You may remember, from my last post on the Kree/Skrull War from the Avengers comics, that I mostly talked about Neal Adams art. That is because, by and large, the comics are best remembered as few and fantastic memories of its illustrations. Any summary of its plot would only impair an otherwise pristine blog post.

A powerless human stands up to the lord of the negative zone, and from his head spurt golden age heroes (from world war II era comics). The lord of the negative zone is defeated, and this freezes both the warring kris and skulls, who have taken to using earth as their battleground. Suddenly, fleets of warring and racist factions are squared away, with none of their rage tempered, none of their conflicts resolved. One Avenger was even revealed to at least temporarily have been a shape changing alien, a detail which later comics would exploit, and reveal other characters to have been shape-shifting aliens for a long time. This comic, besides providing some of the most paradigm shifting rendering of superheroes, also redefined superhero stories as vast epics defying conclusion. That comes later, though.

Something else does, too. Steve Englehart, ever the dotter of other writers I’s, would quail both sides in the second kree/skrull war ending his (fantastic) opening run on the SIlver Surfer comics. I may one day write about them.

These comics are, however, the first time an epic stretched beyond a couple pages. Well, beyond Steve Ditko’s Dr. Strange work, but the fact remains that a longform work of fiction was created within the monthly superhero comic form. A budding of artistic flower from the vine of industry, such a sustained epic would not emerge until Black Panther first found his own monthly series. Ah, but those are comics I will write about soon.

Indeed, here, I just wanted to share some of Thomas and (both) Buscema’s visual humor and style. Really, they understood the comics form well.

They also created the prototypical ROM character of pure metal and manhood.

And there is also the comic they did around the same time as this. Before Neal Adams moved onto the Avengers, he started out penciling another team book at Marvel. The X-Men. At a time when they would not sell the copies, not even Roy Thomas and Neal Adams could get the kiddies to buy those books. Anyways, they took the stance of the heroes in that book, and developed it with the Vision as well. Check him out, avoiding all of humanity.

They also created another villain resembling magneto and jimmy corrigan more than anything else.

And all the while, keeping the politics real, having Nick Fury disobey a direct order that wreaks of well, its not racism if it’s against aliens. How about bad imagination? Those unable to see aliens as enjoying what earth has to offer?

And all in the service of a greater general than his commanding officer: America’s ethics system. Roy Thomas got his start at Marvel writing the Fury comics, and his impressive ability to weave subplots from the supporting characters became his strongest feature, graduating him to the avengers soon after.

coming up: Roy Thomas and Neal Adams X-Men!!! Or maybe the black panther lurches out from the shadows! Or, perhaps still, I write about Roy Thomas’ early war comics! The Possibilities are few but exciting.

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