This is the one baby! I love comic books. I love old comic books. I love old Marvel comic books. But most of all I love old Marvel Avengers comic books and if you were to ask which issues of that original classic run I most adore it would be the issues included in the latest Epic collection which saw the debut of "Big" John Buscema as the regular pencil artist on the title. Don Heck stepped away to draw a magnificent annual but sadly lost his main roster spot, a true pity. But it opened the door for some of the most muscular and compelling superhero artwork of all time.
And not just the art, but the writing too got a crisp elegance as Roy Thomas found his comfort zone on the title which is still to this day most associated with him. (That is save for Conan of course.) We get old villains galore as Fab 4 baddies like Diablo and Dragon Man take on the team, and Magneto shows up from the pages of the X-Men to thoroughly harass Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. We meet Captain America's Soviet counterpart the Red Guardian and the dead Wonder Man's brother The Grim Reaper. Hercules is swept off the team and Earth when Typhon assaults Olympus and Ant-Man returns when Hank Pym is swept into a surprisingly dangerous ant-hill. The Black Knight debuts as does Whirlwind, the re-named Human Top. Both of them join villains Klaw, Melter, and Radioactive Man to become the new Masters of Evil guided by the mysterious hand of the strange Crimson Cowl. And the Black Panther joins the team. This collection also offers up two great annuals by Don Heck which take the Assemblers across the globe to fight the Mandarin's Minions and into the depths of time to fight themselves...sort of. And then there are some legit spoofs of the team from the rancid pages of Not Brand Ecch. A damn fine package of sweet sweet comics. I'm falling in love all over again.
Here are the covers. Sigh.