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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Unfortunately, the Black Widow for the longest time has been someone defined by her relationships and if she wasn't in one, it involved a past one. The Red Guardian, Tony Stark, Hawkeye, Daredevil, Hercules, Agamemnon (from Marvel Two-In-One #10), Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Bucky Barnes and even Captain America in the movies, anyway.

She is always portrayed as brave and able but always the object of desire. Unless she was with someone, she felt empty and doubted herself.

Being in a successful romance with Daredevil trumped any chance of being a successful Avenger. Besides, she was living in San Francisco at the time.

Unless it was all a scheme by Englehart to make Natasha a "real" Avenger, however briefly, to compensate for her not being an official Avenger in the Silver Age. Remember she wasn't in Avengers #100 which should segue nicely with the next issue!

It was quite silly to make a big deal about "the End of an Avenger" when the Avenger in question had only joined in the previous issue, but that same hyperbolic statement had been used in other team mags before and afterwards in similar situations, as in an issue of the Invaders, just one issue after elderly adventurer Union Jack had joined, with a caption declaring the "End of an Invader!  But Who????" or words to that effect.  Yeah, they really had me worried that they would kill off Cap or Subby with that one!  Funny, but the brief appearance of Mantis and her shadowy friend sticks more in my mind that the main story in this issue.  The Lion God didn't make for a particularly memorable baddie.  Whether Englehart ever had any real intention of keeping Natasha around much longer, the coming of Mantis wouldn't have boded well for her long retention as their powers are rather similar, aside from the Widow's Bite blasters.  Of course, these days people who only know the Avengers through the films think the Black Widow was an original member, rather than a character who started out as a villain in another mag, then hung out as a supporting character for a while but didn't join until nearly 10 years into the titles run and then only stuck around for two issues.

I agree with Fred, the Lion God was pretty forgettable.

I think based on the thoughts from Steve Englehart provided here by Jeff of Earth-J, he and Steve Gerber (DD writer) had a loose collaboration that saw Hawkeye guest star in DD 99 and DD and BW appear in this title.  I don't think it was meant to be anything other than two writers helping each other out with their plots.  I doubt Steve E had any plans to keep BW and then changed his mind.  The "End of an Avenger" bit was either Englehart or Roy Thomas doing what they thought was a clever swerve, as the seeds for the Panther quitting had been there for a few issues.

Funny that in short order T'Challa would be counted among the "big four" of the Avengers when he finally got his own series.  By the time Kirby's Black Panther series was cancelled, T'Challa had long been out of the Avengers and they had gone back to their "Big Three" guys who were seldom gone for very long during the Bronze Age, at least not while I was still collecting up to about 1986.  Hmm, and no one thought to put an English knight, an African king and a former Russian spy who all happened to have the word "Black" in their costumed identities in any combined adventure.

Steve Englehart’s comments in the previous MMW volume were segmented by issue and easily divided for the purposes of this discussion. He wrote a Mantis-centric essay in the next volume, and frankly, I had considered dropping the transcriptions. However, they do seem to add value (and allow me the opportunity to “participate” when I don’t really have the time to compose well thought-out posts of my own), so I have decided to continue. The problem is finding some free time to get far enough ahead in the transcriptions. As you will see, Englehart's comments on #112 address some of the speculation from previous posts.


“Thus, we arrive at Avengers #112, with a writer looking to emulate a master and get out on his own, all at the same time. There is a story in it (thank God). Black power and politics (Comics Code approved versions, at least), tied to one of the most forgettable villains I’ve ever seen (and, yes, I created him). But it gave the team something to do while I got my one shot to write Natasha, the Black Widow, who was not too shabby in her black leather, either (but still a Code approved woman). Steve Gerber and I had worked out a trade—Daredevil and the Widow to me, Hawkeye to him—but I wanted Hawkeye gone for a while, and Steve had DD&BW’s ongoing story. So DD arrived and departed all in issue #111. But Natasha stayed on for an issue, so I could have the pleasure of writing her.

