Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson’s Maxi Series celebrating the Limited Series continues.
The Odinson’s Must Read Limited-Series: Part 3 – Marvel: 1986-1989
Balder the Brave (1985) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: From the stygian pits of Hel, the land of the dead, to the bone-chilling wastelands of Jotunheim, the land of the giants, the Norse god of light travels through the Nine Worlds forging a legend worthy of standing beside the Mighty Thor himself. The Odinson’s Thoughts: This limited series is a fantastic companion piece to Walt Simonson’s legendary run on Thor and gave a C-List character a much deserved chance to shine. NOTE: Technically, this limited series started in November of ’85 but the bulk of this bi-monthly series took place in glorious 1986.
Elektra Assassin (1986) – Format: 8 issues. Plot: After her murder at the hands of Bullseye in the pages of Daredevil #181, Elektra is resurrected by the death cult known as the Hand. As the readers see her origins through flashbacks, Elektra struggles with her new role as a servant of the Beast. Will she be an agent of chaos, or can she redeem her soul? The Odinson’s Thoughts: Two names: Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz. A++
Punisher (1986) – Format: 5 issues. Plot: Locked up in prison, Frank Castle, the deadly vigilante known as the Punisher, embarks on a quest for revenge against the scarred gangster that put him behind bars. The Odinson’s Thoughts: For years, Frank Castle had been a thorn in the side of heroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil, but this is the moment he became a star. This is one of the most important character-establishing limited series in history. And, it features some truly spectacular art by the legendary Mike Zeck (Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, Kraven’s Last Hunt).
Firestar (1986) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Teenager Angelica Jones discovers that she is a mutant. This storyline explores what would happen if a young mutant decides not to attend Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted but instead goes to Emma’s Frost’s Massachusetts Academy. Can Angelica still find the hero within when she is under the influence of a school ran by the notorious Hellfire Club? The Odinson’s Thoughts: I was introduced to this fantastic character on the Saturday morning cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Her origin episode, A Fire-Star is Born, guest-starring the X-Men and featuring the Unstoppable Juggernaut, is one of my All-Time favorite single animated episodes in history. Firestar would go on to become a Marvel mainstay joining the New Warriors and even the Avengers! NOTE: Though this series was released after Uncanny X-Men #193 (Firestar’s 1st comic book appearance), this story takes place before and during the events of that seminal issue. Bonus: Originally, the Human Torch was supposed to be the third wheel on the Amazing Friends show, but because he was unavailable due to TV rights, an original character, Firestar, was created.
Fallen Angel (1987) – Format: 8 issues. Plot: One moment of Anger can change everything! The Odinson’s Thoughts: Marvel used this series to explore the peripheral corners of the Marvel Universe through the eyes of the New Mutant Sunspot and introduced a whole host of new and relatively unknown characters to the readers.
Fantastic Four vs. X-Men (1987) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Left without options, the X-Men may have to make a deal with the devil that is Victor Von Doom in order to save one of their own. Meanwhile, a dark secret about the origins of the Fantastic Four threatens to tear Marvel’s First Family apart. The Odinson’s Thoughts: Not only does this seminal storyline serve as a poignant epilogue to the classic Mutant Massacre crossover, but Chris Claremont, Jon Bogdanove, and Terry Austin deliver an absolute masterpiece with ties to the beginnings of the Marvel Age while also paving the way for the future. This is, without a doubt, hands down, one of the best series of the limited series format ever released.
Mephisto vs… (1987) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: The Lord of Evil seeks the ultimate prize – the soul of a god! The Odinson’s Thoughts: He had always been a thorn in the side of the Silver Surfer, but this storyline truly established Mephisto as a scary force for evil in the Marvel Universe. The format of the story is very video game-like as Marvel’s Satan must first navigate three levels – facing the Fantastic Four, X-Factor, and the X-Men, before the ultimate boss fight against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. NOTE: Back in the days when continuity meant something, the climax of this series serves as a wonderful interlude to Walt Simonson’s swan song to his legendary run on the thunder god in Thor #379-382.
X-Men vs. the Avengers (1987) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: When Asteroid M, the old HQ of Magneto (see Uncanny X-Men #113), falls to earth, events are set in motion that pits the Avengers against the X-Men, with the Soviet Super Soldiers thrown in for good measure. NOTE: The Russian super heroes are there to make sure Magneto pays for crimes committed in Uncanny X-Men #150. The Odinson’s Thoughts: There are so many layers to this tale: Magneto’s dark past coming back to haunt him and his fellow mutants, the Avengers struggling with doing what is right and what is lawful, all set against the backdrop of the last days of the Cold War. This is another fantastic example of the limited series format being used to its true potential. This seminal tale is a very important chapter in the character development of Magneto (see So Sayeth the Odinson: The Amazing Character Arc of Magneto).
GI Joe and the Transformers (1987) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: The race to secure a new super weapon sets the Robots in Disguise and A Real American Hero on a collision course for the ages. The Odinson’s Thoughts: In the grand tradition of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and King Kong vs. Godzilla, two of the biggest icons from 1980s pop culture meet for the very first time.
Black Panther (1988) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: The King of Wakanda battles threats both within and without in this fast-paced, action-packed ‘80s thrill ride. The Odinson’s Thoughts: Seeing the Black Panther wrestling a 5,000-pound charging rhino to the ground is worth the price of admission alone.
Nick Fury vs. SHIELD (1988) – Format: 5 issues. Plot: For decades, Colonel Nick Fury has protected the United States from terrorist threats as the chairman of the super spy organization known as SHIELD, but what happens when the world thinks that Nick Fury is the enemy? The Odinson’s Thoughts: Some of the elements of this spy thriller were used in the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown (1988) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Alex and Logan head south of the border where they get caught up in a caper that will either bring them closer together as friends and allies, or kill them trying. The Odinson’s Thoughts: This was yet another stepping stone for Wolverine on his way to becoming a true Marvel A-Lister.
Spellbound (1988) – Format: 6 issues. Plot: In a magical realm, an ageless war between supernatural factions threatens to spill over into the realm of man and only one woman may possess the power to save both worlds. The Odinson’s Thoughts: Perhaps Marvels answer to DC’s Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld, this mini-series features some truly inspired artwork as artist Terry Shoemaker channels his best Walt Simonson.
Damage Control (1989 1st Series) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Ever wondered who cleans up the mess after a battle between the Avengers and an invading alien horde levels half of Manhattan? This is the tale that answers that question. The Odinson’s Thoughts: A humorous, albeit eye-opening, look behind the curtain of the workings of the Marvel U.
Damage Control (1989 2nd Series) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Damage Control may be in over their heads trying to clean up the mess caused by Marvel’s Acts of Vengeance crossover event. The Odinson’s Thoughts: More Mighty Marvel Mirth.
Be sure to tune in next week when the Odinson presents his Must Read Limited Series: Part 4 – DC Comics: 1980-1984.
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