thor cred or comic readers who just want to read the stories and aren´t necessarily interested that much in the art this is a good way to experience this.

But if you are a diehard fan of Jack Kirby and his art this is really not the book to buy as too much of his line work gets buried by the new coloring.

What this all leads up to is the THOR BY WALTER SIMONSON omnibus books where they also redid the color. Now I have two of the MARVEL VISIONARIES trades that reprint Simonson´s Thor and I have to say I´m not against polishing up the original colors a bit like in this example.

But I also got the first Hachette book with the WALTER Simonson THOR from the Marvel Collection that is sold at newsstands and the coloring is so heavy handed that it buries the artwork. It´s one of the reasons why I haven´t gotten any of the new THOR BY WALTER SIMONSON trades since I fear that is the coloring they used there and if that is also the coloring on the omnibus books I really can only warn you not to buy them. Especially considering the exorbitant prices at which the omnibus are currently sold.

And for more on this subject check out the highly interesting post ON MATTERS OF ( RE ) COLOR on NOT A HOAX ! NOT A DREAM ! Thanks !


Okay, time to wrap things up. After the main story we have four pages of the AVENGERS MEMBERSHIP checklist with headshot pictures by John Byrne that lists all issues the members have appeared in up to issue 300. 

This even includes one full page with the support personnel from Avengers Mansion like the butler Jarvis or Fabian Stankowicz a.k.a. the Machinist. 

Speaking of Jarvis, next we have two pages of profile on everyone´s favorite gentleman´s gentleman followed by two pages of letters which include all the different Avengers logos and finally a chart of Avengers Park. And this brings us to the final highlight of this issue : a 7 page story retelling the foundation of the Avengers thanks to the mischievious Loki´s plan to destroy Thor, beautifully rendered by Walter Simonson.

So to recapitulate here we have a 64 page comic that contains a 40 page Avengers story by one of the best art combos on the title, John Buscema and Tom Palmer, 9 pages of extras like letters pages, character profiles, checklists and such and finally a great 7 page comic by Walter Simonson.

And all this for below two bucks. So my tip for all those readers out there who are frustrated by the NEW 52 or Disney´s constant rehashing of 80s and 90s crossover events is to get to those back issue bins and dig for some 80s and 90s Marvel comics. I mean, do you rather want to spend your money on the originals ( and issues like AVENGERS 300 are cheap since there are thousands of that available, don´t let any comic shop owner tell you otherwise ) or pay twice as much for cheap knockoffs ?

And with that we finally end this part about AVENGERS 300. I will write more about the story in the next INFERNO CROSSOVERS installment that will probably continue where we left off with issue 299 but for Today I´m already several hours past my anticipated deadline so I will get me some breakfast cereals and add the usual bell and whistles to this post later.


A big part of Today´s post was about Thor so here are some links for that. Matthew David Surridge over at BLACK GATE Adventures in Fantasy Literature has a post on THE KING OF ASGARD : JACK KIRBY`S THOR and Julian Darius at the SEQUART ORGANISATION explains HOW " TALES OF ASGARD " CHANGED EVERYTHING . MARS WILL SEND NO MORE has pages from Thor 339 and the complete issue of Thor 380 which is the all splash page issue of Thor vs the Midgard Serpent for which Walter Simonson returned one final time to pencils. Mike Huddleston at COMICBOOKDAILY invites us to MEET BETA RAY BILL  in a post that covers issues 337 to 340 and includes a few original black and white pages and KANDOU ERIC´S blog about Comics, Japanese Stuff and More has a retrospective about Walter Simonson´s Thor. And we finally have another Top Ten list as COMICBOOK:COM offers A RETURN TO ASGARD : 10 GREAT MOMENTS FROM WALTER SIMONSON`S THOR . And the usual thanks go out to all who helped make this post possible by posting pictures or information.

We start our video section with the first part of PRISONERS OF GRAVITY´s episode about Thor co - creator Jack Kirby. I don´t think I posted this yet.

We also continue our series of comic documentaries with the first part of ONCE UPON A TIME : THE SUPER HEROES. It´s an oldie but goodie.

The next one is about CAPITAN TRUENO, one of the most famous spanish comics. I initially wanted to wait until the right topic comes around but since I´m tired of waiting I´m posting it now. Es mi barrio, paisano.

And since this post is about the Avengers and I mentioned cosplay how about a video that combines both like ULTRON FUNK ? I still haven´t seen AGE OF ULTRON so I can´t watch it myself ( are there spoilers ? ) but the Black Widow´s awesome cleavage alone is worth the price of admission.

Talking about awesome things I´m two episodes away from finishing up the first season of iZOMBIE and I really CANNOT recommend it enough.

It is based on the comic by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred and they changed quite a few things. Which in my opinion is good because who wants to watch the exact same thing he already read as a comic on tv ?

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best


Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Ahh. Long posts. Real men -REAL men- are distinguishable by their "long posts"! Now, it should be "shelf porn" -ie.a shelf where you put your little indulgences or nick-nacks. "Porn shelf" (why I got confused previously) is where you put your porn.
And, sorry, but did that demon refer to the other as "Klytus"...someone at Marvel being a bit naughty?
I am NOT a big fan of the computer colouring on some old books. The Avengers Masterworks have nice, clear colours which, if Marvel had been using expensive printers back in the day, is how they would have looked. But that really was a butchery job on the Kirby page. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Good post!

SUBZERO said...

Yes, and I had to cut it short because I didn´t have the time to go into the story of Avengers 300 in detail.

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

I noticed. One day........?