Keeping with my recent superhero reading fest, I picked up the Avengers: First to Last hardcover this week. This book collects back-up stories from Avengers Classic #1-12 and a miniseries from 1995, The Last Avengers Story. I only bought this for the Last Avengers, which I knew was good, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality stories from Avengers Classic.
Similar to the Classic X-Men series from years ago, Avengers Classic reprinted the first issues of the Avengers with a backup story which was supposed to “fill in the gaps.” The shorts were written by Stan Lee, Dwayne McDuffie, Macon Blair and Bob Burden. There was art by Kevin Maguire, Michael Avon Oeming (using his painted style), Juan Doe and Sergio Aragones.
I wasn’t sure I would like the shorts but they were all very good. And, more importantly, I liked it right from the first story. The first story, by Stan Lee and Kevin Maguire, is a humorous take on the Avengers as they decide to become a team. I’m not a fan of anything Stan has written since 2000 but he turned in a very tight script. Maguire’s art didn’t hurt either. As always, the three stories by Dwayne McDuffie were great. Macon Blair, a new name to me, also did a good job writing. Bob Burden, of Flaming Carrot fame, told a wonderful tale about Molemen deciding to stay on the surface to drink beer and watch TV instead of returning to a life of working hard for the Mole Man. While none of the stories were super-amazing-fantastic, they all provided good entertainment. I really liked the different art styles, too.