Avengers Annual #16
Marvel Comics (1987)“The Day Death Died!” WRITER: Tom DeFalco VARIOUS ARTISTS: Bob Hall, Tom Palmer, John Romita, Jr., Bill Seinkiewciz, Keith Pollard, Al Williamson, Marshal Rodgers, Bob Layton, Jackson Guice, Kevin Nolan, Ron Frienz, & Bob Wiacek COLORIST: Max Scheele LETTERER: Ken Lopez EDITOR: Mark Gruenwald
Now in control of Death, the Grandmaster plans to destroy and remake the universe, allowing the Avengers a chance to stop but stacking the deck with more than dead heroes and villains to stand against them. In the end only Captain America and Hawkeye are still alive, but the immortal is prepping round 2…until a trick by Hawkeye allows Death to free herself and expel the Grandmaster, bringing the Avengers and West Coasters back to life to resume their game.
What they got right: You kind of knew the reset button was going to be pressed, but you do get to see the heroes willing to make the sacrifice in hopes of saving the universe…even if one of the teams fails to stop their bomb. Still, there was some decent action and you can hardly tell there were so many artists on this comic.
What they got wrong: Allegedly this was going to fix what went wrong in Contest Of Champions, but the only mention of it was that Grandmaster claimed to lose on purpose…except the one who grabbed the last piece of the orb should have tied the contest so it doesn’t matter if he faked losing or not. The score was TIED! This solved nothing and including it in the collection I’ve been reviewing from the past few weeks ends up rather pointless.
Other notes: Three of the deceased Grandmaster uses against the Avengers are Bucky Barnes (later revealed to have been alive and turned into a cyborg assassin by the Soviets), Green Goblin (turned out he faked his death as part of his further messing around with Spider-Man’s head) and Nighthawk (later turned out to be comatose). So, yeah, nice going later writers. You made these guys look bad so now we have more plotholes instead of less.
Recommendation: I’ll have a full wrap-up review of the book Sunday over at The Clutter Reports, but as for this Avengers two-parter it wasn’t bad but it really isn’t a must-read either. I’m sure Grandmaster will show up again and will probably explain himself to any hero that doesn’t know he isn’t dead any more.