Before this 80's work- Byrne drew the Avengers in the late 70's, issues 181-191, with 188-191 being some of my all-time favorites. After his great work with DC's Man of Steel in the mid-80's, he returned to Marvel's Avengers in '89, this time with this west coast team.
Highlights here for me...
*Issues 43 & 44- Hawkeye & Mockingbird reunited. And the west coast team searches for & finds the Vision. I've never seen Vision quite like this! The team is in turmoil, and the government intervenes, bringing them a special new member. Features Hawkeye, Wonder Man, Hank Pym, Wasp, Tigra, Scarlet Witch & more.
*Issue 45- U.S. Agent & the new Vision. And Hawkeye quits the team?
*Issue 46- The Great Lakes Avengers. 'Nuff said!
*Issue 50- The *original* Human Torch! It's the return of a Golden Age great, and he actually joins the team.
I love Byrne's artistic vision, the Avengers in general, and especially the Avengers west coast team in the '80s. Here we get all three! This isn't usually considered his best work, but it *is* among my favorites. The clarity & consistency in his artistic vision never ceases to amaze me. In this paperback he touches on story points he previously visited in titles like Avengers & Fantastic Four. He especially, continually references the Invaders all throughout his career, and I actually appreciate these brief flashbacks.
Visually speaking, maybe the biggest standout feature here is the varied and/or inconsistent inking(!). It's amazing how the overall visual style of Byrne's run seems to change from issue to issue here. This might be the main reason why this isn't usually considered Byrne's best work, but I actually love these issues, in part, *because* of the various visual styles on display. I guess only Byrne & Machlan can say for sure why the visual style keeps changing all throughout this great '89 series.
Included in this volume:
*Issues #42 to #48 & #50- John Byrne writes & pencils; Mike Machlan inks
*Issue #49- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
P.S. And check out this definitive career interview with Byrne: Modern Masters, Vol. 7: John Byrne. With great art & information, it's highly recommended!