Avengers: The Korvac Saga TPB

Reviewer: Jesse Baker
Story Title: Avengers #167 (Tomorrow Dies Today!), Avengers #168 (First Blood), Avengers #170 (…Though Hell Bars the Way), Avengers #171 (…Where Angels Fear to Tread), Avengers #172 (Holocaust in New York Harbor), Avengers #173, (Threshold To Oblivion), Avengers #174 (Captives of the Collector!), Avengers #175 (The End and the Beginning), Avengers #176 (Destiny Hunt), Avengers #177 (The Hope and the Slaughter)

Written by: Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, and Bill Mantlo
Penciled by: George Perez, Sal Buscema, and David Wenzel
Inked by: Pablo Marcos, Klaus Janson, Ricardo Villamonte
Colored by: Phil Rachelson, Nelson Yomtov, Bob Sharen
Lettered by: Joe Rosen, Denise Wohl, Annette Kawecki, Shelly Lefferman
Editor: N/A
Publisher: Marvel Comics

When people think of Jim Shooter, the phrase “The Micro-Managing Editor-In-Chief From Hell” often comes to mind. But despite his lack of people skills, Jim Shooter was a talented writer and during his lengthy run on the Avengers during the late 1970s/early 1980s, produced two of the most controversial and famous Avengers storylines ever written: The Korvac Saga and the Trial of Henry Pym. The Korvac Saga in particular is Shooter’s biggest legacy towards the Avengers as Shooter created a story that stands as one of the most well received and critically acclaimed stories ever to run in the pages the Avengers.

The story revolves around the paraplegic cyborg Michael Korvac, enemy of the 30th Century heroes known as the Guardians of the Universe who Shooter revamps into an all-powerful and all-knowing God-like being. While fleeing to the 20th Century after a battle with the Guardians, Korvac breaks into the spaceship of Galactus and proceeds to steal a small portion of the cosmic power that fuels the Devourer of World’s vessel. The power transforms Korvac literally into a literal Man-God. After restoring his body to its pre-cyborg form, Korvac decides to use his new found omnipotence to restore order to the universe like any good God would and heaven help anyone who stands in his way.

Unfortunately Korvac’s new found Godhood has its drawback, as everyone and their mother is onto Korvac’s trail with the intention of killing him before he tips over the preverbal applecart. Amongst the people out to get him are the Guardians of the Galaxy, who recruit the Avengers to help them find the time traveler and the villainous Collector, who has sent his daughter Carina to seduce Korvac and lead him to the villain. And if the crisis with Korvac isn’t enough for the Avengers to deal with, they must contend with the return of Ultron (who wants to recapture his robotic love slave and newest Avengers member Jocasta) and the arrival of National Security Council representative and all-around bastard Henry Peter Gyrich, who cancels the Avengers’ security clearances after a run-in with Hawkeye which resulted in the archer tying up and gagging the obnoxious pencil pusher.

The Korvac Saga is considered the best writing of Shooter’s long and sordid career in the comic industry. The growing tension of Korvac and the Avengers’ cat and mouse chase leads to one of the biggest and famous Avengers fights of all time, as Korvac single-handedly kills the Avengers one by one in one until only Thor and Moondragon (who’s made it clear to the Avengers that they should be helping Korvac instead of hunting him down like an animal) are left. The saga’s ending also stirs up controversy as Korvac, on the verge of victory, suddenly resurrects everyone he murdered and kills himself in a sudden moment of overwhelming remorse for what he had done. It wouldn’t be until over a decade later, in Fantastic Four Annual #24 that we would learn the real reason behind Korvac’s suicide, as he killed himself upon realizing that Galactus had discovered his break-in and was about to the unleash the power of the Ultimate Nullifier upon Korvac and purge him from existence…

The Korvac Saga also features top-notch art from George Perez (who was just starting out in the business) and longtime Avengers artist Sal Buscema. It’s a literal dream team in terms of art for the book as Perez and Buscema nail the characters artistically in every panel.