Greetings from the Odinson,
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Marvel and DC, and even Dark Horse and Image, really excelled at the Limited-Series. Limited Series were comic book series that usually ran 4 to 6 issues and served several important purposes. They also gave birth to their cousin – The Maxi-Series – those 9 to 12 issues mega storylines (i.e. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars and Squadron Supreme) that read like novels
The Tropes of the Limited Series
- They either introduced readers to a new hero or shined the spotlight on a hero that did not have their own ongoing series, sometimes both.
- They could tell stories that tie into but do not interfere with the current continuity or storylines happening in a character’s regular series.
- Limited Series gave readers and fans perfect jumping on points, because they were self-contained ventures and understood limited affairs. A young fan that may not know twenty years of continuity could jump in and not worry about having to make a big time-consuming or financial commitment.
- The limited Series can set up major events and/or the road to stardom.
Thus, begins the Odinson’s Maxi Series celebrating the Limited Series.
The Odinson Celebrates the Limited-Series: Part 1 – Marvel: 1980-1983
Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions (1982) – Format: 3 issues. Plot: Two omnipotent cosmic entities gather ALL the Marvel U’s heroes together to compete in a galactic tournament to decide the fate of a god.
The Odinson’s Thoughts: This is an important series because it is the very first time every single hero in a universe had been gathered together in one story. It also introduced the readers to a bunch of new and obscure heroes from around the world – Defensor, Peregrine, Blitzkrieg, Shamrock, Arabian Knight, Sabra, and the Collective Man. Plus, not only did this tale plant the seed for what crossover events at the House of Ideas could be, it set up an amazing sequel – The Contest. And, it spawned an unrelated follow up, Contest of Champions II and a video game, Contest of Champions. Bonus: An eagle-eyed fan may also witness the very first meeting of the Marvel Universe’s clandestine Illuminati.
Wolverine (1982) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: When he hears the woman he loves is in distress, Logan flies to Japan where he gets caught up in the deadly machinations of the yakuza and a ninja death cult.
The Odinson’s Thoughts: This is arguably one of the most important Limited Series in Comics History. This seminal tale was crafted by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, two masters of their craft that were at the height of their powers. Wolverine #1 has one of the most iconic comic book covers in history. Plus, this is the moment Wolverine wasn’t just everybody’s favorite X-Man anymore, now he was a bonafide rock star and after the launch of his very own ongoing series in 1988, he became an A-Lister.
Hercules (1982) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: In the future, after centuries of adventures on Earth, the mighty Hercules returns to Mount Olympus. There, his brash actions cause his father, Zeus, King of the Gods, to exile Hercules to the furthest reaches of outer space where he hopes his hard-headed son will learn some humility.
The Odinson’s Thoughts: I absolutely adore this mini-series. It is Marvel’s Hercules, the Odinson’s favorite incarnation of the character, at his very best. Plus, the story ends with one of the best Galactus stories ever where the fans get to see the Devourer of Worlds in a light we had never seen him before.
Vision and Scarlet Witch (1982) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: For years, a romantic relationship had been blossoming between the mutant and the android. They take a sabbatical from active duty with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to spend time cultivating that bond and wind up discovering more about themselves than they ever thought possible.
The Odinson’s Thoughts: This is a very important storyline in Marvel History because this is when something that had been suspected for many years is finally confirmed – Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s true connection with Magneto!
Hawkeye (1983) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Hawkeye tries to find his way in the world away from the Avengers. However, he learns that his new employers may not be on the up and up.
The Odinson’s Thoughts: I had really never been a big fan of Hawkeye early on. To me, he was just a guy with a bow, a bad attitude, and a dime store Giant Man wannabe. That was until Avengers #221-223. The character really started to pop and became a Hawkeye I could root for. This limited series was an extension of that character development. It introduced Mockingbird and set-up Hawkeye’s road to becoming an accomplished leader of the west coast branch of Avengers. Bonus: This storyline shows just how strong somebody has to be to actually use Hawkeye’s bow!
Cloak and Dagger (1983) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: As Cloak begins to struggle with the darkness that lies within, the original runaways – Cloak and Dagger – track a killer that roams the streets and shadowed allies of New York City.
The Odinson’s Thoughts: Two names – Rick Leonardi and Terry Austin. Leonardi is a highly underrated artist and visual storyteller in our beloved medium, and Terry Austin is, hands down, the greatest inker and embellisher the world of comics has ever seen. Austin has the ability to turn the pencils and layouts of a good artist into something truly spectacular (I think John Byrne and Art Adams would agree).
Falcon (1983) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: The high-flying Falcon races against the clock to prevent a gang war from erupting in his old neighborhood. Along the way, he battles foes that are way above his pay scale and overcomes impossible odds.
The Odinson’s Thoughts: Some the Odinson’s earliest comic books were the Captain America and the Falcon issues. This limited series really gives Sam Wilson a chance to shine. We get to see what a true force for justice he is as he battles not just a giant rogue Sentinel, but also the electrifying power of Electro! Bonus: In this story, the Odinson learned why Falcon has such a strong psychic connection with his partner – Redwing.
Magik (1983) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: The little sister of Colossus is targeted by a demon lord and forged into a supernatural force to be reckoned with.
The Odinson’s Thoughts: This is the origin story of Illyana Rasputin, a character that would go on to become a mainstay in the X-Men mythos and a fan favorite.
Be sure to tune in next week when the Odinson continues his Maxi-Series on Limited Series with The Odinson Celebrates the Limited-Series: Part 2 – Marvel 1984-1985.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.