AVENGERS. “And There Came Another Day…”

There are some interesting threads on this forum, already covering issues of Marvel’s early series – ‘re-reading’’ of the Avengers and Journey into Mystery/Thor and so on and there was quite a good issue by issue thread on the Invaders around too, until it caught up with the present.
What is more rarely discussed are the later periods when these series were in full flow and while perhaps less iconic still number among them some classics…

I therefore present to you an issue by issue critique/discussion forum for one of these mainstay Marvel titles.
Not beginning at the very debut – as others have that covered well – but (and I hope I don’t step on anyone’s creative toes here!) – I would like to pick up the Avengers title after a watershed/bookend issue provided an opportune point at which to begin …
Issue #100 featured all Avengers to that point together in one tale and everything that goes before it is pretty well easily contained by then. The next issue launches the title into its second century of publishing and its next phase of greatness…

What has gone before…?
And so there came a Day…

The formation of the team.
The Hulk leaving. Captain America’s return. The Original members giving way to Cap’s kooky Quartet.
Goliath and Wasp returning. Hercules coming and going. The creation of Ultron. The arrival of the Vision.
Yellow jacket Hawkeye as Goliath II and then back again. The Squadron Sinister/Supreme. The Kree-Skrull War and of course…the Lady Liberators!
(I’m sure you’ll have your own highlights!)

And so there came ANOTHER Day…

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Big Buscema fan here but the other cover would have been better. I think the Beast's face has been redrawn. The few times Big John drew the Hulk he made him look very brutish and primitive like a Neanderthal.

AVENGERS #179 (01/79)
Writer – Tom DeFalco
Penciller - Jim Mooney                                          Inker – Mike Esposito
Cover Art – Keith Pollard & Rudy Nebres 
   “Slowly Slays the Stinger!"


Never exactly a fan-favourite, Keith Pollard delivers a perfectly fine cover here, always good to see YellowJacket getting a shot at a cover and this new Bloodhawk looks firecely formidable.


It's the Black Panther that opens the issue, foiling a street theft of....um...coffee (?) - only to be attacked by a new bad guy. Not the Bloodhawk of the cover - this guy defeats the Panther with a 'shocker and a 'stinger' and is called......well, the Shocker was taken!


The Stinger informs us of his intention to capture the rest of the Avengers at a charity Museum event they are to appear at and we also meet two figures, one shadowed, who are also eager to visit the Museum. There is talk of an 'object' and a worry of madness....


Naturally we cut to the gala and our uncomfortable Avengers both in and out of costume.

The object seems to be a large coin-like 'totem' said to protect a south-sea island from occult forces via a stone 'altar' built into the sand and we learn that our two strangers want to take the totem back there.
The shadowed one drops the disguise to reveal himself to be Bloodhawk (again, we saw him on the cover, so there's no tension there)


The Avengers battle and defeat our bird-man and the other stranger explains his origin. Bloodhawk was a genetic experiment into a new species (a la the High Evolutionary) and the other guy is his 'teacher'/father figure. Along with explaining this he also explains their only desire is to return the totem to their island.


The Avengers vote on the issue which is nicely not unanimous for once and agree to help.
Half the team in a quinjet leaves with the new guys to the island but the Stinger, who has been watching everything whilst invisible, attacks the rest.
Even Jarvis falls, "Nice try, Tubby-- but you're finished... and so are the Avengers!"


Unaware of this menace, the rest of the Avengers arrive over the island as the stone altar comes to life, most of it revealed as having been underground and the Avengers are faced down by a living monolith! (No, not that Living Monolith - apparently there can be more than one!.)


It is not a bad issue and not an unexciting cliff-hanger but the Stinger is two-dimensionally dull and the Bloodhawk bird-man hardly original with a reported beserker-rage that feels more likely to be a childish tantrum.
The teacher/father link/reveal is telegraphed so as to kill any surprise for next issue as much as the 'the guy in the hat's a bird' of this issue.


Art by Jim Mooney is not his best work but fine, nothing awful, nothing very awesome either. The story cried out for an introductory panel spotlighting the coin/totum which is half off-panel when it is introduced and that is a misstep in pacing.


Was this part one of a two-parter that may have originally been scheduled for an Annual - perhaps Annual #7 before Starlin usurped it?


One notable point is that the lack of Captain America in this grouping of Avengers is actually quite refreshing and makes for a more unusual dynamic.


There is virtually no connection here between the Bloodhawk/island storyline and the Stinger Vs the Avengers storyline and that feels very strange as the reader is searching for a plot-point that just doesn't exist.


We will close both this adventure and the weirdly dull, limbo-like period this book's been in since the end (or even before that if you count the loss of Perez) of the Korvac Saga with the next issue and thankfully...there are some classics still to come!


Come Back...
 

I really don't remember this issue at all, even though I have it.

I wonder if Bloodhawk was an attempt to get a Wolverine-type into the Avengers?

