When I started reading the Avengers I didn’t mean to constantly compare them to the Justice League, but I couldn’t help myself. It was another team of superheroes banding together fighting off villains, and it was only natural for me to mentally set them against each other. I’m not weighing super powers either; it doesn’t matter what each member of the team can do (though the Avengers get extra points right off the bat because they don’t have Snapper Carr. That kid annoyed me). I’m considering characters, which team is more engaging, which stories have more to chew on, what the villains are like, etc.
So far? Avengers are winning. By a landslide.
Something about this heroic team grabs me more. A friend once told me that Stan Lee writes dialogue the way we all wished we talked, and I’ve definitely taken note of his style. That’s contributing for sure, and overall, these heroes just feel more real to me. They’re not just folks in costumes with extraordinary powers who sort of live outside the real world. They’re accessible, and to me, that makes them more likeable and more easy to connect to. And I’m not carrying over preexisting feelings about any of these characters. Aside from Captain America, I haven’t read any comics featuring the other heroes.
They pick at each other like any group would:
And sometimes they have crushes on each other:
(The Wasp makes a very good point by the way).
I commented a lot on the silliness of the Silver Age in the DC universe. It was fun if occasionally a bit too much. The Avengers have their moments of goofy, too. In Issue #1, The Hulk is hiding from the world at large in a circus where he pretends to be a robot (that explains his super human strength). Uh-huh. Don’t ask me where they found a seamstress to make such a large outfit on a moment’s notice. I hoped she charged extra.
That goofiness is more effective when it’s sprinkled throughout the story instead of overriding everything. I don’t find the writing as repetitive either. I haven’t been told that Iron Man has to charge his heart activator on every other page. The fact that the team meets at Tony Stark’s mansion without realizing he’s Iron Man has been mentioned more than once, but it feels like the only thing. It’s impressive how many more panels and words that leaves for telling the story. And the story’s why we’re all here, right? Okay, the story and the art. Like this (I love these panel):
I know I don’t have to choose Justice League or Avengers to root for. I can enjoy both comics without having a favorite. I certainly haven’t read enough about either team to make an informed decision; I feel like I’d need to take a scientific sample of issues about each of the hero alliances from different eras. And that’s how you can apply science to comic book, kids. Until I manage to perform my experiment, Avengers Assemble!
For me, Avengers doesn’t step up to brilliant until Roy Thomas takes over, especially when Ultron and the Vision enter things. Roy’s work was a little more grounded in reality (pseudo-reality, to be sure).