Home > DC Comics, Marvel Comics > Avengers/JLA #4

Avengers/JLA #4

April 4, 2004

Review by: Blake M. Petit & Mike D’Alfonso
Quick Rating: Excellent/Excellent
Title: The Brave and the Bold

With Krona amassing enough power to destroy two worlds, the Avengers and the Justice League face off with a legion of villains to save all creation.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Art: George Perez
Colors: Tom Smith
Letters: Comicraft
Editor: Tom Brevoort, Dan Raspler & Mike Carlin
Cover Art: George Perez
Publisher: Marvel Comics & DC Comics

The Avengers and the Justice League have one chance to take down the mad Guardian Krona. Through sifting timestreams and an army of foes, the heroes never yield. Reviewers Blake Petit and Mike D’Alfonso give you their impressions of the final chapter of this crossover event.

MIKE: Well ladies and gents, we have the grand finale of the DC/Marvel intercompany crossover, starring the premiere teams of both universes respectively and I think that after a few months delay, it was well worth the wait.

BLAKE: More than worth it, I’d say. Busiek and Perez have woven an incredible story that really lives up to the 20 years it took to get on the page.

MIKE: I have to hand it to Kurt Busiek, he certainly did his homework when it came to researching the history of the principal cast in this story. When I read issue number three a few months back, he touched base on the pivotal moments of all the main characters. I was almost afraid that Busiek would never be able to top it. It would seem my fears have disappeared, when the book further delves into the heart of the conflict both between the two teams and the crisis that is presented before them.

BLAKE: In fact, if there’s any strike against this issue, it’s that it may be TOO continuity heavy. With timeline shifts hitting the heroes, changing out players and turning heroes into different incarnations of themselves, people without an in-depth knowledge of the teams may be at a loss Still, since these crossovers are done mainly for the die-hard fans, that shouldn’t be too big an obstacle.

MIKE: I would have to agree with you on that, but I think that it is somewhat insignificant in the grand scheme of things. For example: Captain America and Superman are seen as revered iconic figures in both their universes respectively. The only difference is that Captain America has years of experience both as a hero and a soldier. He has guided men of humanistic and godlike qualities alike, without very much hesitation.

BLAKE: Oh, of course. In fact, I thought one of the best things about this issue is how Busiek didn’t shy away from crowning certain heroes the best in certain things. Superman immediately defers to Captain America as the leader, Cap recognizes Superman as being the most powerful. A lot of crossovers dance around that sort of thing for fear of alienating some fans, but Busiek took it head on and settled the debates.

MIKE: I really don’t know if anybody has noticed this but, the current title holders of the Green Lantern and Flash legacies did not appear for most of this crossover. I really think that the inclusion of Barry Allen (Flash II) and Hal Jordan (Green Lantern II) was only because they were supposed to be in the original crossover that was supposed to be released over 20 years ago.

BLAKE: Well, no, Kyle Rayner and Wally West were featured in the first two issues. I think the reason Busiek brought in Hal and Barry once the timelines started to fall apart was because — regardless of your opinions of the current GL and Flashes, Hal and Barry in their primes were easily the most heroic.

MIKE: Well that’s true. I have to admit that I did like the shared moments between all the heroes before the final battle actually begun. This was around the time they realized that separate tragedies have befallen each of them in their personal lives. Out of all the people who had not taken to the sudden impact, Vision seemed to emote a lot of turmoil. Considering that he is an android, it is very ironic that anything that could be viewed as a cold calculating machine would seem more human than his contemporaries (Well he does have the brain engrams of Wonder Man).

BLAKE: Not to mention the impact on Hal and Barry, both of whom knew full well that in saving the universe they were condeming themselves to death and, in Hal’s case, madness. I thought Busiek handled the scenes with those two especially well.

MIKE: In the respect of Barry Allen, there were some scenes in this book that is very reminicent of his final fate in the Crisis maxi series.

BLAKE: Which, of course, George Perez also got to draw, giving the book some poetic symmetry.

MIKE: I really think that George Perez is the undisputed king when it comes to cramming as many characters in a single book as possible. If I’m not mistaken, just about every person that has been affiliated with both teams make an appearance in this book.

BLAKE: Well, he did get literally every character in the team’s histories onto the cover of issue #3 — no one else could do that. I think that may have been one of the reasons they went with the shifting timelines as well — to make sure they could represent as many characters as possible. And Perez did them all beautifully, even the dreaded Electric Blue Superman.

MIKE: Perez could have also taken the easy way out by presenting just the prominant members of each team and leave the obscure characters out of it all together. Fans of Perez know that he would go 120% to please the masses. With any character both popular and obscure, Perez has captured the visual aspect of each character from various timepoints, with very sharp accuracy. I really thought it was a kick to see the Great Lakes Avengers and Animal Man.

BLAKE: And here I thought I was the only one who remembered the Great Lakes Avengers.

One can’t discount the contributions of Tom Smith on colors either. Perez’s artwork is beautiful, but without great colors to pull the images off the page, it wouldn’t have mattered. A lesser colorist would have muddied this book up. Smith stepped up and made it beautiful.

MIKE: These fine collaborators, as well as the technology to enhance the richness of the art clearly defines the magnitude of what is to be expected of a mini series of this caliber. Anything less would have been a sheer blow to both companies if it went south. I had the utmost confidence that all would go well and I think it did.

BLAKE: This is a book that has suffered from 20 years of hype. I know there are people who were disappointed in it — I honestly believe that in most of those cases it was because they had built it up in their minds to be something it could never possibly have lived up to. People who wanted a fun story featuring lots of heroes, lots of action and great characterization and artwork couldn’t be disappointed.

MIKE: I think that you could use movies as an analogy in this instance. If the advertising over-emphasizes the product that a movie studio is trying to sell, it could be a hit or miss no matter what. I think that if it was announced in another fashion rather than plastering it throughout both publishers and comic guides alike, we would here a different tune.

BLAKE: I think that’s a problem with comics in general these days, actually, but that’s another topic entirely.

MIKE: Well all in all, I think that people want a general consensus of how I felt about this issue as well as the overall mini. I would honestly say that it has filled my expectations as both a fan, and an avid reader of various forms of sequential literature. I admit that there were times where I thought that Busiek and Perez would muck up the characterization and visuals of the numerous characters that appeared. However I think that these two individuals pulled together a story that is valid and not a throw away story just to rake in some extra dollars.

BLAKE: I couldn’t agree more. For a book so long in the making, this miniseries delivered for me, and I’ll put it on my shelf right next to the Crisis itself.

Blake’s Rating: 10/10

Mike’s Rating: 10/10

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