Review of AVENGERS Vol. Three, #25

Written: 25 January, 2000

Everybody else has probably already read Avengers #25, but I just got it over the weekend, read it, and enjoyed it. I was surprised at first to see that it wasn't 100 Pages...I thought maybe this was the issue that would be part of the "100 Page monsters" thing.

Loved the cover. When I showed an issue (not this one) to my nephew recently, he thought it was cool that the characters looked "old" (his words). They look like adults. Fan critics used to laugh about how Robin was supposed to give the young readers someone to identify with, when really the kids wanted to be Batman, not Robin. Well, that idea seemed to have been forgotten in the 1990s when heroes were replaced by younger versions, apparently in an effort to appeal to younger readers. But part of the appeal of these super-heroes is that they have a history. This cover shows heroes with a history, seriousness, and integrity. Cap and Iron Man, in particular, are perfectly rendered; these are the genuine articles, the ones I grew up with.

It was nice seeing Hercules, too, and back looking like the classic Herc again. It was also cool seeing Quicksilver back. And Giant-Man is always great to see. Jan really looked like Jan this issue! It seems to me that in some of the previous issues she hadn't looked like her old self, probably because she had a different hairstyle.

The page where the Avengers take off in their ship from the mansion's roof looked like it was inked by someone other than Al Vey. Who? Personally, I like Vey's inks much better.

While it was a surprise to see Quicksilver here, I knew from the cover that he would be in this issue. And Hercules was a surprise, but not totally out of left field. But the appearance of Spider-Man and Nova, completely out of the blue, took me by surprise, and immediately I felt like this issue was something special. After all, how many times does Spidey fight alongside the Avengers? And it was really cool that these two surprise guest appearances were not advertized on the cover. I was pleased to see that even though I read an online text version of Previews each & every month, and occasionally read the boards around here, that these guest appearances took me totally by surprise! It's good to see that comics can still surprise us readers, despite all the advance info!

The next two things that impressed me about this issue involve my favorite Marvel character, Captain America. I happen to be one of those folks who thinks Cap should be portrayed as more than just another superhero, and I've always liked it when it was shown that even a thunder god would have respect for a so-called "costumed athlete," or when even Hercules could be humbled in the training room by the super-soldier, or when a rookie-hero would wonder why other, more powerful heroes treated Cap with so much respect. So, I liked how Cap, the "least powerful" hero, was shown saving the day in a manner consistent with his personality, confronting the villains by talking to them. That was a great moment, and when it was over, I felt like I'd been reading an Avengers Annual from my childhood, the 1970s.

Oddly enough, the final page managed to carry one more big surprise: Captain America stepping down as chairman and leaving the group. This reminded me of a few old Marvel Triple Action issues I have, reprinting 1960s Don Heck-era Avengers issues, where Cap quits the group at various times. To me, Cap is the center of the Avengers, but I didn't mind seeing him walk out because a.) I know he'll be back, b.) it shook things up, and c.) I feel like it happened for a reason and that there is a story to come out of that. I liked how Cap suggested that Iron Man take over as chairman. I started reading Avengers circa #160 when Iron Man was chairman, so I really dig the idea of seeing IM being group leader again! (I would like to add that this month's issue of Iron Man -- also a double-sized issue -- was a very enjoyable comic as well, and one that every fan of the current Avengers should read.)

Well, I just want to say thanks to Kurt Busiek, George Perez, Al Vey, Tom Brevoort, and everyone else responsible for this current run of Avengers, including #25, for doing such a fantastic job. THANK YOU!