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Avengers Disassembled: Iron Man, Thor & Captain America HC Hardcover – 1 Apr 2009
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The best section of this book - by far - is Thor. When just about every Avenger EVER showed up in Disassembled, Thor was absent. Here we learn why he didn't respond in the Avengers' time of greatest need: Ragnarok. Long-time Marvel fans might roll their eyes at this because Ragnarok has happened before, more than once. Yet, the writers have come up with a fresh take on "the end of the world" and why it keeps happening to Asgard! It was a very clever and truly satisfying story arc. Thor learns of Those Who Sit Above in Shadow. As before, Loki is the "cause" of Ragnarok. Only this time, Thor is going to "help" him see it through to the end. This story stands out not only because it was exciting and well-executed, but also because it is complete and can stand alone. There are several epic battles included, and the one between Loki and Thor has an astonishing and hilarious result. And I have to mention how much I loved Thor's armor as depicted here; it is much more kingly and is the most appropriate I have ever seen on him. The end was a surprise for me as Asgard truly falls and Thor will not rise again until Starczynski's run, post-Invasion.
Captain America was next, and was the second best of the three. Parts of it were fantastic, but one part left me completely confused and with unresolved plot points. There are three small sections that compose Cap's part. The first features Iron Man and how his duties as Secretary of Defense conflict with his role as Avenger when he is ordered to dismantle a weapon hidden in Avengers mansion - without alerting the Avengers. This was a short, action-heavy piece that was fun but felt unconnected with Disassembled. The second part ties directly to Disassembled but is also the weakest part because there is not enough context or resolution. Scarlet Witch figures prominently in a mission (and love life!) of Cap and Falcon where they have apprehended a "super sailor" gone rogue and a biological weapon, which turns out to be DNA. "Cap...you do realize whose DNA that is...?" I think readers are supposed to intuit whose it is - only newbies like me will probably have no clue and the story simply ends there. We don't know what happens to the prisoner or the DNA, or if this even happened or was a delusion of the Scarlet Witch. The last section follows Cap post-Disassembled (I *think*!) and his renewed relationship with Diamondback. Only, her motives are not entirely romantic and she may not even be who she appears to be. This story has the return of Cap's nemesis, Red Skull. This story stands mostly on its own and was a solid way to end Cap's section with action, romance and surprises.
The Iron Man section was short, weak, and pretty boring. I think the main purpose of it was to "put the cat back in the bag" vis-á-vis Iron Man's secret identity. The section opens with Iron Man's mental breakdown before the United Nations; a scene which also occurs in the Disassembled trade, which is the only reason I know it is tied into the event. After that, I am not sure if what takes place actually happens or was a delusion. Someone is framing Tony Stark by stealing his armor and pretending to be him. Many people, including an old flame, end up dead and Pepper and Happy Hogan are married in this world. I could have skipped this section entirely because it didn't add anything to Disassembled and so much was out of context I was lost anyway.
Overall, the Thor section alone was worth the purchase of this collection, but the Captain America section also had some really great material. This was a valuable addition to the Disassembled event and I highly recommend it.
The artwork on Iron Man, and Cap is also top-of-the-genre, and benefit from the oversize treatment.
If you love the Avengers Disassembled/House of M/New Avengers/Civil War mega-arc like I do, this is a must for your library.
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