Friday, August 8, 2008

Avengers Unplugged

In my continuing quest to re-read my complete Marvels, I've reached Avengers Unplugged, a short lived (six issues) series from 1995. Like its sister publication, Fantastic Four Unplugged, the main conceit behind Avengers Unplugged was its price: $ .99 an issue, about half the price of what a "normal" Marvel comic was going for at the time. The idea, I think, was to offer a comic with popular characters that could be read apart from the "main" team book and see if the difference in price would drive sales. Obviously, the plan didn't work since cancellation came quickly.

The first couple of issues are standard slugfests versus super-villains like Nefarius and Graviton, while the third offers something a little different in teaming up two of the Avengers' female members (Crystal and Black Widow) for the spotlight in a rather boring battle against the android Super Adaptoid. The last few issues are better, as #4 features the wedding between long-time super-villain lovers, Titania and the Absorbing Man (with the nice turnabout of the heroes being the interfering problem-makers), # 5 resolves which hero should bear the name "Captain Marvel", and # 6 follows up a plot thread from elsewhere about the Black Knight's cursed sword.

All in all, Avengers Unplugged consisted of standard super-heroics that could have fit into the main Avengers title. Still, it's regrettable that the experiment with lower prices didn't bear fruit.

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