“And in the middle of that ongoing drama, we had half a page introducing some new character called Mantis. She’s an archetype here… Don Heck caught everything I asked for, shaping it in Don Heck style, and I wrote someone mysterious, even in her style of speech; it just appeared in the writing. It seemed to fit her, even though I didn’t yet know her. But those three panels were another flare. Mantis and her unknown friend have staked a claim on existence in the Marvel Universe.”

Thankyou Jeff - I value your contributions.
So Natasha was only ever staying for the one adventure - in that case I curse the poor covers even more!-

AVENGERS  #113 (07/73)

Writer – Steve Englehart

Art – Bob Brown &  Frank Bolle

Cover Art – Rick Buckler & Joe Sinnott

“Your Young Men shall Slay Visions!”

It may be a dramatic cover but for Rick Buckler and Joe Sinnott it seems a bit rushed and scrappy...

The Scarlet Witch looks a bit anorexic to me but the main thing is I can never prevent my eyes from finding the Black Panther at the back left and trying to see how any artist thought that was an acceptable head size or position. Truly awful.

The use of the words “You Killed The Man I Love” by Wanda did have a deep effect on myself as a young reader – it’s very definite and final. She says the Vision is actually dead, not ‘badly injured’ not ‘tried to kill’…he’s dead! Ummm…..

Inside and we open with the Avengers all pitching in to repair the damaged Statue of Liberty, we are thankfully informed was damaged in the battle with ‘Gog' in Astonishing Tales #18.

This would have been a Ka-Zar led tale from his curiously little reprinted series of the day – why has there never been at least a Ka-Zar Essentials series?

Anyway, it’s in as a kind of ‘day-in-the-life’ what the team do between earth-shattering cases and it is presented as an opportunity to - albeit accidentally- reveal to the world that the Scarlet Witch and the Vision are an item. 

He saves her from falling debris and they kiss – to mixed reactions of the watching public.


At the statue of Liberty Cap again mentions his recent acquisition of super-strength which as mentioned before was kind of ignored and faded away as both ability and a plot point at some time. 

There is an interesting journalistic vox-pops taken and most people are supportive of the new heroic love affair but one male spits venom and bile against both mutant and android. “Edit this guy out, Billy’”

The Avengers react to the reactions and there is a powerful moment as Cap reads a threatening religious zealot’s letter only to throw it in the fire announcing “I don’t know about your god----but a god of love is mine!” I thought that was a wonderful gesture.

Amongst all this a group of bad guys meet together and denounce love between mutant and android as the beginning of the end, of the eventual subjugation and destruction of the human race …and vow to stop it.

In a chilling scene, despite being presented in a super-hero-mag like manner with trigger mechanisms on their heads … these are suicide bombers fighting our Avengers here, sometime before their sight became as commonplace as they are now.

Secure in the praise from the public after freeing them from a thug menace the Avengers are approached by one of our  fanatical group, a female, who announces to the Vision how lucky she is to be  “the one history will praise forever!” …and blows herself- and the Vision – up.

Shock hits our team and Wanda despairs only to realise that he’s badly damaged but there may still be hope for the Vision if handy experts, Don Blake and Tony Stark can join T’Challa in operating on the android…

Word soon reaches the rest of the zealots that the Vision still clings to life and they vow to try again.

The operating room is adapted to the Vision, using solar energy to try to recharge him and getting Wanda to convince him to relax his diamond-hard form so operating can occur and such like.

I always liked that point, it’s a note of realism and understanding of the Vision’s powers that could be often forgotten in fictional drama.

This whole issue is in danger of falling into ‘Spock’s Brain’ syndrome.

The Suicide bomber bad guys attack and the less medical/technological Avengers battle them and Tony Stark and Don Blake take it in turns in disappearing and ‘finding’ their alter-egos.

This is probably the most famous panel of this issue – Stark and Blake effectively admit to each other they know each other’s secret identities for the first time! “—if you find the Thunder God in the same room where I found Iron Man – say hello for me –old friend!”

“So he knows! After all these years together, I wonder who the two of us thought we were fooling!”

It’s a wonderful heartwarming moment and surprisingly long overdue.

