Avengers Classic #1 is an interesting re-reading before the monster movie premiere this week. Interesting, because the book is designed after X-Men Classic and Classic X-Men. Avengers Classic was a reprint series featuring remastered versions of classic Avengers stories. Like a comic book version of a Blu-Ray re-release of a television series or movie.
Avengers Classic features a "mighty" new cover by Arthur "Art" Adams, known for his work on X-Men Classic and Classic X-Men, Angel and the Ape, Monkeyman and O'Brien, and Hellboy among other things. Like Classic X-Men before it, Adams' Avengers Classic #1 cover features EVERY Marvel character that has ever been an Avenger - and nearly EVERY Marvel character has been an Avenger at one time or another.
The back cover features the classic first issue cover.
This new number one features the classic origin story, "The Coming of The Avengers!" by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, inked by Dick Ayers and lettered by Sam Rosen. It's a brilliantly wacky origin story. It's fun! Loki wants revenge against Thor, so he makes The Hulk destroy a train trestle hoping that Thor will appear and fight The Hulk. Loki continues to manipulate things by diverting a message from The Hulk's sidekick, Rick Jones, and his Teen Brigade, so that it only reaches Thor. Loki is unaware that it also reaches Ant-Man and The Wasp, as well as Iron Man, before it reaches the Fantastic Four as Rick had originally intended. When Reed Richards does finally answer Rick's ham radio call, Jones tells Richards that Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man and The Wasp are ALREADY there. Loki draws Thor back to Asgard with a phantom image of The Hulk, while the other follow a sighting to a nearby circus. It's hilarious that The Hulk would think of hiding out as a robot wearing clown makeup in a circus. The fight between The Hulk and Iron Man with Ant-Man and The Wasp is pretty cool. So is the fight between Thor and Loki. Thor brings Loki to Earth to clear up the misunderstanding surrounding The Hulk. Big mistake. Loki turns himself radioactive! The Wasp and Ant-Man save the day by trapping Loki in a lead-lined tank. After saving the day, the five individual heroes decide to work together as a team and call themselves - The Avengers!
The first back-up story, "Some Assembly Required" by the late Dwayne McDuffie and Michael Avon Oeming, presents a contentious first meeting. The Wasp's man-hunter nature feels a bit dated, but it is fun to watch organized chaos as the team's personalities clash. "The Avengers get together for their very first meeting...and wackiness ensues!"
Stan Lee and Kevin Maguire's "The REAL Origin Of The Avengers" is a wacky romp that doesn't just break down the fourth wall - it smashes it, shreds it, then bags it up and sets it out at the curb with the rest of the trash. After their first encounter together, a triumphant Stan Lee is waiting for the team back at Avengers Mansion. he manages to congratulate them nearly as much as sprain his arm patting himself on the back. The individual heroes come off just as cocky and arrogant as Stan.
The only disappointment is the cover price. Just twelve cents for the original twenty-two page story. Now, $3.99. Still this is a more affordable way to enjoy the original than a Marvel Masterworks hardcover or maybe an Essentials trade paperback.
Getting ready for The Avengers opening this weekend? Can't go wrong by tracking down a copy of Avengers Classic #1.