Avengers 1959 #5

A comic review article by: Shawn Hill

It's kind of a shame that our super-Nazi creeps haven't all gathered until this issue, because check out this roll call from Page 2: Doctorangutan, Fritz Kron, Count von Blitzkrieg, General Skul, Leopard Woman and Vunderknight -- with Chaykin-designed costumes to live up to their monikers. It would have been fun to see these freaks face our early Avengers earlier in the story, en masse.

Our team includes Nick Fury, Namora, Dominic Fortune, Kraven the Hunter (younger and much more suave), Blonde Phantom and that always sore thumb, Sabretooth (somewhat tamer, on a good day). The skirmish is fun but too brief, with a lot of talk-time given to McTeague, the British sorcerer Fury picked up along the way. He's been very useful as a teleporter, but he seems to rub Nick the wrong way most of the time.

We've also got Geoffrey Sydenham, a sort of Hoover-esque American power player, here revealed as a Dormammu worshipper in black robes out of a Boris Karloff movie. Doctor Strange he ain't. But before we even get through this lot, we have our second team of quasi-Nazis, now featuring Baron Blood, some zombies, a brain in a fish bowl, the Spider Queen, and something called Geist. Our team makes even shorter work of these B-villains, and the sound effects are almost the best part (GLOOSSSSHHH, SSKKKLLLUSSSHH, and lots of BLAM BLAM). The underlying message is that it's pretty hard to put an dent in Namora, and Sabretooth don't care what you do, he's all "healing factor, bitches!" This issue is payback for all the hardships suffered along the way by our heroes, though it's a little anti-climactic and rushed. No actual Dormammu to worry about, for one thing.

There's a bunch of political maneuvering to round out the issue, resolving the various plots involving Latveria, the U.S. and Wakanda. While period-specific, it's less riveting than the fighting. Chaykin got his groove on with this series, but wraps it up a little too neatly. While I can see Namora continuing to hang with Kraven (and fishing with Hemingway, apparently), I'm not sure about the likelihood of the Phantom, Fortune and Sabretooth even lasting for their cross-country trip to LA. The covert alliance between Fury and Wakanda explains a lot about the S.H.I.E.L.D. that will come to be, however.

Oh well, they're all big kids, and this was a story for big readers. If we do it again, can we have even more fights? You get the sense that, when Victor slams a foe into a wall, or the Blonde Phantom kicks her tormenter in the throat, that's where Chaykin's heart really lies. 



Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at Cornekopia.net.

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