I very nearly commented on this point Philip - there is a way of reading Bloodhawk's 'introduction' here as almost a pseudo new-member tryout and that may be the 'twist' they were hoping for next issue ...when he does NOT join up!.

These days the 'Enter Bloodhawk' on the cover would be..."Welcome to the Avengers...Hope you ...blah blah...." 


Philip Portelli said:

I wonder if Bloodhawk was an attempt to get a Wolverine-type into the Avengers?

Back in #80 when Roy Thomas introduced Red Wolf it looked like he was going to be a new member, then the following issue he faked his own death, threw away his secret identity, and went home. I could see him wanting the bad guys to think he was dead but not why he felt he needed to fool the Avengers.



Richard Mantle said:

...and thankfully...there are some classics still to come!


 


Yes, we're on the cusp of a pretty solid run up to the infamous issue #200. It's a shame that this era was plagued by so many inventory/fill-in stories.

AVENGERS #180 (02/79)
Writer – Tom DeFalco
Penciller - Jim Mooney                                          Inker – Mike Esposito
Cover Art – Dan Adkins & Mike Esposito 
   “Berserkers' Holiday!"


Not a bad cover by equally non-fan-favourite Dan Adkins this time around, it's a bit flat isn't it and the back of the Beast makes him look so non-furry I wonder if it was originally ment to be the Black Panther before someone remembered the Panther doesn't get to the island?


We open on the island  with our Avengers attacking the now animated building/monolith which also speaks, "Away! Away! I have no time for such as you!" as Bloodhawk moans at the team, "You incompetant clods dare call yourselves 'Earth's Mightiest?'" "Clamp it, Bloodhawk!" and we get last issue recapped for new readers.
Bloodhawk, who we keep getting told has anger-issues - flies off with the totem/coin-thingy and the 'teacher' tells the Beast this issue's main plot - "I believe that by replacing the mystic totem in it's sacred altar atop the stone giant's head... We can render the colossus powerless!".


This might have all helped make more sense if, like we never saw the totem when introduced last issue, that we had seen the altar and where the totem fitted into it.


Back at Avengers Mansion and we find that despite losing last issue's vote to go to the island...it appears Iron Man never left and as he returns to the mansion -- the Stinger defeats him also!


At the island the Vision does his tried and tested fly-high-drop-hard manouver but it doesn't work! "Impudent Gnat!"
The Beast tries hard to calm down Beaky/Bloodhawk and wrestles the totem/coin from him and with help from Thor throwing his hammer and hitching a ride on it.


After climbing to the top of thje living stone monolith's head the Beast replaces the totem and  the life goes from the statue. Rather than leave it, Thor warps it to another dimension - begging the questions -  why didn't he just do that anyway and - why did  they need the totem if Thor could do that?


Bloodhawk still bleats about how ugly he is which, naturally the Beast counters and offers to introduce him to those than can help/train him - presumably the X-Men and he agrees to go.


Our attention returns to the mansion and the captured Avengers, who the Stinger  appears to intend to auction off. We learn he got his gizmos from old Spider-Man enemy the Tinkerer which cost  a lot and so he needs to sell the Avengers to settle his debts.


The Avengers from the island fight the Stinger and Bloodhawk feels obliged to help out.- only to be downed by the Stinger's um...sting.


Having defeated the Stinger the Avengers realise that this blow to Bloodhawk has seriously injured him, "He is... dying!" - Others that have been similarly stung/shocked have not reacted in this way it's true but there you go...we're on the last page.


As Bloodhawk dies we realise the 'Teacher' who was actually the father who had abandoned him as a child-- is finally proud of his son.
It is not as touching as it should be, it's kind of obvious and flat - which kind of sums up the entire issue/two parter.
The Stinger is never seen again and I don't think we ever hear of the island again or any other genetic experiments from it or his teacher/father.
It might have been nice if that Silverclaw girl from Kurt Busiek's run on the Avengers came from this island or something to add some legitimacy - otherwise these issues are best - and easilly - forgotten.


The next issue however, more than makes up for things in the classic stakes.


You know the one.


Come Back...

Never did get why Bloodhawk died. Good to see I'm not the only one that thought his death was strange.

The cover's fine otherwise but I agree that looks like the Panther wearing a weird new mask.

Wow. Thankyou Ronald - that's why I love this thread/form - 38 years later - We Are Not ALONE!!


Ronald Morgan said:

Never did get why Bloodhawk died. Good to see I'm not the only one that thought his death was strange.

The cover's fine otherwise but I agree that looks like the Panther wearing a weird new mask.

Several times on youtube I've seen obscure 70s or earlier films with comments like "Everybody I described this to said I dreamed it!"

A couple of years ago I had an idea for a discussion I planned to title “Avengers Red-Haired Step-Children” and it would have included all of the stories usually skipped over for inclusion in such collections as the Marvel Premiere HC series (in other words, the issues you have been reviewing lately). I got too busy to participate last month (plus I wasn’t really getting into the “Korvac Saga”), but rather than pulling these issues out of the longbox to catch up, I think I’ll just skip them and rejoin the discussion with #181.

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