The Mighty Marvel Masterworks is a new line of trade paperbacks reprinting Marvel’s classic series from the start. They’re unique for two reasons: They feature covers by the incredible Michael Cho and they’re smaller in size for smaller hands. The kid-friendly collections also feature a table of contents for easier reading. The latest out this week is The Avengers Vol. 2, which collects Avengers #11-20.
So right off the bat, if you already own these collections in some other format, nothing else is new here and you can likely skip the purchase. That said, they’re a nicely made line of comics that have scored highly at AIPT in part because these are truly the classics in comics. Check out our reviews of Mighty Marvel Masterworks Thor, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange to see what I mean.
The Avengers Vol. 2 features some standout moments for the team including the first-ever team lineup change featuring Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch. There are also some heavy hitter supervillains in this collection like the Masters of Evil and Kang the Conqueror. Reading this collection is literally witnessing history.
This collection attributes Stan Lee as the main writer with Larry Lieber and Larry Ivie and main penciler Don Heck with Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. In some cases, Kirby draws the layouts, but Heck finishes with pencils. The art is certainly a product of its time, but it stands up well enough and it’s delightful to read knowing these tales are what launched comics as a major medium in general.
Right out of the gate, readers will get a Spider-Man team up with the heroes fighting in spectacular fashion. It’s great to see all the ways Lee and Heck feature Spider-Man combating each of the Avengers. It’s what makes superhero comics so fun. Generally speaking, one of the features of this series at the time was figuring out cool new ways for heroes to fight like how Thor might throw his hammer or how Giant-Man gets larger or smaller to solve problems.
The collection opens with Iron Man no longer on the team and presumed dead. Right off the bat, Lee was playing around with the team chemistry and it heavily influences their decisions and how effective the team is against villains. Along the way, Giant-Man ends up feeling like a character much more focused on, but each of the other Avengers gets to play their part too.
Avengers Vol. 2 is a good collection and while you probably already own these tales, it’s a nice smaller-sized trade paperback for kiddos. The feel of the team is strong and a lot of time was likely spent making them sound familiar with each other, but also new to being superheroes. These books were made for kids and it shows at times, but it also makes them very fun.
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