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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Thanks, Luis. That's a very informative and amusing link.

STEVE ENGLEHART ON AVENGERS #141:

“Well, we had a stable artistic team for four issues—pretty good as these things went—but somebody decided to give some new kid a try… and the career of George Perez was off and running. I was a fan of George Tuska’s, but I was also a fan of George Perez’s as soon as I saw the art.

“As a comics writer, I walsways worked with an artist, and it was always fun for me to see what I’d conjured up in my mind. What I conjured up always looked like my art when it was inside my head, but it looked like someone else’s when it got drawn, and that was entertaining every time to a guy who loved art. In this case, it was very entertaining.

“Storywise, Hank Pym remembers who was at a wedding, and Janet vanDyne does not. These two make a perfect team, but can it work inside the larger team of the Avengers?

“But the big deal is… the third appearance of Kang the conqueror in exactly one year. (If you were to believe in his reality, it would occur to you, as it di to me, that a guy who can travel in time can do whatever he wants for as long as he wants for as long as he wants, and then come back very shortly after his last visit. If I were Kang, I’d come back again and again and again and again, so that eventually your enemies lose from sheer exhaustion—but that’s just me.) In any event, it goes to the very nature of his particular ability to operate on a different schedule from everybody else in the Marvel Universe.

“Plus, Patsy Walker (and the rest of her backstory) stands revealed.”

NOTE to Richard Mantle: I’ll try to read #141 tonight and report back here soon with some thoughts of my own. I can tell you that this wasn’t an issue I bought new off the stands. I didn’t go “Perezless” at this time, though. I had a limited budget in those days, and I spent at least part of it on Inhumans #1, and every issue thereafter I could find. (As I’ve mentioned before, I bought every new #1 I saw in the hope of getting in on the ground floor of something new.) I bought most issues between #100-200 a couple of years later at a used bookstore which had bought a collection. I wouldn’t start collecting Avengers new off the spinner racks until #211 (a good “jumping on point” as it turned out).

The problem with Kang coming back again and again and again is not only will the heroes get tired of seeing him, so will the fans. It was years after this before another writer used him. (Although this seems to no longer be a problem, considering how often Norman Osborn keeps coming back these days.) And why split the team and have two storylines going at once? Kang should have been dealt with either before or after the Squadron Supreme story, not at the same time.

Storywise, Hank Pym remembers who was at a wedding, and Janet vanDyne does not.

Uncharacteristically for a guy, Hank remembered a pretty redhead while Jan didn't.

I thought that each of Kang's appearances were varied enough that it didn't bother me as a fan reading these stories back in 1974-75, and I took most of it as one long epic with a few intermissions and this part as a coda, finishing off Kang for good -- well at least for a decade or so.  I also didn't mind the split with part of the team tackling Kang in Old West and the other taking on the Squadron Supreme in an alternate universe.  Actually, in a team with 8 or more members/associates it makes sense to split them up on occasion so that individual members get a better chance to shine rather than having them constantly go up against the big bad en masse, with most only getting a panel or two to do their bit, aside from the more popular characters.  

Now that is playing the game Jeff!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

NOTE to Richard Mantle: I’ll try to read #141 tonight and report back here soon with some thoughts of my own. I can tell you that this wasn’t an issue I bought new off the stands. I didn’t go “Perezless” at this time, though. I had a limited budget in those days, and I spent at least part of it on Inhumans #1, and every issue thereafter I could find. (As I’ve mentioned before, I bought every new #1 I saw in the hope of getting in on the ground floor of something new.) I bought most issues between #100-200 a couple of years later at a used bookstore which had bought a collection. I wouldn’t start collecting Avengers new off the spinner racks until #211 (a good “jumping on point” as it turned out).

Fred W. Hill said:

Actually, in a team with 8 or more members/associates it makes sense to split them up on occasion so that individual members get a better chance to shine rather than having them constantly go up against the big bad en masse, with most only getting a panel or two to do their bit, aside from the more popular characters.

They used this to good effect in the Silver Age JLA also, sometimes in teams of two and sometimes with half the members omitted from the story. Mob scenes take away from the story.

But the last Kang story should have been the biggest with the biggest cast of heroes to stop him, and while it did have a bunch of heroes, only three of them were Avengers and only Thor and Moondragon had any powers. Englehart mentioned that somewhere, that he realized afterwards that Kang's second attack was bigger than the first but the last failed to top the others.

The teams of two JLA members idea actually comes up in the Squadron Supreme storyline pretty soon.

I read #141 last night as promised. If it hadn’t been getting so late, it would have been difficult for me to stop after only one issue. I read it in “Premiere Edition” hardcover format, and the urge to read the entire seven-issue story in a single sitting was strong.

One thing that struck me as odd (and I didn’t think this would ever happen) was seeing the Vision and Scarlet Witch as a couple. Counting from John Byrne’s tenure on the WCA, I think we’re close to the point at which Wanda and Vizh have been broken up longer than they were together.

