The Avengers has been a phenomenal success at the box office, and while many are getting their first taste of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the team has been battling Loki since their first team-up.

THE AVENGERS #1
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Inker: Dick Ayers
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: 12-cents

Previously in The Avengers: With all these first issues, it seems odd that we still fill this space with the requisite “This is the first issue” mumbo jumbo, but in the case of team titles, fans are probably already aware that the characters have appeared in their own series, and in the hands of Lee and Kirby the idea of forming a super team modeled after the Justice League of America (1960) makes perfect sense.

LOKI!

While fans are marveling at the action packed pop-corn fest that is appearing on the big screen, it is interesting to note that the reason The Avengers formed in the first place was because Loki was looking to bring the smack down on Thor. No, he wasn’t after a cosmic cube, or the Infinity Gauntlet at the time, but simple revenge for being banished to the Isle of Silence. But how is the trickster going to do it?

Even in 1963, The Hulk was a menace to be feared and stopped, and using his mental prowess, Loki sets Hulk up as the patsy involved in a train accident. When word is out that The Hulk is behind the near disaster, it’s up to the Teen Brigade, lead by Rick Jones, to call for help.

For some reason, every time I see a young Rick Jones drawn by Jack Kirby it feels like Jack is drawing himself at a younger age. It’s kind of spooky. The early collected Avengers books is where I first saw Kirby’s style, and it intrigued me as much then, as it does now. Every single panel is iconic in some way; whether it is the Hulk’s prominent brow, or Thor’s look of disapproval (heck, even the single panel appearance of Sue Storm is special). Though the colors have been tweaked for modern day delivery, this is a great look at the master at work.

The Brigade attempts to call the Fantastic Four, but Loki once again intervenes, scattering the radio signal that is picked up by other adventurers.

Wow, Hank Pym has always been a dick, hasn’t he?

The quartet eventually assembles, and do track down the Hulk, who is performing as a super strong robot at a local circus. While Ant Man, Wasp, and Iron Man battle the Goliath, Thor heads to the Isle of Silence to confront Loki, and the two fight.

Fight, fight, fight. Even back then the bulk of the story seems to focus on the mega battles that fans want to see. There’s nothing wrong with this formula, it worked in 1963 and it works today. When one is looking for something to escape the reality of their ordinary lives, the punchy-punchy and explody-‘splody tend to do the trick.

Speaking of the Trickster, Loki is captured, the Hulk cleared of all crimes, and the five heroes vow to team again to fight any menace as a new dimension is added to the Marvel Galaxy of Stars!

As I’ve often commented, books from the long ago time, no matter who was publishing them, tend to be a big mess of words, and more often than not in this issue, half the panel is filled with dialogue – words to fill the reader in, not to necessarily advance the story.

BOTTOM LINE: NOW AVAILABLE DIGITALLY

Not all of us can afford to pick up the first Avengers comic book, but thanks to the digital era, classic titles are simply a legal click away. This is the third or fourth time I’ve read this issue in the digital format, for nothing more than the art, and crazy eyes of Loki that float around the land looking for someone to help stir up trouble. This isn’t the best Avengers story ever told, but it is the first, and if one looks past the plethora of words that fill the page, the overall issue isn’t bad, earning 3.5 out of 5 Stars. If you have an iPad or other digital device, I suggest picking it up via the Marvel App, just so you can say you’ve read it.

Rating: ★★★½☆

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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6 Comments

  1. Mark
    May 7, 2012 at 4:50 am — Reply

    Hulk sure was talky back then. lol

  2. Oldcomicfan
    May 7, 2012 at 6:38 am — Reply

    That was just painful. Some things from the sixties, such as hair styles, clothes, race riots and comics like this should be left in the dustbin of history. This was not Kirby or Stan Lee at their best.

  3. May 7, 2012 at 7:45 am — Reply

    The early Avengers constant tweaking of formula doesn’t work for me, and I’ve long believed that things don’t really gel until Cap’s Kooky Quartet in #16, and doesn’t start to really cook until Don Heck takes over the art chores somewhere down the line. This issue, sadly, is pretty much by-the-numbers Silver Age blahbitty blah.

  4. Eddie Sheridan
    May 7, 2012 at 8:13 am — Reply

    I think it’s interesting that Rick Jones was so integral to these early origin stories, but has never been featured in a Marvel movie.

  5. May 10, 2012 at 5:01 am — Reply

    “I pity the guy who tries to fight us next.” Wow, it looks like we’ve just seen the inspiration for Mr. T in the form of the Hulk. No wonder Mr. T is so freaking awesome.

    And yes, Hank Pim is always being an ass.

  6. OverMaster
    July 26, 2016 at 8:36 pm — Reply

    No mention of the best moment in this story, Hulk disguised as a robot clown juggling circus animals? I’m disappointed.

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