Friday, August 28, 2015

Definitive takes on my favorite comic book characters: The Avengers

Everyone has their own strong opinions and preferences for their favorite incarnations of their most beloved characters.

I’m no different.

Until now, I’ve tried not to disclose who my favorite comic book characters are. (But honestly, that would be easy to figure out by reading what characters are mentioned in my reviews, interviews and op-ed pieces.

In the following multi-part series on the “Definitive takes on my favorite comic book characters,” I’m delivering my rationale (in three sentences or less!) for what I consider the definitive versions of my all-time favorite DC and Marvel superheroes (Sorry, no villains in this one!): The Avengers, various members of the Batman family, Bruce Banner, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man/Tony Stark, the Justice League, Lois Lane, Robin, Spider-Man, Superman, Wolverine and the X-Men.

Presented in alphabetical order by dates, creative teams and even projects, there are different incarnations of the same characters across the mediums I cover here at CCC – animation, comics and film/TV.

(Keep an eye out for links to various related reviews, interviews and such!) 

THE AVENGERS – 1970s through early 1980s comics: Whether you enjoy one-issue stories or multi-part story arcs, it’s all here you. The top-notch stories are written by some of the greatest storytellers in comicdom (in no certain order, David Michelinie, Steve Englehart, Roger Stern and Jim Shooter are four of my faves from this time frame) and the artwork by the likes of George Perez, Neal Adams, John Byrne and Don Heck and more is simply killer. You also can’t beat the roster-line-ups, which while often are large, but are never without intriguing character interactions.
It's true— artist George Perez is just as nice and approachable
as you've ever heard! This was taken by his booth assistant during the
2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo.

"The Avengers" – 2012 Joss Whedon film: Marvel Studios proves it’s possible for Hollywood to do the seemingly unthinkable and/or impossible – culminating the work of several solo films with an ensemble one featuring the same characters and same big-name actors (with the exception of Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk/Bruce Banner). “Marvel’s The Avengers” is brilliantly successful on many levels – cast chemistry, blowing away fans’ expectations, character moments and snappy dialogue – not to mention, box-office success.

"The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" - Disney XD animated series: Using a stable roster of basically the founders plus Black Panther and Hawkeye with spot-on characterizations, these Disney XD episodes combine the enjoyment of watching one adventure that takes place within a bigger storyline. Fans will dig seeing Marvel characters — both major and minor — getting the animation treatment/being onscreen for the first time. (Go here for my review from February 2011.)

THE AVENGERS (aka AVENGERS ASSEMBLE in trade paperback form) by writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Perez: I’m not a fan of series reboots, generally in comics, but Busiek re-assembles a classic version of The Avengers, making them heroic and troubled. Busiek’s run delivers in-fighting, character drama, massive action sequences and “talk-y” issues — featuring the dynamic art of Perez, the greatest Avengers artist ever (with minimal fill-in issues by other artists).

Check back tomorrow for the next installment of "Definitive takes on my favorite comic book characters" — with my favorite fictional redhead, Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl!

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