Sunday, September 8, 2013
Bring Out Your Dead!
The success of the Avengers has led to many offbeat trade collections, none more so than Legion of the Unliving showcasing some of the most curious and decrepit opponents the Assemblers ever faced, the Walking Dead. Not those Walking Dead, but various gangs of deceased heroes and villains from Marvel's sprawling continuity.
The first delegation of the dead showed up in the middle of Steve Englehart's most memorable 1975 run. It time lord Kang himself who gathered up some of these desperate souls from the great beyond to battle the Assemblers. This first team illustrated by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton consisted of Baron Zemo, the Frankenstein Monster, Midnight, Wonder Man, the Ghost, and the original (android) Human Torch. For more on this original gaggle of the gone, look here.
The deadly dead returned many years later in the 1987 Avengers annual written by Tom DeFalco and drawn by a who's who of Marvel's Bullpen of the era. This time the unliving were assembled by the Grandmaster for one of his gambits and was a veritable army. Picked to battle both the regular Avengers and the West Coast team they were comprised of Swordsman, Nighthawk, Green Goblin, Terrax the Tamer, Red Guardian, Bucky, Executioner, Hyperion, Drax the Destroyer, Captain Marvel, Baron Blood, Death Adder, Michael Korvac, and the original Black Knight. Here is more on this enormous expired ensemble.
Immortus trotted out a batch of beyond-the-grave types to take on the West Coast branch alone in 1990. The dead this time were Iron Man 2020, Grim Reaper, Oort the Living Comet, Left-Winger and Right-Winger, and returning for another belated bow were Swordsman, Human Torch, and the Black Knight, though this time it was the villainous Silver Age model. Here is more on this rotted bunch.
The Grim Reaper, still rather dead himself, scratched up a team of the unliving for his ownself. In three 1992 issues of the Avengers we get to meet the deceased Nebulon, Star Stalker, Count Nefaria, Ahmenhotep, Inferno, Necordamus for the first time, with longtime deceased Red Guardian, Baron Zemo, and Black Knight creeping up again. Here are the cadaverous details.
And finally during the 1998 epic run by Kurt Busiek and George Perez we meet the latest rendition of the deadest enemies with Thunderstrike, Doctor Druid, Hellcat, and Mockingbird joining regular undeadites Captain Marvel, Swordsman, and Wonder Man. This cadre of the decrepit was led by the Grim Reaper yet again, and oddly enough Wonder Man got better as a result of this encounter. Look here for more deadly details.
And to my knowledge that's the whole bunch, unless in the myriad Avengers titles littering the stands today, this concept has crawled from the tomb yet again. It well might have.