Sunday, 6 May 2012

Avengers: Greatest Stories Ever Told

Here it is Avengers fans, the greatest stories ever told about Earth's Mightiest Heroes as selected by yours truly.  Dig them out and read them again or track them down and read them for the first time. Thirty tales listed in chronological order:

The Coming of the Avengers, #1, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, September 1963

Hulk and Sub-Mariner ,#3, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, January 1964

Captain America Lives Again, #4, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, March 1964

Masters of Evil, #6, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, July 1964

The Coming of the Wonder Man, #9, Stan Lee and Don Heck, October 1964

The Old Order Changeth ,#16, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers, May 1965
The Coming of The Swordsman/Vengeance is Ours, #19 - #20, Stan Lee and Don Heck, August 1965 - September 1965

Once an Avenger/From the Ashes of Defeat, #23 - #24, Stan Lee and Don Heck, December 1965 - January 1966

Sons of The Serpent, #33 - #34, Stan Lee and Don Heck, October 1966 - November 1966

The New Masters of Evil, #54 - #55, Roy Thomas and John Buscema, July 1968 - August 1968

Death Be Not Proud, #56, Avengers Annual #2, Roy Thomas and John Buscema, September 1968

Behold....The Vision/Even an Android Can Cry,  #57 - #58, Roy Thomas and John Busema, October 1968 - November 1968

The Wedding of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, #59 - #60, Roy Thomas and John Buscema, December 1968 - January 1969

The Great Betrayal, #66 - #68, Roy Thomas and Barry Smith, July 1969 - August 1969

Enter the Squadron Sinister, #69 - #71, Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema, October 1969 - November 1969

The Squadron Supreme, #85 - #86, Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Buscema and Sal Buscema, February 1971 - March 1971

The Kree/Skrull War, #89 - #97, Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, Neal Adams and John Buscema, June 1971 - March 1972

The Avengers/Defenders War, #115 - #118, Defenders #8 - #11 Steve Englehart, Bob Brown and Sal Buscema, September 1973 - December 1973

The Celestial Madonna, #129 - #135, Giant Size Avengers #2 - #4 Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, Joe Staton and George Tuska, November 1974 - May 1975

The Sepent Crown, #141 - #144, #147 - #148, Steve Englehart and George Perez, November 1975 - June 1976

Graviton, #158 - #159, Jim Shooter, Sal Buscema and Pablo Marcos, April 1977 - May 1977

The Trial, #160, Jim Shooter and George Perez, June 1977

The Bride of Ultron, #161 - #162, Jim Shooter and George Perez, July 1977 - August 1977

Nefaria Supreme, #164 - #166, Jim Shooter and John Byrne, October 1977 - December 1977

The Korvac Saga, #167 - #168, #170 - #177, Jim Shooter, Roger Stern, David Michelinie, Bill Mantlo, George Perez, Sal Buscema, Klaus Janson and Dave Wenzel, January 1978 - November 1978

Nights of Wundagore, #181 - #187, David Michelinie, Mark Gruenwald, Steven Grant, John Byrne, Gene Day and Klaus Janson,  March 1979 - September 1979

The Fall of Hank Pym, #211 - #213, #217, #221 - #222, #224, #227 - #230, Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, Steven Grant, Alan Zelenetz, Roger Stern, Gene Colan, Alan Kupperberg, Bob Hall, Greg LaRocque, Mark Bright, Sal Buscema and Al Milgrom,  September 1981 -  April 1983

The Molecule Man, #215 - #216, Jim Shooter and Alan Weiss, January 1982 - February 1982

Under Siege ,#273 - #277, Roger Stern and John Buscema, November 1986 - March 1987

The Olympus War, #281 - #285, Roger Stern and John Buscema, July 1987 - November 1987

That is my top thirty, have I missed out one of your favourites?  If so, let me know!


  1. Avengers King Size Special #1 (aka Avengers Annual #1) (Sept. 1967) was a personal favorite. It was (as Commander Benson pointed out in an April 2010 blog post) a throwback to the kind of stories DC had been doing in Justice League in the early sixties. Maybe that's what I liked about it. I was more of a DC fan anyway.

    1. Avengers King Size Special #1 was certainly a riff on the JLA/JSA team-ups wasn't it!

  2. Avengers #16 was kind of surprising in changing the members. Presumably, sales were good, so you would think the publisher would say, "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it." The most common explanation is that Stan wanted members who did not have their own solo strips in other titles. That way, he no longer had to deal with questions like, "How can Thor be in New York with the Avengers fighting Zemo when in Journey into Mystery, he's in Asgard fighting trolls?" (Cross-continuity may have been more of a problem for Marvel than DC. Most DC stories were complete in one issue. Green Lantern could have an adventure with the Justice League and a solo adventure the same month. Marvel's serials and long story arcs made things more complicated.) Another advantage with single-series characters is that you don't have to worry about characterization being consistent with other series, e.g. "Why is this character so confident in his solo strip but filled with self-doubt in the team-up series?" And the Kooky Quartet offered possibilities for internal conflict. The original Avengers (except for the Hulk, who left in #2) got along as well as the Justice League. And having, say, Thor suddenly hate Iron Man would have seemed phony and contrived.

    1. Thanks for your observations. I think I read somewhere that Stan was having great difficulty keeping up with continuity, at this time I don't think Roy Thomas was on hand to keep tabs on the characters, so shifting Iron Man and Thor out solved the issue for him. I think you make a very good point regarding characterisation being easier with Hawkeye, Wanda and Pietro!