At the end of Kurt Busiek's lengthy tenure on The Avengers, he delivered his most ambitious storyline.
The Kang Dynasty spans 16 issues, telling the tale of the villain's conquest of Earth. This is Busiek pouring out all the toys in the box and treating every member of the Avengers roster with the same respect. Busiek gives Silverclaw and Stingray just as much time to shine as he does Capitan America.
While the book would tie up a lot of the plot threads from Busiek's lengthy run, including the Triune Understanding, new readers were able to enjoy the Kang Dynasty as a standalone story.
Busiek's storytelling was so strong that not even a rotating roster of artists could shake it. While Kieron Dwyer and Manuel Garcia may not be legends or superstars, they are both craftsmen who deliver in every issue.
Arguments could be made for the Kree-Skrull War, Under Siege and Celestial Madonna, but for my money the Kang Dynasty is the Avengers' finest hour...
10. There Are Real Stakes And Consequences
In comics, when creators promise "stakes" and "consequences", readers usually take such hyperbolic statements with a pinch of salt.
This collective apathy is not so much a failing of the creators themselves. The problem lies with Marvel and DC who have conditioned audiences to believe that once a creator's tenure on a title is over, all the toys will go back in the box just as they came out.
To some extent, this is understandable as you can't expect a publisher to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. If, Spider-Man or Superman were to die, then no one expects them to stay that way for longer than 12 months. Loss of life is why the events of the Kang Dynasty feel so significant. Kurt Busiek is smart enough to know that while he can't kill off Vision or Iron Man, the average citizen of the Marvel universe is fair game.
Whether it's individual deaths such as security liaison Duane Freeman or the people of Washington D.C, the Avengers' actions feel as if they have real consequences. Every decision they make may result in very real deaths. This kind of storytelling gives the whole thing an unusual sense of gravity.