Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artists: Jerry Ordway, Steve Epting, John Romita Jr., Alan Davis & more
Company: Marvel Comics
Price: $34.99 ($23.09 at Amazon)
It's funny, I didn't wholly appreciate how good Busiek's Avengers run was at the time. I mean, I loved a lot of it, but I fell off several times, and I seem to recall loving some of the issues collected in here and being lukewarm on some of the others. But looking at this hardcover, which collects the Avengers vs. Intergalactic Federation story Maximum Security and the post-Perez Avengers segueing into Alan Davis' all-too-brief run, all I could think is that this is sort of the baseline I'd like for the Marvel Universe. Fun for all ages but not dumbed down, loaded with continuity and characters but not restricted to only longtime fans, packed with action and respectful of the style of the superhero genre. The heroes are heroic, but their struggles still have tension, the stories are action-packed but they don't leave out characterization. It's really the closest the Avengers got to what is to me the untouchable greatness of Roger Stern's run. I loved this book, and hope there's at least one more on the way to finish out Busiek's run on the book. The only sadness is that reading this, I realized that the type of superhero shared universe I want is probably dead and gone, replaced by the Civil War/Identity Crisis-tinged modern universe that, quite frankly, usually holds little to no interest for me.