A review by captwinghead
Avengers Assemble, Vol. 1, by Jim Lee, Olivier Coipel, Chuck Austen, Steve Epting, Brian Michael Bendis, Roger Stern, Paul Ryan, Manuel García, Andy Kubert, Carlos Pacheco, Stuart Immonen, Richard Howell, Rick Remender, Mark Waid, Steve Englehart, George Pérez, Scott Kolins, Scott Lobdell, Jeph Loeb, Norm Breyfogle, Mark Bagley, Alan Davis, Joe Edkin, Dan Jurgens, Gary Frank, Ian Churchill, Fabian Nicieza, Sean Chen, Geoff Johns, John Ostrander, Kieron Dwyer, Kurt Busiek, Roy Thomas, Brent Anderson, Mike Grell, Bruce Timm, Steve Sadowski, Ivan Reis, David Finch, Derec Donovan


4.5 stars (because that annual was such a treat!)

After searching around for a great Avengers series to read after the first 2 Marvel Masterworks volumes of the 1963 run, Busiek was exactly what I needed. He mastered the delicate art of how to do an Avengers team book without the 3 cardinal sins: Misogyny, Lack of Representation and Choosing Plot over Character Development. This book has everything: great use of female characters, actual stakes, character moments for just about every character and interesting plot devices.

If you asked me which character shined the most in this book, I'd tell you it was, without a doubt, Wanda Maximoff. Not only was she given the biggest arc, she was written well. She wasn't just here to be rescued or to be the object of desire (although that sort of was part of her plot). She saves the Avengers' asses several times, comes into her powers, finds out more about her origin story and she has agency throughout this book. For an Avengers book written by a man, that is HUGE! This reminds me why I love Kurt Busiek's writing. Although, I must note, I wish someone had stepped into the writers' room to inform them that gy*sy is a slur and shouldn't be used.

I wish there was a little more Iron Man in this book but I enjoyed seeing Cap working closely with and trusting. It reminds me of how the old comics enjoyed showing them as a partnership that loved and trusted each other before Millar came along and made them fight for drama points. In fact, what I loved the most about going back to read old Avengers books was seeing a team that likes and works together. They ribbed each other sometimes (dear god, Clint had something to say about every single thing Cap did) but deep down, they protected and loved each other. It was never mean spirited and it was never just for the sake of one-liners. These old books make me look at all of Marvel's work post 2004 and ask "What the hell happened?"

Anyway, this is most definitely a recommend from me. I don't know much about Firestar, Justice and Wonder Man but this book made me want to. That annual about Jarvis' was so well written and such a treasure for me because Jarvis has been so underutilized from 2004 on, really. This was such a fun series and I look forward to finishing it.

4.5 stars.