Monday, November 30, 2015


Story: Steve Englehart | Layouts: Al Milgrom | Finishes: Gerry Taloc
Letters: Bill Oakley | Colors: Marc Siry | Editor: Mark Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: At his citadel in the Savage Land, the High Evolutionary oversees several technicians working on his project. One tech, Bill Foster, smuggles a note out of the facility in the armor of one of the Evolutionary's Gatherers as they depart for a mission. The Gatherers head to Wakanda to steal the Black Panther's vibranium, but the Panther and his men defeat them and the Panther locates the note, which warns the world is in danger and recommends calling Hank Pym for help.

Panther places a call to the West Coast Avengers, and they soon arrive, but without the recently departed Pym. As the Avengers and Panther catch up, Wakanda is attacked by the Senses, more of the High Evolutionary's warriors. The Avengers and Black Panther defeat the Senses, but one of the Evolutionary's other men teleports in during the fight and secretly steals some vibranium.

With the Senses thwarted and the vibranium seemingly safe, the Avengers depart to investigate coordinates from Foster's note, but find only a large crater in the Savage Land.

Story: Steve Englehart | Layouts: Al Milgrom | Finishes: Chris Ivy
Letters: Bill Oakley | Colors: Marc Siry | Editor: Mark Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Mockingbird, Moon Knight, and Tigra, formerly of the West Coast Avengers, fly over the Savage Land in a quintet and land to investigate its unexpected restoration. There they bump into Ka-Zar, who tells them of the High Evolutionary. The three ex-Avengers investigate his citadel, and the Evolutionary realizes they could thwart his plans. He throws the trio into a set of deathtraps. While the Avengers fight their way free, Bill Foster goes looking for them.

All three heroes escape their traps and Mockingbird is the first to locate the High Evolutionary. She fights him but he grows to mammoth size to finish her off. Foster arrives then and reveals his other identity as Giant-Man, growing to challenge the Evolutionary. When the Evolutionary receives word from his agent, Foks, that the vibranium has been seized, he retreats from his base. Foster, Moon Knight, Tigra, and Mockingbird escape the citadel just before it self-destructs. The quartet leaves the Savage Land mere moments before the West Coast Avengers arrive to find the recently formed crater.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Don Figueroa | Inks: Elaine To
Colors: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffalo | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: In a brief flashback, within Decepticon headquarters, Jetfire and Sunstorm skirmish, with Jetfire victorious. Then, aboard the Orion in the present, Jetfire and Starscream explain Sunstorm's capabilities to Bumblebee, Ratchet, and Brawn. Meanwhile, on Cybertron, Prowl and Ultra Magnus deal with civil unrest over the Autobots' return, and Kup prompts Prowl to consider moving the Autobots to another planet.

Back on Earth, the Autobots recharge Starscream's men to fifty percent power and let them go, in exchange for Starscream revealing the location of Jazz and the others. But first, Ratchet and Jetfire extract a genetic sample from Starscream, which they use to create a decoy to lure Sunstorm out. Bumblebee leads an Autobot team to fight the approaching Sunstorm, leaving Jetfire behind to guard Starscream. But Sunstorm proves too powerful, forcing Jetfire to abandon his post. With his help, using the decoy -- which doubles as an energy siphon -- the Autobots defeat Sunstorm, but he flies away.

Later, the weakened Sunstorm finds Starscream hiding out in Alaska, but he's followed by another unknown Transformer who ambushes the duo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Writer: Steve Gerber | Artist: Cynthia Martin
Letterer: Rick Parker | Colorist: Janet Jackson | Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: In Maimi, Peter Parker appears on a morning talk show to promote his new photo book, WEBS: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF SPIDER-MAN. Later, back at his motel, Peter speaks with Mary Jane on the phone and has a run-in with a housekeeper who sets his spider-sense tingling. Up north, the High Evolutionary's Purifiers transport a strange obelisk into the Everglades, where the High Evolutionary activates it. It tears open the fabric of reality, drawing the attention of the Man-Thing. The Man-Thing apparently perishes as the High Evolutionary observes from his base.

