I don’t usually write much about comics, but I recently started reading Marvel. To prepare for reading the Civil War arc, I went back to Disassembled, which consists of the following:
- Avengers (#500-503)
- Avengers Finale
- Captain America (v.4) (#29-32)
- Captain America and the Falcon (#5-7)
- Fantastic Four (v.1) (#517-519)
- Iron Man (v.3) (#84-89)
- Spectacular Spider-Man (#15-20)
- Thor (1998) – Ragnarok (#80-85)
I read it in release order, which I think was the wrong way to read it. The consensus I’ve seen on the Internet while trying to decide what to read is to use release order, but that’s really like watching 5 tv shows at a time while switching back and forth. Sure, it works while they’re airing, but if I’m watching the episodes on DVD, I’d rather watch a show straight through.
Avengers and Avengers Finale, collectively called Avengers Disassembled, was very entertaining even though I wasn’t familiar with the Avengers. I didn’t even know who was on the team, and I still don’t really know much about a lot of the characters. The two characters I most recognized were Iron Man and Captain America. I never cared for Captain America, but after reading some of the comics, I found him to be very interesting. He’s more well-rounded than I though, dealing with the complicated issue of fighting for an ideal that politicians don’t necessarily represent. Anyways, Avengers Disassembled is about Avengers falling apart as they’re all individually attacked around the same time.
Captain America & The Falcon gave a closer look at those two characters. The issues that were part of Disassembled were only 3 of a 14 issue volume. While they stood on their own well enough to be entertaining, I later went back and read all 14 consecutively to get the full story. It was much better that way. Captain America and the Falcon seem to have that good cop / bad cop thing going a bit. I didn’t think about it until now, but that’s also a bit stereotypical given that Captain America is white and the Falcon is black. In this volume the Falcon ends up on the run from the law and plays dirty in an attempt to clear his name. Captain America deals with his own problems as well as his conflicting loyalties. I really enjoyed it, and it definitely solidified Captain America in my mind as a superhero worth following.
The issues of Captain America v4 pitted Captain America against HYDRA. It gave a look at Captain America’s off time a bit more, and the pieces that fit with the rest of Disassembled were cool, but it wasn’t extraordinary or anything.
The Disassembled arc of Fantastic Four picked up at a decent spot but ended rather abruptly. I enjoyed the FF movies but had never read any of their comics. I liked them a lot, however in these issues New York doesn’t like the Fantastic Four, and I don’t know why. I’d like to go back and read a bit more Fantastic Four, or at least read past where I stopped, to see how their story actually ends.
I really enjoyed Iron Man Disassembled, in which Tony can’t figure out why he acted like he was drunk despite not having taken a drink. Things get weirder as the reader witnesses him murdering civilians. Of course, Iron Man wants to know what’s happening, and things really come together by the end.
Thor seemed kind of odd. It wasn’t bad, but it definitely seemed out of place with the rest of the Marvel Universe. In this arc, Thor has to deal with Ragnarok. While some other Avengers enter the story in minor roles, for the most part Thor’s story doesn’t connect with the rest. This arc is primarily mythological, which of course is interesting to me, but it really clashed with the rest of what I was reading.
Spectacular Spider-Man Disassembled was the most complete story of the side-stories to Avengers Disassembled. It didn’t require me to know anything that happened previously, and it had a clear ending. Spider-Man meets a woman named the Queen who can control insects and some humans. Eventually Spider-Man begins to go through strange transformations and comes out of the arc with new powers. I enjoyed it greatly, but the art style was a bit deformed or grotesque (although that might be a bit of a strong description).
The complete Disassembled arc was very fun. While I didn’t know all the characters, it wasn’t too hard to jump into the story. Now I have a decent grasp of a variety of characters, so it’s given me a way to hook into the rest of the Marvel Universe. Now I plan to read/finish some of the volumes that I already read pieces of for Disassembled before I work my way into House of M.