Avengers 1959 #5

Better late than never. This issue concludes Howard Chaykin’s brilliantly done mini-series Avengers 1959. Is Nick Fury’s rag-tag group of super powered mercenaries able to Geoffrey Sydenham’s nefarious plot to usher in the next age of Nazi dominance thanks to some supernatural help from the evil spirit Dormammu?

Of course he does. He’s Nick Fury.

If there was any criticism of this issue, I guess it could be that it was light on plot. But to me that isn’t an issue; we’re reading the final issue of a short mini-series. Chaykin uses this issue as a violent pay off for the last four issues. His artwork is stellar, imaginatively pitting Kraven, Sabretooth and company against Nazis, zombies and even a group of super villains.

The ending is also left completely open, giving us the possibility that we’ll revisit this pre-Mad Men world. This is available as a collected volume and I highly recommend checking it out.

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New Avengers: Volume 2

I guess you could figure out that I’ve been on an Avengers kick as of late. New Avengers: Volume 2 collects issues 7-13 of that series by Brian Bendis, and there is a lot that’s going on to this group of Earth’s mightiest heroes.

This takes place around the same time as the Fear Itself crossover, and there is a bunch of fun stuff that happens in the first half, ranging from the team convincing Dr. Strange to join their ranks (with art by Stuart Immonen) to why Luke Cage and Jessica Jones can never have an evening to themselves (with art by David Acuna).

The best part is the second half has Bendis and Mike Deodato putting the Avengers on a botched raid of a H.A.M.M.E.R. storage depot. Following this, the group deals with it seeming more and more that Victoria Hand is a double agent that tipped off H.A.M.M.E.R. about the raid, and Mockingbird is gravely injured. As this happens, there are flashbacks of Nick Fury’s Black Ops Initiative (which gets further explored in Avengers 1959) tracking down a briefcase that was in the Nazi remnant’s possession–and later in that H.A.M.M.E.R. warehouse.

So what was it? It was a Nazi-made mix of the Super Hero Soldier Syrum that made Captain America and the Infinity Syrum that keeps Nick Fury eternally young. This could possibly save Mockingbird’s life, and there is a great scene with everyone argues over the moral implications of how it could either kill her instantly (since it was a Nazi knockoff, after all) or grant her unwanted immortality.

Really, this was a lot of fun on its own, but it was put over the top with the fifties flashbacks drawn by Howard Chaykin. That reminds me, I still have the final issue of Avengers 1959 that I’ve been meaning to get around to reading.

Avengers 1959 #3-4

Avengers 1959 is such a good read when you have multiple issues to go over. Howard Chaykin’s Mad Men-esque look at the Avengers team of the late 1950s is just so much fun.

In these two issues a lot happens: a squadron of lady assassins, an attempt to rob Wakandan technology, explosions, gun fights, robots, communists, corrupt politicians. These are just a few of Chaykin’s favorite friends!

All of this is leading to a crescendo for the final issue: Nazi sympathizer Geoffrey Sydenham is conjuring up Dormammu in an effort to start a new reich!

Chaykin does a great job as always with his story and art. But what I really like is how everyone is dressed appropriately for the time. He did grow up during this time period, you know.