Back in Miami, the housekeeper, Cecilia, speaks with a disembodied consciousness who tells her to get a babysitter for her son so she can go out and take care of something. That night, Peter heads out for dinner and finds a drug pusher being shaken down by an agent of Miami's crime lord, the Slug. Peter changes to Spider-Man, rescues the dealer, and learns that the Slug's man wanted something hidden in the Everglades. After Spider-Man leaves, a group of Purifiers shows up and kills the dealer.

Meanwhile, Slug and the Kingpin make an agreement to locate a new source of cocaine for the Kingpin. At the same time, Cecilia, now brandishing super powers as Poison, finds Purifiers coming to her apartment. She destroys them and leaves for the Everglades. Spider-Man also arrives at the swamp, where he locates the cocaine and runs afoul of Slug's men. But the Purifiers show up as well and a fight breaks out.

Poison then arrives and seals the rift between dimensions, the entity leaving Cecilia in the process. Meanwhile, Man-Thing returns to life and distracts the Slug's goons and the Purifiers long enough for Spider-Man to web them up.

Later, back in Miami, Mary Jane arrives to keep Peter company on his tour.

Monday, November 23, 2015


An adventure of the Uncanny X-Men by
Writer: Chris Claremont | Penciler: Art Adams | Inker: Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Glynis Oliver | Letterer: Tom Orzechowski | Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: Storm goes nuts and flies south, pursued by Rogue. The rest of the X-Men follow and find themselves in a barren wasteland that was once their occasional stomping ground, the prehistoric Savage Land. An armored behemoth called Terminus appears, grabbing the visiting High Evolutionary, but the X-Men save him and knock Terminus out. The Evolutionary returns to his citadel with Havok, while the rest of the X-Men locate another dimensional realm, where many of the Savage Land's people have been hiding since the destruction of their home.

The X-Men return to Earth and defeat Terminus, revealing Garokk the Petrified Man inside the armor. The High Evolutionary explains that he can restore the Savage Land with the help of a mutant connected to its life-force, and Garokk agrees, sacrificing himself. The Savage Land returned to normal and the X-Men depart.

Continuity Notes: Though not footnoted in this issue, the Savage Land was destroyed by Terminus in AVENGERS #257.

The High Evolutionary has taken Zaladane, one-time X-Men foe, as his assistant, along with Magneto's former henchmen, the Savage Land Mutates.

Storm discovered the strange parallel universe during her first trip to the Savage Land, in a backup story from CLASSIC X-MEN #22.

Sunday, November 22, 2015



Read about Volume 1 here.

It's called the AVENGERS BY KURT BUSIEK & GEORGE PÉREZ OMNIBUS VOLUME 2, but it's really an AVENGERS BY KURT BUSIEK & FRIENDS OMNIBUS. Of the forty-four issues contained herein, Pérez illustrates a whopping eleven. I wouldn't exactly call it false advertising, since the Omnibus does carry on from the Pérez section of the run and wrap up some loose ends established during his time on the series, but splashing his artwork all over the covers and including only his and Busiek's names on the cover and spine seems a bit misleading.

That said, there's some good stuff in here. The Omnibus leads off with AVENGERS issues 24 and 25, pitting the team against the Juggernaut and concluding a storyline called "The Eighth Day". This was an unusual crossover in that it had its setup in issues of IRON MAN, THOR, and SPIDER-MAN, as well as a JUGGERNAUT one-shot, then AVENGERS followed that story up with a sort of sequel/epilogue -- but both segments also worked as their own story with a beginning and end. Weirdly, I don't think the whole "Eighth Day" has ever been collected anywhere. The IRON MAN BY KURT BUSIEK & SEAN CHEN OMNIBUS and the THOR BY DAN JURGENS & JOHN ROMITA JR. vol. 3 trade paperback both collect the set-up, and this Omnibus collects the sequel -- but for the full experience, you'd need two books.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Don Figueroa | Inks: Elaine To
Colors: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffalo | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: Starscream's Earthbound Decepticons are attacked by Sunstorm, who defeats all but Bruticus and Starscream. The Autobot ship Orion arrives and subdues Bruticus, giving Starscream an opportunity to escape. Sunstorm gives chase after shooting down the Orion.

