A funny thing happened to the "Avengers" series in the 80's: it became historically insignificant. While big things were happening in the pages of, say.... Captain America (the emergence of US Agent), Iron Man (the rise of Jim Rhodes), Thor (about a million things written by Walt Simonson), and even West Coast Avengers (Hawkeye becoming a leader) nothing that happened in the central line stuck. Monica Rambeau, the Black Knight, Eros, Wasp as a leader and Doctor Druid barely register a blip on the collective consciousness of the casual fan.
Despite its relaunch with a new cast as part of "All-New Marvel NOW," I'm sad to see "X-Factor" go. For a series that featured superpowered mutants, cross-dimensional action stars, demonic battles, time travel, Irish mythology, Norse mythology and a space troll, this has such a human feel to it. From start to finish, "X-Factor" has been episodic storytelling at its finest and its high level of consistency is an amazing feat.
If you look up a summary of John Byrne's career and come across the section on the Fantastic Four, you'll get a list of all the major changes he made to the title during his time as writer and artist. What you won't find is any mention that he peaked before any of those changes happened.
To borrow a phrase I read somewhere, picking up a copy of "Avengers Forever" is the closest you will ever get to taking a university course in Avengers appreciation. It's a monumental celebration of 35+ years of history, takes major cues from the likes of "The Kree-Skrull War" and "Celestial Madonna," and eclipses them both. It's my pick for the greatest Avengers story ever made, and I'm willing to give Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco and Roger Stern that honour on ambition alone.
Partially out of completion, partially out of nostalgia and partially out of sadism, here I go again with some more 90s X-Men work from the Harras/Lobdell/Nicieza trio. Major credit to Marvel for continuing to fill the gaps between major events. This collects what happened in the pages of "X-Men" between what's been released in "X-Cutioner's Song" and "Fatal Attractions."
Marvel was in a funk in the late 90s after the collector market bottomed out and the company narrowly avoided bankruptcy. They had just shipped many of their flagship titles to Image for a reboot to get a new audience on board. Unfortunately, it was a creative and commercial flop and left Marvel at square one.