Monday, April 30, 2012

The Avengers - The Order Changeth!

These days when a creative team switches up on a comic it's much ballyhooed, as the new team is touted and interviewed and given all manner of opportunities to spoil their forthcoming efforts by a ravenous comics media maw.

John Buscema

In olden times such changes often went without comment or official notice. And that was mostly the case when Steve Englehart took over for Roy Thomas, the writer who had transformed The Avengers into a must-read book set at the core of the flowering Marvel Universe and who was stepping up and out to take the Editor-in-Chief role vacated by Stan Lee.

By his own account Englehart started off confident and tried to imitate the man who had preceded him. The first story "Stainless Steve" did for the title was to conjure a visit by the Avengers to the Savage Land where they encountered the Savage Land Mutates, creations of the X-Men arch-nemesis Magneto in the final issues of the misunderstood mutants.

Neal Adams & Tom Palmer

Here are the villains of the day, described neatly in a single panel, something modern comics could benefit greatly.

John Buscema & Jim Mooney

It wouldn't be long before Englehart brought back their creator too, having both Magneto and the X-Men on for a couple of issues.

Gil Kane & Frank Giacoia

John Romita & Joe Sinnott

Soon enough though Englehart would find his voice on The Assemblers, making them very much his own team and leaving his mark indelibly on the them and on the Marvel Universe as a whole.

But in the beginning it was a rather quiet change indeed.

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  1. Given the vagaries of Marvel reprints in the UK, I read the Avengers story before the X-Men. But I was fascinated by the Beast-Brood (and Lorelei). Subsequent appearances as the Savage Land Mutates (yawn!) never lived up to that introduction (in the landscape format Super Spider-Man IIRC)

  2. I'd have to agree. The Mutates never were better than in these early appearances. I always thought there was something to them, something akin to what happened with the Inhumans, a story for each, but alas I never came across that kind of treatment. They were almost always just thugs.

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