On Cybertron, Prowl and Ironhide supervise the combat training of a handful of Autobots, then check in on Optimus Prime's repairs and visit with Ultra Magnus, whose own repairs are complete. They also receive a report from the Protectobots, who have found the lab from which Sunstorm escaped.

Sunstorm follows Starscream to the Decepticon ship Nemesis beneath Earth's ocean, while Bumblebee and his crew hook up with Brawn and Ratchet at the ruins of the Ark, unaware a human helicopter is spying on them. Elsewhere, Starscream explains to Sunstorm how he and his men arrived on Earth, then Sunstorm is ambushed by a Transformer released from stasis by Starscream.

Finally, the Autobots cloak the Orion and head aboard, but Bumblebee is stopped before boarding by Starscream and his companion, Jetfire.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015



Story: Steve Englehart | Breakdowns: Kieron Dwyer | Finishes: Joe Sinnott
Letters: Ken Lopez | Colors: Gregory Wright | Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: The Fantastic Four return to their headquarters after a mission in space and spend some time relaxing. They're about to leave on their next mission, to the Negative Zone, when the Inhuman royal family arrives and requests that Crystal return to the Moon with them and reunite with her estranged husband, the mutant Quicksilver. Crystal refuses and a fight breaks out between the FF and Inhumans.

Meanwhile, on the Moon, the High Evolutionary sends his Gatherers and Eliminators into the Inhuman city of Attilan to steal the Inhumans' Terrigan Mist. The Watcher, Uatu, appears to converse with the Evolutionary while his men carry out their mission. Within Attilan, Quicksilver mounts a resistance.

On Earth the fight comes to an end when the Inhumans are informed of the attack on their city. The royal family and Fantastic Four all return to Attilan together and battle the High Evolutionary's forces. The Gatherers and Eliminators are routed and return to the High Evolutionary, who teleports away with them. The Thing attempts to get the Watcher to reveal their destination, but he refuses. Another Watcher appears, but is also silent at Uatu's command.

In the aftermath of the fight, Black Bolt flies Crystal away and asks her to stay among the Inhumans. His guilt-trip works, and she chooses to remain and try to work things out with Quicksilver.

Monday, November 16, 2015


By Tom DeFalco, as told to David Michelinie
Photos: Mark Bagley & Mike Esposito
R. Parker, signs on | B. Sharen, in the red | J. Salicrup, indicted
T. DeFalco, shrieks

The Plot: Spider-Man beats up some drug dealers at Manhattan's Pier 7 and leaves them for the police. But a rival gang arrives first and kills the men, leaving Spider-Man to take the rap. Matt "Daredevil" Murdock vows to get to the bottom of the case. Meanwhile, the Kingpin of Crime orders his men to capture one of the High Evolutionary's Purifiers, which have been patrolling New York in recent days. Elsewhere, young Robbie Baldwin and his mother arrive in Manhattan to take in some Broadway shows.

Daredevil and Spider-Man cross paths at Pier 7 and join forces to clear the web-slinger's name. Elsewhere, Robbie is accosted by a group of muggers and transforms into Speedball, his kinetically charged alter ego. A group of Purifiers arrives and kills the muggers, and Speedball follows them back to their base. While Spider-Man and Daredevil comb the city for clues as to who killed the dealers, the Kingpin interrogates a captured Purifier and learns of the High Evolutionary's plans. Speedball also gets wind of their plot, which involves a transmitter atop the Empire State Building.

At Kingpin's order, one of his men plants himself at a seedy dive and waits for Spider-Man and Daredevil to show up and continue their interrogation roadshow. The man tells them that the drug dealers were killed by a new gang headquartered atop the Empire State Building. The heroes head there and find the Purifiers' transmitter. While Spidey and Daredevil fight the Purifiers, Speedball also arrives at the building and heads to the top floor to disable the transmitter. The Purifiers succeed and Speedball carries out his task but nearly plummets to his death; his life saved by Spider-Man.

Knowing Daredevil and Spider-Man will be after him for the planted information, the Kingpin arranges for the wall-crawler's name to be cleared, to get them off his back. Spider-Man is embraced as a hero once more and all returns to normal.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


It's a big, big November here, with some books from Marvel, a couple from DC, and one from Dark Horse, as well.

