Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Apes and Avengers

DC Goes Ape Volume 1 (1959-99/ Collected 2008): edited by Bob Joy; written by Otto Binder, John Broome, and others; illustrated by George Papp, Wayne Boring, and others: The story goes that 1950's DC Comics editors noted a sales uptick whenever primates appeared on a comic-book cover. And so primates readers would be given, mostly gorillas and apes (and one Kryptonian super-monkey!). Well, and Detective Chimp.

This volume collects some of DC's finest, freakiest tales of super-apes and criminal gorilla criminals. The material from the 1950's and 1960's shines the brightest, giving us mainstays such as Titano the giant super-ape, the gorilla crime boss of Gotham, telepathic Flash villain Gorilla Grodd, a super-monkey to annoy a young Superboy (or was it Superbaby?), and several others. Wonder Woman even gets changed into a gorilla by an astronaut gorilla from another world. Hoo ha! Recommended.

Avengers: Assault on Olympus (1987/ Collected 2011): written by Roger Stern and Bob Harras; illustrated by John Buscema, Bob Hall, Tom Palmer, and Kyle Baker: Roger Stern's tenure as writer of the Avengers in the 1980's stands as one of two or three high points for Marvel's superhero group. And the art by John Buscema and finisher Tom Palmer was more than solid as well. 

In the aftermath of the epic siege on Avengers mansion story arc, the Avengers find themselves plunged into the world of the magical and mythic. Avenger Hercules got beaten into an unbreakable coma during the siege. Now, Zeus blames the Avengers for Hercules' condition -- and seeks vengeance. It's fun stuff, with one of the more powerful Avengers line-ups when it comes to brute strength (She-Hulk, Thor, and the Sub-mariner). An off-beat standalone story about Avengers' butler Jarvis rounds out the collection. Recommended.

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