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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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Captain America Lives! Omnibus (Review)

In celebration of the 4th of July and the release of Captain America: The First Avenger this month, we’re jumping into Marvel’s comic book alternate history and taking a look at the star-spangled avenger every Wednesday this month.

I have to say, I am genuinely quite pleased with how they’ve been chunking up Ed Brubaker’s well-loved run on Captain America for these oversized omnibus editions. Each of the three omnibus editions – Captain America, The Death of Captain America and, now, Captain America Lives! – represent an act in his over-arching story, with the status quo continually changing and shifting. The first set of issues closed with the assassination of Steve Rogers, while the second set saw Bucky Barnes assuming the mantle in Steve’s absence and defeating the Red Skull. So the third collection returns Steve Rogers to the Marvel Universe. Does it make me a bad person if I kinda don’t want the original character back so soon?

Stars and stripes...

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The Marvels Project (Review/Retrospective)

hIn celebration of the 4th of July and the release of Captain America: The First Avenger later this month, we’re jumping into Marvel’s comic book alternate history and taking a look at the star-spangled avenger every Wednesday this month.

Truth be told, I’m not sure what to make of The Marvels Project, a miniseries from Ed Brubaker. Brubaker has been doing acclaimed work on Captain America for some years now, so I guess I almost figured that The Marvels Project would be an extension of that – a period piece set during the Second World War which would allow perhaps the definitive Captain America author to put his own stamp on that iconic comic book origin. For better or worse, this isn’t really that story – sure, Steve Rogers’ early career is covered, but as one small section of a much larger puzzle. Far more than the origin of Captain America, The Marvels Project is the origin of the Marvel Universe.

Carryin' the torch...

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The Death of Captain America Omnibus (Review)

I was impressed by the original Captain America by Ed Brubaker Omnibus, but I wasn’t as blown away by his run as almost everyone else seems to have been. A lot of my problems were outside Brubaker’s control – the big Civil War event in the Marvel Universe loomed large over the climax of his run – and, in fairness to him, he worked around it as well as he could have been expected to. His on-going run is continued in a second (albeit smaller) omnibus, succinctly entitled The Death of Captain America Omnibus, which does exactly what it says on the tin, following the events which immediately followed the climax of the last omnibus (even going so far as to reprint the last issue in that volume as the first one in this volume). It’s just over half the size of the early collection – even factoring in the reprint – but I’ll concede that I actually enjoyed it a lot more. Maybe it was the sense that Brubaker was delivering a pay-off to all the threads opened in the first part of his run, or that he was solidly unfettered by editorial mandate this time around, or even that the storyline was considerably more streamlined and focused – no matter what the reason, the vast majority of my (already admittedly small) qualms about the first collection are dealt with here.

That's gonna be a pain to clean...

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Captain America by Ed Brubaker Omnibus (Review)

There’s a lot of buzz out there suggesting that Ed Brubaker’s run on Captain America might be the run on the character, the one for the ages – like Frank Miller’s tenure on Daredevil, for example. I decided that – with the movie coming out next year – it might be worth bringing myself up to speed on the character. While I haven’t finished Brubaker’s run (it’s on-going and I still have to read The Death of Captain America Omnibus), it is a very solid run, packed with great ideas. It’s a clever and well-crafted story that demonstrates that Brubaker has more in him than just gritty pulp like his fantastic runs on Daredevil and Gotham Central. On the other hand, I’m slow to call the run an instant classic – I’d rather finish his run before I make that judgement. Towards the end it feels like Brubaker’s own story has become somewhat derailed by the larger events looming in a shared universe. He’s still an amazing writer and succeeds in keeping the train mostly on the tracks, but one gets the sense that the collection would have been better if he had been granted complete control over it.

"Hey, Cap, what are we staring at?""You'll know it when you see it, Bucky; you'll know it when you see it."

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