First up, Marvel provides the AVENGERS BY KURT BUSIEK & GEORGE PÉREZ OMNIBUS volume 2, closing out not just the 34-issue Busiek/Pérez run in Omnibus format, but the full 56-issue Busiek run. I reviewed Volume 1 some months back, and I'll try to get something up for this volume in the near future as well.

On the trade paperback front, Marvel brings the INFINITY WAR AFTERMATH and MOON KNIGHT EPIC COLLECTION: SHADOWS OF THE MOON.

The main appeal of AFTERMATH for me is the inclusion of WARLOCK AND THE INFINITY WATCH issues 11 - 17. This means that between the INFINITY GAUNTLET AFTERMATH, INFINITY WAR, INFINITY WAR AFTERMATH, INFINITY CRUSADE volume 1, INFINITY CRUSADE volume 2, and THOR: BLOOD AND THUNDER collections, INFINITY WATCH issues 1 - 25 are all collected in trade paperback format. Only six more issues are needed to round out Jim Starlin's run on the title.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Writer: Brad Mick* | Pencils: Don Figueroa | Inks: Elaine To
Colors: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffalo | Letters: Ben Lee

The Plot: Somewhere in Oregon, Starscream gloats over the defeated Earthbound Autobots but notices two are missing. He sends his minion, Bruticus, to track them down. Meanwhile, Ratchet and Brawn make their way back to the Ark and attempt to slip past its defense systems, on guard against any intruders.

On Cybertron, Runabout and Runamuck explore Shockwave's laboratory and accidentally release a mysterious robot who destroys both of them and leaves the planet. Back on Earth, Bruticus invades the Ark and releases the imprisoned Soundwave, Skywarp, and Thundercracker. Brawn contacts the Autobot relief shuttle Orion, en route to Earth under Bumblebee's command, and explains the situation on Earth. Meanwhile, Ratchet blows up the Ark to keep it out of Starscream's hands.

Starscream subdues Ratchet and Brawn while the Orion enters Earth orbit. But the shuttle is passed by the robot from Cybertron, revealed as a jet of the same type as Starscream and company.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Writer: Louise Simonson | Penciler: June Brigman | Inker: Bob McLeod
Letterer: John Workman | Colorist: Glynis Oliver | Editors: Ann Nocenti & Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: The High Evolutionary's agents, Purge and Stack, capture a pair of mutants named Glow Worm and the Bulk. Meanwhile, the New Mutants undergo training at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. They receive a letter from a former classmate, Amara Aquilla, who has returned to her home in the hidden city of Nova Roma, where she's been betrothed to a young man by her father. Meanwhile, Purge and Stack remove the powers of Glow Worm and Bulk, then their systems detect Amara in Nova Roma. The Evolutionary's men travel there and kidnap Amara, but her capture is seen by Empath, formerly of the White Queen's Hellions. Empath contacts the White Queen for help.

When the New Mutants' headmaster, Magneto, takes a call from the White Queen, the young mutants eavesdrop. Magneto departs in short order the Mutants teleport to Purge's and Stack's lair in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There they rescue Amara before her powers can be removed, then escape just as the Hellfire Club arrives to battle the High Evolutionary's forces. The New Mutants return to Xavier's School and bid farewell to Amara, who returns to Nova Roma.

Continuity Notes: Glow Worm and Bulk, infected with radiation poisoning, perish this issue after their powers are removed.

A footnote tells us that Forge shattered Magik's scrying glass in Limbo in NEW MUTANTS #66.

Mirage's mutant power is amped up this issue, due to exposure to the High Evolutionary's machine, and she gains the ability to create solid matter where previously she could only manifest illusory images. She recalls that she did this once before, but there is no footnote.

There is, however, a note when she manifests her "spirit lance", as she tells us she's used it twice before -- in NEW MUTANTS SPECIAL EDITION #1 and POWER PACK #21.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Story: Steve Englehart | Pencils: Joe Staton | Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Letters: Ken Bruzenak | Colors: Tom Vincent | Editor: Craig Anderson
Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: The High Evolutionary appears to the Eternals of Olympia and explains his plan to them, then asks that they map the Silver Surfer's DNA for him. Meanwhile, as the Surfer arrives at Earth, the Super-Skrull materializes before him in orbit of the planet. Surfer and Skrull fight briefly but are interrupted by the Eternals, who spirit them down to Olympia. There, the pair is placed into separate pyramid scanning devices. When the Eternals' probe harms the Skrull, the Surfer aids him in escaping his containment and a fight breaks out.