The Scarlet Witch gets mad against the zealots and it would have been quite acceptably predictable for her to have unleashed her powers and fury against the bad guys – but Englehart uses Thor to whip up a whirlwind of a storm to literally blow the bad guys up and away.

The fact that we didn’t get an outburst of anger from Wanda makes the final scene all the more powerful, the Vision will live, all returns to calm except for the Scarlet Witch who screams in anger and significantly turns her back on her team and us the readers, “If it’s the two of us against the world, that’s the way it will be! But look out, World!”

Sandwiched between the departure of the Black Widow and the arrival of the Swordsman and Mantis this is a powerful one shot which puts the Avengers into X-men territory of being hated for hates sake and the suicide bombers remain a powerful and dangerous ‘ordinary-man’ threat even to out super-hero stars and the writing does not shirk from detailing the bad guy thinking and how it actually makes perfect sense to them. Fascinating.

Artistically and we have a change, a welcome one in my book - Bob Brown. He draws the Scarlet Witch a tad thin angular and angry but that was a clear editorial mandate, the rest of his Avengers are well defined especially his Captain America which is leaner and darker masked. He is a good fit for the team. 

We again see the mysterious – and still beautiful- Mantis and her equally mysterious shadowed companion in a few panels. They discuss joining the Avengers and we see a suitcase so we know they are on their way…this doesn’t really progress their sub-plot as repeat it but they’ll hit our pages in full very soon…

Curiously, Englehart mentions how Mantis already speaks like Mantis when she first appears in his recollections nicely provided by Jeff…but actually there may be a Confucius-like saying –“He who fears the bees sting will never taste the honey.” But there is actually not one ‘this one’ reference to herself among her scenes …yet.


This is a powerful Avengers done-in-one book that remains vital to this day but for some reason never seems to get much love.


Next issue we are promised ‘The Most Unexpected Guest-Star of all!' =and for once that may have been pretty close to the mark as Englehart’s Avengers really takes off…

Come back…


I liked this issue.  Very intense, but that scene between Tony & Don was a wonderfully light bit of humor in the midst of chaos.  This is some rather disturbing fare for a "comic" book, of people willing to kill themselves and others for a belief and looking upon themselves as heroes for doing so.  Suicide bombing had certainly taken place before, including the Kamakazis of World War II, but wasn't common news fare in 1973 as it would become in later decades. 

As for the art, while Bob Brown would never be a fan favorite, IMO he was a strong improvement over Heck and I mostly liked his style.  Speaking of done-in-ones, this is one of a string of them before Englehart starts up the Avengers/Defenders clash, the fist multi-issue epic which is entirely his own, as I'd put the Grim Reaper/Space Phantom/Hydra epic as initiated by Roy Thomas.

I don’t have anything to say about #113 myself, but…


“No sooner does Don create [Mantis’] character sheet (i.e., the three panels he drew), than Bob Brown takes over the art. I have said anytime Bob’s name came up how much I enjoyed his work. He was the reason I’d read Challengers of the Unknown; now he was one of the five artists I was doing books with. Storywise, I had an idea for people so full of hatred for a functioning android that they’d blow themselves up in order to take the android out. A couple of years ago, I was contacted by a researcher who proposed that this was the first use of suicide bombers in pop culture. Interesting, if true, but thank God they’d existed in real life before this. Meanwhile, we end right where I began my run in issue #105, with Wanda mad at the world for the way they treat the Vision.

“And there were three even smaller panels for Mantis and her friend (she was now Bob’s archetype of Don’s archetype). She was still a placeholder, really—but I promised a payoff next issue.”

Oh come on Jeff what do you think of it?

-- Reply by Jeff of Earth-J

I don’t have anything to say about #113 myself, but…

"This is a powerful Avengers done-in-one book that remains vital to this day but for some reason never seems to get much love," pretty much sums it up for me. 'Nuff said!


Thanks for that.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"This is a powerful Avengers done-in-one book that remains vital to this day but for some reason never seems to get much love," pretty much sums it up for me. 'Nuff said!

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