Essential Avengers—Volume 1

essential avengers volume 1 cover trade paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Some great first appearances in the new team book

Black-and-white, old style of writing

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Avengers (Volume 1)

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Stan Lee/Paul Laiken/Larry Lieber

Artist:  Jack Kirby/Don Heck/Dick Ayers

# of Issues:  24

Release Date:  2005


Avengers (1) #1

Reprints Avengers (1) #1-24 (September 1963-January 1966).  In an attempt to destroy his brother Thor, Loki accidentally leads to a gathering of heroes.  With Iron Man, Giant Man, the Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk, the Avengers find themselves as Earth’s mightiest heroes.  When World War II hero, Captain America is found frozen in ice, a new generation learns of his greatness as he rallies a team that grows to include members like Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch as they fight to protect the Earth.

Primarily written by Stan Lee, Essential Avengers—Volume 1 gathers the first twenty-four issues of the first volume of the series.  Like all of Marvel’s Essential series, the comics are reprinted in black-and-white.  The stories have also been collected in other volumes and the Marvel Masterworks series.

I grew up on Marvel, and probably more so than the X-Men, the Avengers were my superheroes.  I started reading the comic in the 200s, but this collection helps show how the team came together and formed.  Before the Essential line, you could find early Avengers adventures in older Marvel reprints, but it is good to see them collected here. It is also important to note that many of the characters, just like now, were carrying their own books as well as the Avengers…the Avengers was simply a “best of” for Marvel and a way to boost the second tier characters’ sales.


Avengers (1) #16

This is a big volume and with The Avengers movie being released, it is worth wild for fans to check out.  The series not only shows the team’s formation, but it also has the return of Captain America in The Avengers (1) #4 (March 1964).  The return of Captain America provided the spark the team needed (plus with Hulk never fully meshing with the team, the group was a bit short).

Essential Avengers—Volume 1 in addition to Captain America’s return features other big firsts.  Avengers (1) #2 (November 1963) has the Space Phantom.  Avengers (1) #6 (July 1964) features the premiere of the Masters of Evil which provided a bit of anti-Avengers team action whose members had battled the Avengers in their individual team books.  Avengers (1) #8-10 (September 1964-November 1964) created the time traveling Kang, introduced Wonder Man (though he quickly dies), and Immortus (who may or may not be an alternate version of Kang).  Avengers (1) #16 (May 1965) relaunched the team and turned Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver into heroes.  Avengers (1) #19 (August 1965) introduced the Swordsman (an early anti-hero), and Avengers (1) #22 (November 1965) had Power Man (who later became Atlas of the Thunderbolts).

The Avengers wasn’t really a great book at this point, but it is fun to see its early beginnings and compare it to the current Avengers mythology.  The Essential Avengers has proven to be one of Marvel’s bigger Essential lines and more and more volumes continue to be coming out.  Start where the team started and see what they become.  Avengers Assemble!

Related Links:

Essential Avengers—Volume 3

Essential Avengers—Volume 6

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response