As the battle proceeds, Super-Skrull flees, but the Eternals give chase. They catch the Skrull but the Surfer catches them, and allows the Skrull to depart. The Surfer then makes peace with the Eternals and leaves as well.

Continuity Notes: The High Evolutionary explains that the Eternals and Deviants are offshoots of the same race, created by the Celestials on Earth. Later, we learn from the Eternals that the Skrulls are Deviants of their own race.

The Surfer and Galactus's herald, Nova, recently found the Contemplator in SILVER SURFER #12. The Surfer is headed to Earth to find the son of Mantis following her death, though oddly there is no footnote to explain this.

Super-Skrull materializes out of the Van Allen Radiation Belt around Earth, and spends a page recapping his history over the past decade of appearances: In MARVEL TEAM-UP #62, he was converted to pure energy by the cavourite crystal. His form was restored by Sasquatch in ALPHA FLIGHT #9 (at which point he learned he had cancer), but in the very next issue, #10, Sasquatch converted the Skrull back to energy and beamed him into the radiation belt.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Hardcover, 2009. Collects 1985's X-MEN AND ALPHA FLIGHT #1 - 2, NEW MUTANTS SPECIAL EDITION, and X-MEN ANNUAL #9.

Published in 2009, ASGARDIAN WARS is a very slim hardcover collecting only four issues. It begins with an introduction by Chris Claremont, written in 1988 for a trade paperback edition of this material, then continues into 1985's two-issue X-MEN/ALPHA FLIGHT mini-series. Each issue is double-sized, written by Claremont and illustrated by Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek. The story features the X-Men of the era setting out to find their leader emeritus, Cyclops, after his plane crashes. The mutants team up with Canada's super-team, Alpha Flight, and find themselves eventually dealing with Loki of Asgard.

Aside from Smith's artwork, I was never much of a fan of this story as a kid. The Asgardian stuff seems an odd choice to mix with the X-Men (and this is coming from someone who loves when they go into space now and then). Plus the story was created during one of my least-favorite periods for the X-Men, the mid-eighties era when Cyclops was not a regular member, when Rachel Summers was a regular member, and when Storm sported her dumb mohawk and leathers.

So given my distaste for both the premise and status quo, it's not really surprising I consider this story skippable. The fact that Smith only gets to draw his brilliant rendition of Cyclops in costume for a couple pages at the very end only adds to my dissatisfaction.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Story: Brad Mick* | Art: Pat Lee, Don Figueroa, & Joe Ng
Inks: Elaine To, Rob Armstrong, & Erik Sander
Colors: Espen Grundetjern & Rob Ruffalo | Flats: Kenny Li & Ferd Poblete
Additional Colors: David Cheung, Jong-Im Lee, Elliot Kravchik, Sigmund Torres
Letters: Ben Lee | President: Pat Lee | VP/Editor-in-Chief: Roger Lee
Creative Director: James McDonough | Project Manager: Derek Choo-Wing

The Plot: A mysterious narrative conversation recaps certain events in the universe, including Unicron devouring the planet Lithone and giving birth to Cyclonus, Scourge's discovery of Cybertron and betrayal by Shockwave, a human military unit's capture of several deactivated Transformers, Optimus Prime's comatose state and his team left on Earth, and Megatron's disappearance.

The conversation is revealed to be between a trio of Quintessons, who have plans to find Megatron and judge him.

Meanwhile, on the Planet of Junk, Wreck-Gar presents Megatron with a deactivated Transformer, which Megatron plans to use for some unknown purpose.

