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Flashback: Review of Avengers 471 (September 2002) August 11, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, Flashback.
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In Flashback, LOTRKing reviews a random back issue (in most instances, one he hasn’t read before) and attempts to make sense of both the story and its place in Marvel history.

Since starting Flashback, I’ve been looking forward to the time when my random number generator would pick an issue from this decade. Not only did it pick out a rather entertaining one, Avengers 471 (aka Volume 3 #56) just happens to be a one-shot and the end of an almost five year run. This was Kurt Busiek’s final issue and he uses it to tell a flashback story with an amusing situation. Auditors from the Maria Stark Foundation (which funds the Avengers) have come to examine a particular Avengers mission to see if the expenditures of the foundation do indeed qualify for tax exemptions, as they say they do. What follows is a piece by piece story as several of the members tell the tale of their mission and the part they played.

In the flashback, the Avengers had to travel to St. Louis to combat the recently recreated “Elements of Doom.” While the issue made it seem as though these were not new characters, it was certainly the first time that I had heard of them. The idea behind them is that a scientist had discovered a way to bring each of the elements to life and do the bidding of their creator. A bit of eye-brow-raising science, to be sure, but then again, quirky science has always been a staple of comics.

While this was surely meant to be a funny look at what “normal people” like accountants have to deal with in the wake of super hero’s actions, it also surprisingly played a strong case for why the S.H.R.A. (or something like it) would simplify these matters (at least, if you read between the lines). If the Avengers were simply run by the government, these sorts of things wouldn’t be necessary since the Avengers would be government funded. True, the government would still perform audits to ensure that no money was spent needlessly, but at least the team would never have to worry about losing their funding, because the country will always need superhero teams.

Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable Avenger stand-alone issue. It may not have done anything ground breaking, but it provided for a great read. If you ever come across this in a back issue bin, don’t hesitate to pick it up.

Next week: Uncanny X-Men 217

-LOTRKing

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