Thursday, July 02, 2009

Single Issue Hall of Fame: Avengers #19

How can I possible induct a story that ends on a cliffhanger to the Hall of Fame? Well, it's quite simple, really. I owned this comic book for nearly 20 years before finally reading the follow up. While the ending certainly does leave you on the edge of your seat, there's more than enough in here to keep a reader coming back again and again. That's certainly the effect it had on me. There's some very strong characterization here - as we get the sense that Captain America is champing at the bit to go work for Nick Fury. He seems ready to leave this gang of second generation Avengers behind in his wake. We're also introduced to the rather menacing Swordsman, whose main power seems to be his bravado. A snippet of Hawkeye's origin is told and it certainly adds a layer of depth to the story. Ultimately, Cap is distracted by his career ambitions and is caught in a trap. At the very end, he's falling from a tall building (did he jump or was he pushed?) with the Avengers watching helplessly. Personally, I think this was Don Heck's finest moment on the title as I think he worked much better without Kirby's layouts.


Argo Plummer said...

Two points:

1) I can certainly appreciate putting an issue with a cliff hanger in your single issue hall of fame. I owned Adventure Comics # 346 (Jim Shooter's first story, intro of Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, Nemesis Kid, and Ferro Lad and a cliffhanger involving a Khundian invasion and Legion traitor) for several years (not twenty) before I found the conclusion and that issue definitely has a place in my heart and was very influential in my own collecting.

2) As for the issue you reference, yes this is a great issue. I read it for the first time in one of Marvel's reprint magazines in the 70's. I love this period of the Avengers and this issue is one of the best. I know this is heresy, but I'm not a huge fan of early 60's Marvel. I think both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are highly overrated (for their talent, not for their contributions to the world of comics) and most of the stuff from this time leaves me cold, even if I recognize it's historical importance. However, the run on Avengers that began with # 16 is different for me. I love these stories and will reread them every couple of years. Good choice.

Scott M said...

I agree that the post-16 run is better than the pre-16 run. Woody inking Heck was also awesome. Here's some more heresy to add to your Kirby/Lee comment. I'm not a huge fan of the first 10 or so isseus of the John Buscema. Don Heck simply rocks - 'nuff said.