Avengers Omnibus Volume 1 (ISBN 978-0-7851-5846-2)
The Avengers assemble for the first time in this Marvel omnibus collecting the first 30 issues of the 1963 silver-age series! The mighty, fighting force battles the likes of Loki, Kang, Attuma, the Enchantress and her Executioner, the Mole Man, Dr. Doom, and many others as they strive to work as a team and keep up with the ever-diligent villains who try their best to ruin the day for the super-heroic team!
This massive book is a very nice oversized omnibus title with a dustjacket that features either the original Kirby cover for issue 1 or a John Romita Jr. version of the cover. I got the Romita cover but it really pales in comparison to the original art. Speaking of art, Jack Kirby pencils the early issues and does a fantastic job (as always) at showcasing the Avengers team with his beautifully detailed art. Don heck and Dick Ayers fill in the rest of the issues and, while not quite up to Kirby’s art, it still holds its own and looks really nice. Stan Lee wrote all the issues and you really have to go into this book with the understanding that it’s going to be wordy and take about 15 minutes per issue to get through due to the countless speech bubbles. The time period also gives way to some corny or over-explained dialogue but otherwise, it fits right into other silver-age books and even dives into some darker scenarios like Cap’s nightmares from Bucky’s death and Giant-Man’s plight of being a ten-foot-tall freak forever! The team from the get-go, however, is pretty inconsistent as within the first four issues, the team loses a member and gains another and halfway through the book, the team changes so much that none of the original members are present!
Some aspects of previous books are carried over like Giant-Man’s verbal abuse toward Jane (which, due to the time period, is treated like normal banter) and the overall childish bickering between team members gets old (especially Hawkeye’s constant berating of Captain America’s age). Even the Hulk is treated very poorly all through the series and, at times, treated like a villain even when unprovoked! However, you do get to see Rick’s seemingly worthless ham-radio-inspired Teen Brigade go into action during many sequences and actually help the team despite being a bunch of kids.
Being an older title, you do see quite a few mistakes in the art and lettering and, since the original letter pages are included here, the fans nitpick them all constantly. Things like Iron Man and Giant-Man’s constant unmentioned costume changes (that happen in their own titles and carry over into the Avengers title) happen and at one point, Iron Man was presumed dead but suddenly returns in the next issue with no mention of how he went from DOA to right back into the team! It’s a fun, long read that I clocked in taking me about 7 and a half hours to complete from start to finish and you get the original covers and letter pages as well as a neat cover gallery for the reprints, Masterworks covers, Essentials covers, and some art in the back in a nice oversized format for $99.99 and chances are you’ll find it for less anyway! It’s definitely something to have just for the historical value to the classic team but also something to read up on to get an idea of where this marvelous team all started to assemble!
Overall Rating: 8 out of 10