Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hulk Smash Avengers (part 2)

This is the wrap-up of the last two issues of Hulk Smash Avengers. It’s worth buying, but you can probably wait for a digital sale or half-price bin. These are evergreen books that will hold up whenever you read them. They can also be read in just about any order!

HSA #4 is probably my favorite book in the series. Jim McCann and Augustin Padilla show off the West Coast Avengers. I never appreciated the West Coast book enough as a kid, so now I love seeing this team put together. The team is Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Tigra, Wonder Man (Hollywood era), and the best Iron Man ever, the Silver Centurion Iron Man. The Hulk is in his Mr. Fixit grey phase, but he holds out pretty well against the WCA all the same. Padilla does a decent job, but man, it would have been great to see a more classic style artist on this book. I’m not sure why they didn’t try to ape the original art a bit more. This is worth it just to see the old team back together, and McCann has the best take on Hawkeye that I’ve read in years, so this is a great value.

HSA #5 is the modern-era Mighty Avengers by Fred Van Lente and Michael Avon Oeming. That’s Iron Man, Wonder Man, Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, and the Sentry. Again, I love this team, but boy do they feel like a product of their time and place. This is post-Civil War Iron Man, when everyone was treating him like a villain. It was entertaining at the time, but really annoying to read now. I do like the Mighty line-up (although where the heck is Wasp? We don’t see her much these days already!) Sentry smashes a lot, and I was pleased that Van Lente dodged any mention of Sentry’s eventual fate; he just seems like a big blonde hero. Black Widow is great, and Ms. Marvel is at her best in this era. (I still like her and Wonder Man as a couple, too bad that got broken up.) The Red Hulk plays a bit closer to his modern incarnation here; we know that he’s basically a good guy who likes pounding on heroes. I really like Oeming’s Avengers, its neat reading so many issues of Powers where he’s basically riffing on the classics, and then seeing him do such a good job on the real thing in books like this. This is probably the second-best of the Hulk Smash series.

Overall, this is a great little mini for fans of Marvel’s history. I’d rank them 4, 5, 3, 1, 2, but all are worth picking up.

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