uncas007's Avengers: The Contest #1 - Avengers: The Contest review

Everyone Wins

The Contest of Champions is an underrated event in Marvel history, especially since it is the first limited series of the company.  The back story behind the creation of the series, modified by America's withdrawal from the 1980 Summer Olympics, is an interesting look at the inner workings of early '80s Marvel.  Better still is the explanation for why the Avengers/WCA annual sequel took place, thanks to the editorial mistake of the final score in the original event.  How they missed that, we may never know (and certainly Tom DeFalco, despite his convivial tone in the introduction, feels no compulsion to explain it).  Despite the mistake, the series is pretty good.  Some may think the premise is simple, and it is, but that shouldn't take away from the enjoyment of it.  The odd thing, though, is that they scooped up every superhero only to select two dozen to fight it out.  Having everyone show up just for a brief cameo is a bit goofy, but since it doesn't happen very often (Starlin's Infinity Trilogy excepted), it's not as goofy as some people make it out to be.  The character roundup in the back of the book is another nice bonus as well.   Grandmaster's willingness to sacrifice himself the life of his-not-real-brother Collector is an impressive emotional conclusion to the original event.  That it is retconned slightly by the annual crossover years later is somewhat disappointing, though it does set-up the premise for the conclusion well.  Why they didn't admit the mistake in the sequel as motivation for the next contest is also confusing, especially since DeFalco admitted so many fans caught the mistake originally.  Comic fans aren't unintelligent readers - they should have been treated a bit better.  The sequel has even more good emotional moments: though we know they aren't really going to die, the sacrifices and pain the heroes go through are believable despite their brevity.  The She-Hulk and Tigra moment is perhaps the best in the entire event.  Hawkeye's solution is in full keeping with his character, despite what some say.  His love for his wife is even more impressive, more so than the troubles of Ant-Man and Wasp, which should never have happened, according to recent revelations (and common sense).  All in all, The Contest is one of those early, enjoyable, slightly over-the-top events that occurred when Marvel writers not only had a sense of humor but a sense of drama (though a bit dodgy on editing awareness).  Without having to gather everyone for a company-wide changing event (each year), The Contest is a good, standalone read from back in the day, made accessible by the recent reprints for which I am grateful.

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