Continuity Notes: This issue serves as a recap of the previous two mini-series, as well as a prologue for the ongoing TRANSFORMERS: GENERATION ONE comic, but it comes with a few new nuggets of information, as well: Unicron created Scourge and has now created Cyclonus as well. And it seems the Scourge who discovered Cybertron in WAR AND PEACE was in fact one of a large fleet of identical Transformers. As a result, it's unclear to the Quintessons whether the Scourge who found Cybertron was the same one that appeared on Earth in WAR AND PEACE #1.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Script: Mike Baron | Pencils: Mark Texeira | Inks: Scott Williams
Letters: Jim Novak | Colors: Janet Jackson | Editor: Carl Potts
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: The Punisher has arrived in Bogota, Colombia, to take out a drug lord called El Caiman. But El Caiman's town is assaulted by "Eliminators" and Punisher saves the life of El Caiman's daughter, Lucinda, in the crossfire. She takes the Punisher back to her father's estate, where he meets El Caiman and agrees to a truce until the Eliminators are defeated. The estate comes under attack and El Caiman, Punisher, and Lucinda retreat to the drug lord's farm for their last stand. There, with El Caiman's full armory at his disposal, the Punisher defeats the Eliminators.

Their mutual foes gone, El Caiman turns on the Punisher and attempts to kill him, but Punisher turns the tables and blasts El Caiman's "fish tank", releasing his menagerie of deadly sea creatures, which kill the crime boss while Punisher spirits Lucinda to safety. As Lucinda mourns her father, Punisher leads her away from the farm.

Continuity Notes: None.

Circa 1988: El Caiman briefly questions whether the Punisher was sent by President Reagan, and a couple pages later the Punisher's internal monologue mentions Henry Kissinger.

Later, we see that El Caiman has stacks and stacks of VCRs in his hidden lair, and he's in possession of an anti-aircraft missile he got from the Iranians, who bought it from the Afghanis.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Writer: Louise Simonson | Penciler: Terry Shoemaker | Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Petra Scotese | Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: Far beneath New York, a group of Subterraneans are assaulted by Stack and Purge and their men, the Gatherers and the Purifiers. A telepathic cry from one Subterranean alerts various psychics on the surface and X-Factor goes underground to investigate. They eventually catch up with the Gatherers and Purifiers and a fight breaks out.

Meanwhile, the villainous Apocalypse deduces that the High Evolutionary is behind the attacks and goes to visit him in his space station. They battle in space while arguing philosophy, then Apocalypse teleports both of them beneath the Earth's surface to observe the fight.

While X-Factor battles the Purifiers and Gatherers, the Psychic Subterranean is nearly killed. But the Beast rescues him, prompting him to release a psychic blast which defeats Purge. Apocalypse taunts the High Evolutionary for proving Apocalypse's philosophy of survival of the fittest, then departs. The Evolutionary decides the Subterraneans are worthy to survive his culling for the time being, and teleports away with his men.

Beast invites Val-or, the psychic Subterranean, to come with X-Factor for training in the use of his mutant powers, but he elects instead to remain with his people and use the ability for their benefit.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


In 1988, Marvel did its first summer "Annual Event", "The Evolutionary War". As a kid, I picked up the Spider-Man installments, but no others.

In 2011, Marvel published an EVOLUTIONARY WAR OMNIBUS. As an adult, I was gripped by momentary madness and purchased it to finally read the entire thing.

Now the time has come to do just that.

I'm not sure what this crossover's reputation is these days, but I like it in theory. It's told exclusively in annuals, meaning that unlike something like SECRET WARS II or "Inferno" or "Acts of Vengeance" or the vast majority of Marvel's modern day events, it doesn't interrupt the flow of the ongoing monthly series. And, surprisingly, nearly every chapter in this book is written by those series' regular writers, so the characters and continuity should be in line with what you would've seen in a typical Marvel book at the time.

But on the other hand, when I was younger I tended to associate Marvel's annuals with guest writers, sub-par artwork, and inconsequential filler stories. The first of those, I just addressed above. The third is what we're going to spend the next few weeks determining. And as far as the art -- looking at this book's credits, I see several artists I enjoy listed, including Mark Texeira, Kieron Dwyer, Mark Bagley, and M.D. Bright (a third Mark, for those keeping count). Maybe the artistic drop-off in annual quality came a year or so after "Evolutionary War"? (I do distinctly remember thinking the following year's event, "Atlantis Attacks", was mostly pretty ugly.)