> Marvel Masterworks Library

The images above are the front and rear covers of the in-print Masterworks editions. Click panels for larger images. _________________________

(Click panels for larger images.)


A massive trove of information regarding Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

Another big and bad website devoted to the Avengers!



Original 27

  • First print: 9/88
  • Second print: 6/89
  • Third print: 2/91
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  • Fourth print: 11/97
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    2002 Silver/Black

  • Fifth print: 5/22/02
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    Barnes & Noble Softcover

  • First print: 4/03

  • Same cover as 2002 hardcover

    Marvel Masterworks: Avengers Volume 1

    Reprints: Avengers #1-10

    (Vol. 4 in the Marvel Masterworks Library)

    Current In-Print Edition: 2nd Edition, First Print
    Original Release Date: 10/1/03

    REGULAR EDITION ISBN: 0-7851-0883-1 • List Price: $49.99
    VARIANT EDITION ISBN: 0-7851-1311-8 • List Price: $54.99

    216 Pages

    Scripted by Stan Lee
    Pencilled by Jack Kirby and Don Heck
    Foreword by Stan Lee

    Buy From:
    AMAZON.COM USA: n/a • AMZ UK: n/a • AMZ CANADA: n/a
    TALES OF WONDER: $34.99 • Barnes & Noble SC: $12.95


    Come on, you didn't think we would start the feature page for the very first Avengers Masterworks volume any other way than that, did you? For the first ten issues of the Avengers offers some of the cleanest and most unadulterated fun that Silver Age Marvel could offer. It truly was an "assembly" of Marvel Mania, with heroes entering and leaving, left and right, in a dizzying procession of "anything goes" editorialism. The publication of the Avengers represented an assertion that Marvel meant business!

    Whereas the Fantastic Four were a family, and the X-Men a close-knit group of students (note both groups had matching costumes,) the Avengers represent the "Supergroup." Originally, the Avengers was a collection of popular heroes who each had their own solo adventures: Iron Man anchored Tales of Suspense, Thor was featured in Journey Into Mystery, and Hank Pym (Ant-Man/Giant-Man) and the Wasp held court in Tales to Astonish. The Hulk had had his own self-titled book, but it was cancelled several months before Avengers #1 bowed in September 1963. The team eventually evolved into a mixture of these "varsity" heroes (especially the "big three:" Captain America, Thor and Iron Man) and heroes who didn't have their own books. But for this first run of stories, the Avengers showcased the evergreens: Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Hank Pym and the Wasp, as well as the uber-sidekick Rick Jones. The Avengers is the ultimate comic book for the anal-retentive fan, as one of the book's main charms is keeping up with which members appear in which issues. By the second issue, one member quit (the Hulk) and another had changed identities (Ant Man > Giant Man!) This really set the pace for what was to become the status quo: constant change.

    For the initial round of Avengers nemeses, Stan leaned on the anti-heroes Sub-Mariner and the Hulk. (How about that? founding member one day, violent attacker the next!) Thor standby Loki held the honor of being the reason the team formed in the first issue, while a typically odd alien menace called the Space Phantom provided someone to beat up on in the second issue. The fourth issue is one of the Silver Age's most important single comics, as it brought WWII's most popular superhero- Captain America- back to the Marvel Universe. He quickly became the heart of the Avengers. Of course, by the fifth issue we see the Avengers fighting the Lava Men, but before you consign this event to an instance of Marvel mediocrity, let me suggest that this is one of the classic issues of all Marvel Comics. In the Lava Men and their precarious situation dealing with the Living Rock, Stan Lee found a melodramatic subtext he could wring for all it was worth, with Jack Kirby providing some of the pencils of his life. His rendering of the Lava Man's Witch Doctor is a pop art masterpiece! The idea of the Avengers as a team, not just a composition of pieces and parts from other titles, was slowly coalescing, and comics like Avengers #5 pushed it forward at a fast pace.

    The issues reprinted in the latter half of the volume introduce some of the Avengers' long-time foes. Baron Zemo is introduced, as is the first couple incarnations of his Masters of Evil, the group of renegade villains that would constantly hound Earth's Mightiest Heroes, until today when they form the basis for the Thunderbolts. The melodrama of Zemo's complicity in the death of Bucky, Captain America's WWII sidekick, underscore the desperation felt in each battle with this Nazi tyrant, as well as letting us know that Captain America has a very, very long memory.

    Penciled by long-standing Avengers artist Don Heck, Avengers #9 introduces the first appearance and epic death of Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man. This wouldn't be the last time we'd see Wonder Man, but fans couldn't have known they were witnessing the birth and death of a future Avengers superstar!

    But perhaps the most significant introduction came in Avengers #8, the first appearance of Kang, the Conqueror. Arguably the Avengers most identifiable foe (alongside Ultron,) this issue hints at the battles that lay in store. For as Kang cris-crosses the past and future timelines to conquer all civilization, he knows that he will always have to go through the Avengers to get what he wants, for wherever there is villainy that threatens the planet, the Avengers stand, Assembled and ready for action!

    -- by Gormuu with Dum Dum Dugan

    -- panel images provided by Avengers Assemble

    Issues Reprinted
    Avengers #1-10

    Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

    AVG #1 AVG #2 AVG #3 AVG #4 AVG #5
    AVG #6 AVG #7 AVG #8 AVG #9 AVG #10


    All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.

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