Essential Avengers—Volume 3

essential avengers volume 3 cover trade paperback review
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Addition of the Vision

Still very episodic

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Avengers (Volume 1)

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Roy Thomas

Artist:  John Buscema/George Tuska/Don Heck/Werner Roth/Gene Colan/Barry Smith

# of Issues:  23

Release Date:  2004


Avengers (1) #48

Reprints Avengers (1) #47-68 and Avengers (1) Annual #2 (December 1967-September 1969).  The Avengers continue to change as they meet a new Black Knight, welcome the hero of Wakanda known as the Black Panther, and meet a mysterious being called the Vision.  As they battle the evil in the world including villains like Magneto, the Grim Reaper, and Ultron.

Written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by various artists (primarily John Buscema), Essential Avengers—Volume 3 is a collection of the Marvel Comic series from the 1960s.  Like all of Marvel’s Essentials, the book is black-and-white reprints of the original comics (minus ads).

The Essentials are a great way to read comics.  They may lack color, they may sometimes feel cheaply produced (I always feel that DC’s Showcase Presents have better quality paper), but what they lack is made up for in quality storytelling. Essential Avengers—Volume 3 is no exception and the beginning of a great run of stories about Marvel’s greatest heroes.

The biggest thing in this volume is the introduction of the Vision in Avengers (1) #57 (October 1968) and Avengers (1) #58 (with the famous title “Even an Android Can Cry”).  Until this collection (and even the beginning of this collection, it felt like the Avengers was kind of meandering.  It wasn’t a bad team book, but other than Fantastic Four, Marvel’s team books at the time were all almost second tier.  The Vision really was something different and Roy Thomas obviously liked writing him so the stories seemed to improve plus it introduced the whole Vision—Simon Williams—Ultron—Wasp relationship conundrum which later of course added Scarlet Witch and Jocasta.

Another big add was the Black Panther who joined in Avengers (1) #52 (May 1968).  While the Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream comics when he first appeared in Fantastic Four (1) #52 (July 1966), by joining the Avengers, the African king became the first black superhero on a major team.  It was a big step for T’Challa and that is one thing that Marvel always did great…it was progressive for the time and didn’t seem too afraid to make political statements.   (The first Marvel African-American hero was Luke Cage who got his own solo book in 1972…in contrast to DC’s Black Lightning who first appeared in Black Lightning (1) #1 (April 1977).


Avengers (1) #57

There are a number of first appearances in this collection in addition to the Vision.  Vision’s “creator” Ultron first appeared in Avengers (1) #54 (unnamed) and Avengers (1) #55 (August 1968) in his first full appearance.  Frequent team-member and ally Black Knight was “reborn” in Avengers (1) #47 (December 1967) and Simon Williams’ brother the Grim Reaper made his first appearance in Avengers (1) #52 (May 1968).  Black Panther enemy Man-Ape appeared in Avengers (1) #62 (March 1969).  Hank Pym adopted the new identity of Yellowjacket in Avengers (1) #59 (1968) while Hawkeye became Goliath in Avengers (1) #63 (April 1969).

The art of the series also is very classic.  I know that Kirby is considered king, but I really love Buscema’s Avengers too.  The artists are starting to break out of the panel art and developing a more stylized art which makes the book not only more visually appealing but more readable.

Essential Avengers—Volume 3 is a fun read.  It isn’t the peak of The Avengers, but it continues a steady climb that helped make The Avengers one of my favorite team books later in the series.  It constantly picked interesting characters and is much better than the current trend of simply picking the most popular characters.  Avengers Assemble!!!

Related Links:

Essential Avengers—Volume 1

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.

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