Have any of you seen IDW’s “Artist Select” series of limited edition slip-cased hardcovers? So far, the only one that’s been released is Sal Buscema’s Hulk, but the next one (solicited for February 24th release) is to be George Perez’s Avengers. The stories contained in this volume are hand-picked by the artist himself, but I don’t know exactly which ones they will be. I wish that information was included in the solicitation. Those volumes are pretty pricing and knowing the contents in advance would make the decision to pre-order easier. Still, pretty much can’t go wrong with any Perez Avengers which might be included.

Here’s a story I think I’ve told only once before on this board. I call it “My Phone Call with Julie.” Back when I was working weekends at my friends’ comic shop in the ‘90s, one Saturday the phone rang. It was a man with a somewhat gruff voice looking for one of the owners. When I told him they weren’t in he asked me to tell them that Julie had called. Taking a stab I guessed, “Julie Schwartz?” He said, “Yes it is, and who are you?” I told I was nobody; I didn’t realize until later he was just being polite. I was caught completely off-guard. The only thing I could think of to talk about was his list of eight cover elements that that sell comic books. (While we were brainstorming he noted two additional ones that weren’t on my list, so I guess there are ten.) I mention this here because the cover of Avengers #141 (two groups of heroes lining up to fight each other) represents one of them. Several more are shown below.

The Vision debuted in Avengers #57 (Aug. 68). The Scarlet Witch wasn't an active member at that point and returned to the title in #75 (Feb. 70). Supermegamonkey tells me the first hint of romance was in #81 (Aug. 70). They were shown to be in love in #91 (Jun. 71). They became a couple in #108 (Nov. 72). They married in Giant-Size Avengers #4 (Feb. 75). The wiped programming story started in West Coast Avengers #42 (Nov. 88). So they were married not quite 14 years, and when the Vision's programming was wiped he'd been around 20. All dates on sale dates from DC Indexes.

Been years since I read it but I think it mostly just shows they've become close enough to worry about each other's safety. But then that was what finally got Robin to stop running away from Bat-Girl.

I believe this was also the issue that first hinted he had a problem with water.

AVENGERS #142 (12/75)

Writer Steve Englehart

Penciller George Perez Inker Vince Colletta

Cover Art Gil Kane & John Romita & Frank Giacoia

"Go West, Young Gods!"

There we have it - this issue - this cover - brings the Marvel Wild West Universe and the Marvel Super-hero universe together for the first time!!

It's not a bad cover but with Gil Kane's history and liking for the subject matter it all seems a bit cramped and vague to me.

Noteworthy for the nose on Iron Man and the unusual back-of-the-head view of Hawkeye.

Moondragon gets a cover appearance too !!

The gods of the title get their story picked up straight from last issue's cliffhanger as we see a group of Wild West cowboys confrongting Thor, Moondragon and Immortus.

The Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt, Ringo Kid, the (original) Night Rider and the Rawhide Kid. (I'm sure they all probably had indivicually named horses too..?)

(I think Rawkide was later reimagined as gay and the Night Rider should have been called Ghost Rider but Johnny Blaze had that moniker in the 1970s - and was later known as the Phantom Rider anyway!)

Thor gets angry, the missing Hawkeye's name is mentioned and a truce called leading everyone to the town of Tomestone (honestly!) and secret identity of Two-Gun Kid - Matt Hawk's office where Hawkeye awaits.

Clint explains how he got lost in the timestream after thrying to get to the Black Knight in the 12th century, only to emerge in the Wild West.

Noticing Kang's futuristic base was a tad out-of-place he went bareback (relax! He just takes his shirt and mask off!) and sought out Matt Hawk who his history told him was a friend...or will be.

We learn Kang's plotting universal conquest (naturally) but that Clint's got a plan..!

Elsewhen...our other Avengers and Patsy Baxter/Walker are being held in a big cage by Roxxon OIl and their hired help the Squadron Supreme (not Sinister - remember? We can't go through that again can we?)

,Everyone, but mainly Mr and Mrs Baxter exchange insults before we learn ...Cap's got a plan..!

Thor and Moondragon get disguised up and we launch into a full blown Wild west train heist scenario with Hawkeye declaring himslef (toungue-in-cheek I'm sure) the Hawkeye Kid!

It's a rootin' tootin' high action adventure as everyone feels in awe of everyone else. Two Gun Kid wins in the adulation stakes...

"Gods! I've met gods!"

Our heroes combined win the day and prevent the delivery from getting through (what exactly they were trying to stop I'm not sure - it was alll about the set piece) and the issue closes out with Hawkeye declaring,

"And then me an' a few'a the boys are gonna begin the -- Assault On Castle Kang!".....

So yep, it's all thinly held together so that we can be treated to Marvel heroes in the Wild West and I guess it's okay for that. It's only the Two-Gun Kid who gets any real characterisation out of all the cowboy folk though which is kind of a shame.

Artwise and we are still in early Perez stages here, he is clearly still influenced by other artists and some of his page compositions are a bit pathcy but it is all clear bright and heroic.

Gotta love Perez.

Storywise we're pretty unbalanced too, it's all Wild West and only two pages of the other part of our Avengers team.

As an individual issue it feels a tad slight, as part of the epic we know this to be it feels much more substantial.

Come back...

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