Thrashing Legends

By Brian Cross

As a kid, I latched on to comics rather quickly; my father often bought them for me from drugstores and the local bookstore down the street, as my parents were very supportive of my reading habit. That’s how I got into Iron Man, Green Lantern, and others that remain lifelong favorites. Many of my friends at school read comics, too, and of course we often borrowed, traded, and gave away each others’ issues. (When you’re a kid, comics are disposable, remember?) I read countless issues back then, but one that still sticks out to me was Avengers Annual #10.

I got it from a friend some time in the late 1980s, and he had nabbed it from either a flea market or a family member. I can’t recall which, because he had a whole pile of comics acquired from both sources, and AA #10 just happened to be the one he passed on to me. I don’t even remember which friend I got it from! Maybe I traded it for it? Who knows, but none of that is important. What is important is that I read that comic over and over again.

From a historical perspective, AA #10 is very important. Aside from featuring the first appearances of Rogue and Madelyne Pryor (though the latter may just be a kid with the same name as the later infamous Goblin Queen), the issue was a showcase for the stunning artwork of Michael Golden and Chris Claremont’s crisp writing. I didn’t know their names or their professional accomplishments at the time, but the quality of their work certainly made an impression on me even at such a young age.

The issue was a thrill ride from beginning to end, and it’s a testament to Claremont’s ability that even though I knew nothing of Ms. Marvel or her history with Marcus, I understood those subplots perfectly, as they were well explained in dialogue and flashbacks. The battle sequences were expertly plotted and rendered. To my young mind, watching a mystery woman trashing legends like Captain America, Thor, and Wonder Man just didn’t seem possible. The X-Men cameos were great, as was watching Iron Man finally came back into the fight as well as the rest of the Avengers using skillful tactics to defeat the powerful Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

I reread AA #10 so many times over the years that I even had to restaple it due to the book falling apart! As I grew older, I sold off most of my old comics, but I kept AA #10 lying around to read again once in a blue moon.

Alas, it’s long gone by now, and I have no idea what happened to it. Occasionally I entertain the idea of picking up a copy again, but it’s managed to hold on to a rather high value due to that Rogue first appearance.

Well, I can always look for a cheap reprint at some point. It’ll be worth that stroll down memory lane. I promise to take better care of this copy, however. AA #10 is not a book that deserves to fall into disrepair.