Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hulk Smash Avengers (part 1)

I like these high-concept minis starring characters as I grew up with them. (Well, some of these Avengers are the same as when I grew up; some obviously pre-date me by a bit!) With books like these, it really is fine to buy one issue and not buy the others, so I’m going to run through them individually in case folks were curious.

HSA #1 is by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz (with Sal Buscema). The lineup in this one is Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man, Wasp, and Rick Jones. This is a brawl, plain and simple, although DeFalco fills every bit of panel space with heroes pontificating about their situations. It’s written in a very old-school style, but more for nostalgia than out of a mistrust of the artist (for that see any 80’s X-book!). I absolutely love the Frenz/Buscema combo, and this book has them rocking the Enchantress, Executioner, and Baron Zemo. Can’t miss for fans of classic material. Recommended.

HSA #2 is the work of Joe Casey and Max Fiumara. The roster is Cap, Wasp, Iron Man, Beast, and Hawkeye. I know this is going to brand me as a heretic, but I don’t care for Fiumara’s art. The elongated faces and noodle-y bodies just don’t do it for me. The story plays during the whole Henry Peter Gyrich era of the team when the government was deciding the line-up. Casey has some interesting stuff to say, but I’m afraid the art turned me off a bit. Not required reading.

HSA #3 by Roger Stern and Karl Moline is a weird one. The team is Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Thor, and Wasp. This is the Avengers team of my youth, and I really wanted to like this more than I did. The Hulk/Avengers scenes are all really well done, and it is fantastic seeing the Monica Rambeau CM again. She-Hulk belongs on the team too, and it’s great seeing this roster working together. But Stern uses an odd framing device with real creators John Buscema and Mark Gruenwald that took me out of the story. If you love 80’s Avengers, this is still worth checking out, but be warned its’ a tad odd.

To Be Continued (tomorrow!)

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