Essential Avengers—Volume 6

essential avengers volume 6 cover review
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

A great period in Avengers, Celestial Madonna

Felt like the new team issues could be in the next volume

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Avengers (Volume 1)/Captain Marvel (Volume 1)/Fantastic Four (Volume 1)

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Steve Englehart/Roy Thomas/Gerry Conway

Artist:  Bob Brown/John Buscema/Jim Starlin/Rich Buckler/Dave Cockrum/George Tuska/Don Heck/Tom Sutton

# of Issues:  27

Release Date:   2008

avengers #125 cover thanos

The Avengers (1) #125

Reprints Avengers (1) #120-140, Avengers (1) Giant-Size #1-4, Captain Marvel (1) #33, and Fantastic Four (1) #150 (February 1974-October 1975).  The Avengers have a mysterious new member named Mantis.  She does not know her past and there are strange rumblings about her future.  When Kang arrives and proclaims that the Celestial Madonna is among the Avengers, the quest is on to find the origin of Mantis and along the way, the true origin of the Vision is uncovered.  With a couple of surprise weddings and a new membership drive, the Avengers will never be the same.

Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, and Gerry Conway, Essential Avengers—Volume 6 is heavily tied to the Mantis storyline.  The collection like all of Marvel Essential collections is black and white with a number of issues including reprints of four of the five Avengers Giant-Size issues, plus crossover issues with Captain Marvel and Fantastic FourAvengers (1) #129-135 and Avengers (1) Giant-Size #2-4 were also collected in color in Avengers:  Celestial Madonna.

I really love this period of the Avengers (and it leads into maybe my favorite period of The Avengers).  The Mantis storyline is interesting and it also presents a ton of secrets about the Kree and the Skrulls who are frequent players in the Avengers comics.  Some of the Celestial Madonna stuff gets a bit confusing (the weird Boys from Brazil relationship to Moondragon seems a bit extreme), but the comic isn’t afraid to spend a lot of time explaining it.  It is too bad that Mantis finally is explained and then disappears by the end of this collection.  She does frequently pop-up in the Marvel Universe (most recently as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy), but she never has had as much feature time as when she was an Avenger.

avengers #131 cover legion of the unliving

The Avengers (1) #131

In addition to Mantis’ origin, Vision’s past is finally untangled (though much of it has now been rewritten).  Vision is revealed to be the body of the original Human Torch and as a result finally learns how Ultron-5 made him.  He also comes in conflict with his original brainwave creator Wonder Man (Simon Williams) who is reanimated as part of Kang’s Legion of the Undead.  Though the appearance is brief by Williams, in Essential Avengers Volume 7, Wonder Man becomes a major player for the Avengers again.

It is almost jolting to have the last part of this collection in Volume 6 in that the first half is so heavy into Mantis that the team roster change feels like it maybe should have been slid to Volume 7.  At the end of this collection, the Avengers welcome back Wasp and Yellowjacket, but also add former X-Man and now furry Beast (also reprinting a modified Amazing Adventures (2) #12 in Avengers (1) #136 where he first met Iron Man) and Moondragon.  Both characters are fun additions.  The Beast is their Spider-Man who can wisecrack with Hawkeye.  Moondragon is their “bitchy” character (Sersi later took that role), but she is a bit softer here.

Essential Avengers—Volume 6 is a fun addition to any Avengers’ fan’s library.  The comic also has a bit of a preview of possible things to come with The Avengers films in that the crossover with Captain Marvel shows the Avengers first encounter with Thanos (seen at the end of The Avengers film).  Check it out, it is worth the read of a classic period for the Avengers.

Related Links:

Essential Avengers—Volume 1

Essential Avengers—Volume 3

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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