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Untold Tales of Spider-Man by Kurt Busiek Omnibus (Review/Retrospective)

I am of two minds about Kurt Busiek’s and Pat Olliffe’s celebrated Untold Tales of Spider-Man run. On the one hand, Busiek manages to affectionately evoke the spirit of those classic Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Spider-Man stories, without getting too bogged down in minor or confusing continuity. On the other hand, the stories feel somewhat trapped and confined by having to contort around the existing storylines. Naturally, for example, Busiek can’t resolve any plot threads he doesn’t keep exclusive to the book, and we all know how various situations unfold. It’s a strange cocktail, and it works slightly more often than it doesn’t work. It’s very much in the spirit of the author’s much-loved work on the Avengers, and there’s no denying the skill and love that went into crafting the issues collected here, but I find that I respect The Untold Tales of Spider-Man more than I love it.

They were on fire with this run…

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Kurt Busiek’s Avengers – Avengers Assemble! Vol. 5 (The Kang Dynasty) (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

I’ll be honest. I am still not sure what to make of Kurt Busiek’s Avengers run, republished here in five lavish oversized hardcovers. The first three volumes of the set included the stellar artwork of George Perez, but the fifth and final volume contains the entire Kang Dynasty (aka Kang War) saga. For those unfamiliar with the storyline, it was a fairly massive plot told over fifteen issues and an annual, and marked the climax of Busiek’s five-year tenure on the title. For better or for worse, it’s a more than adequate conclusion to his run – complete with many of the flaws which chipped away at it, but also possessing many of the recognisable strengths.

"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!"

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“I Want to Read Comics After Seeing the Avengers”: Post-Avengers Comic Book Recommendations…

The Avengers opened in a lot of major markets this weekend. It is opening in the United States this Friday. It’s set to be huge and has been quite well received by critics and audiences. Now, I know that this massive blockbuster movie won’t convert the millions of avid movie-watchers into comic book fans, if only because other comic books have failed to see that appreciable a gain from success in other media. However, on the off chance that somebody comes out of the cinema thinking “hey, I really like that and would like to check out the source material”, I’ve compiled a handy list of recommendations that should be readily available and easy to find for would-be fans looking to get a taste for the iconic characters in their original media.

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Kurt Busiek’s Avengers – Avengers Assemble! Vol. 4 (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Read our review of The Avengers here.

I don’t envy the fourth collection of Avengers Assemble! On one side of this collection, you have three volumes of work featuring the collaboration between writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Perez. On the other side, you have the epic conclusion to Busiek’s run, The Kang Dynasty. Between the two, you have this collection – which features only six actual issues of The Avengers, the rest padded out with annuals or specials or miniseries. It’s something of a transitional time. A lot of the story is about the impact of what has happened so far, while foreshadowing what’s to come.

One 4 all?

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Kurt Busiek’s and George Perez’s Avengers – Avengers/JLA (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Read our review of The Avengers here.

Avengers/JLA is about as nerdy as a comic book crossover can get. Really. It takes two teams of superheroes which were both formed to allow existing heroes to team up… and then teams those two teams up. It’s pure geek chic, after all. I have no shame in admitting that I enjoyed on a purely fanboyish level, my inner eight-year-old ecstatic at the idea of taking so many toys out of so many different boxes and bashing them together which such delightful cheer. It’s not an essential story, nor a brilliant one, nor a creative one – but it does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives us a gigantic crossover between two of the more recognisable Marvel and DC superhero teams.

The very definition of awesome...

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Kurt Busiek’s Avengers – Avengers Assemble! Vol. 3 (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Read our review of The Avengers here.

And so we reach the end of George Perez’s tenure as artist on Kurt Busiek’s Avengers run. Many would claim that the book would never really recover from the loss of the artist, though Busiek would produce over twenty subsequent issues and arguably the climax of his entire run in The Kang Dynasty. I am, to be honest, not quite so sure that this represents a turning point for the series, but I do confess that Perez would be sorely missed as the series moved through a rake of guest artists in the months that would follow. (In fact, I’ll confess to being quite fond of Busiek’s final year or two on the title.

An Avengers Assembly...

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Kurt Busiek’s Avengers – Avengers Forever (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Read our review of The Avengers here.

In many ways, to me, Kurt Busiek’s Avengers run represents comic book nostalgia given form. I can’t help but read it as an attempt to call back to the “good old days” of mainstream comic books, with all the illogical and insane twists and an old-school approach to dialogue and characterisation. On the best of days, I’ve found his approach giddy and enjoyable – it’s hard not to get caught up in his genuine enthusiasm for the material. However, when Marvel gave Busiek a twelve-issue Avengers miniseries, it seemed inevitable that the writer wouldn’t just seek to nostalgically emulate the past, but tie it all together as well. In this respect, as it weaves through decades of Avengers continuity, Avengers Forever feels almost like continuity porn. Hardcore continuity porn.

Avengers! Avenge!

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