Saturday, December 24, 2011
Retro Review: Avengers #22
There are many big turning points in every comic book series. There's always that one big issue at the end of an arc when an important villain is killed off for awhile. This is one of them, the big final battle with the Avengers' greatest (sorry Kang) villain, Ultron. This robot has plagued the Avengers a bunch of times in the past, always finding a way to come back. This arc, Ultron Unlimited, would be the big, final Ultron story for awhile. I've read this issue probably a thousand times in the past, cause it came with the Marvel Legends Ultron action figure. I had known Ultron previously from the 90's Avengers show. (Great show, never understood all the hate.) That show introduced me to Ultron, and this issue would be my first comic with the 'evil robot.' I don't think I've ever seen the Avengers on the verge of losing this bad. This issue had it all, the perfect closing to the arc.
Ah, it's hard to not compare this era of the Avengers to the current era. In this era, quality stories, excellent character portrayals, it was great. Today there's this comedy undertone, and the art is just lacking when compared to this. Back to the story, it's probably the most dramatic issue I've ever read in that you're actually thinking "Wow, there's no way they can win, they're actually going to lose." The issue really gave that incentive, that doomed feeling. You could see in the narration boxes as it said "Even if the Avengers had been fresh and rested, they still wouldn't have had a chance. And they know it." I like how in the very first part of the issue, the narration boxes slowly explain the situation, and them boom. A giant splash page with thousands of Ultrons against five Avengers.
Ultron is at his finest here. My personal favorite scene was when Vision approached him giving him a chance for redemption, then Ultron pretends to about to shake his hand, then blasts him. "You're a greater fool than I ever imagined! You're soft, pathetic if you thought such a sentimental ploy would work!" Gotta love the dialogue, A+ stuff here. (Unlike in the current book.) I mean, it could be both great and slightly amusing. Like, I like the scene where Thor is shouting his godly things while taking on hundreds of Ultrons and Iron Man saying how those are admiral sentiments, but more poetry than truth to it. Good stuff. The drama is high in this issue, cause the only shot at winning they thought they had was Scarlet Witch. And in a surprise turn of events, she accidentally BOOSTS his power. Wow, that's probably one of the must unbelievable scenes I've ever seen in a comic. Thor attacking Ultron, saying how he was built my man and against a god he will shatter, and then Ultron grabbing the Hammer saying, "Oh, I don't think so Thor." My gosh, this is good stuff.
The greatest scene however was when Hank Pym comes and says to Ultron "I created you and I'll be the one to stop you!" Ultron looks and says "Are you still here, father?" Then he slaps Hank away like a toothpick. That scene had me laughing a bit, it's a really great scene. Ultron, the 'son' has surpassed Hank in every way possible. The cover is fantastic, it features Ultron standing in triumph over the defeated Avengers. Good stuff making it all red except Ultron. And adding the Ultron logo at the top left was a great touch.
Overall, this is my personal favorite Avengers issue. My second favorite Marvel villain is nothing but pure awesomeness in it. The dialogue is top notch, it's hugely dramatic, and the art is great. It's the perfect end to the Ultron Unlimited arc. This isn't known as a 'classic' or 'legendary' but I'll always treasure it. Nonstop action, great story, real drama, and a fantastic villain to top it off. Avengers #22 is an example of how to do an Avengers comic.