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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Avengers Annual #10 (01/81)
Writer - Chris Claremont - co-editor - David Anthony Kraft
Penciller - Michael Golden (& colourist) Inker - Armando Gil
Cover Art – Al Milgrom
   “By Friends -- Betrayed!"
First things first - I am actually surprised that the cover was not by Michael Golden and getting him to do the interiors always seemed such a coup.
Al Milgrom does fine enough and personally I think he's channeling his Golden or working from his roughs..?

What I do not like is the broken up bitty cover design - it's messy and cramped although I do accept there's a lot to cram in.
I think we could have dispensed with the Captain America and the Iron Man panels and the rest would have summed up this book well enough.

Oh - and I love the fact that the corner roll call has been adapted to spotlight the members active in this adventure.

Why does the Official Index credit Mark Gruenwald as Editor for this book?

Unavoidable distraction - what I do not understand is the publication date of this story - billed as January 1981. This puts it created at about the time #203 - i.e. only two months after Avengers #200 ...? How can this story be a backlash/retcon to that story and it's fallout if it was written so close to that original one, which itself was said to be pieced together or at least finalised at the last minute?

So I don't understand how #200 could have upset Claremont so much leading to his 'revenge on behalf of Ms Marvel' in this Annual at all.

Inside then and the story begins with a 'mystery' woman falling from the San Fransisco Golden Gate Bridge and being saved by Spider-Woman (the original and the best - Jessica Drew).
Jessica realises the woman was knocked off the bridge and gets her out of the water and to hospital.

(Maddy (Madeline?) Prior appears as a child patient - I don't think it's significant - I'm presuming Claremont just like the name.?)

We learn the woman is Carol (Susan Jane) Danvers - our Ms. Marvel and she has had a mind-wipe oh and been 'missing' for six months.
Jessica calls the X-Men's school (circa #143). Kitty Pryde is still skittish around Nightcrawler ( sub-plot characterisation - this feels like a fully-fledged X-Men Annual so far.)

Xavier visits Carol and informs Spider-Woman that her mind is a blank slate with one image left --

"I believe it is her assailant, her name is -- Rogue."
(Everybody remember when Rogue looked old, and evil and not stunningly pretty..?)

We cut to find Captain America defeated by Rogue who takes his powers (by kissing him!) while informing us that if she keeps the contact up for too long the transfer of powers will not be temporary as intended but permanent as it seems it was when she took Carol's powers (off-panel before the opening) at the Golden Gate Bridge.

We next cut to Avengers Mansion where the team (and Hawkeye although he shouldn't be there should he?) are waiting for the late Captain America.
Jocasta is present though so the team make-up is about right.
Suddenly, Cap is thrown through the window into the Mansion.

Iron Man is called to contact Don Blake due to Cap being injured. As he prepares to join Janet Pym drops in for a visit -- and slaps a gizmo on him that stops him being able to move... and reveals herself to actually be shapeshifter Mystique!

Back at the Mansion Jessica arrives to spot Rogue running inside. Thor arrives (qualifying for his cover roll-call) changes to Blake and gets knocked out by Rogue. (Does she now know Thor's secret identity..?)
Spider-Woman fights Rogue (Is this really an Avengers Annual?)
Blake recovers, changes back to Thor which allows Rogue to grab him and start absorbing his powers - Spider-Woman fires a venom blast... to no effect!
(Everyone remember her venom blasts? Like her 'chemical that makes women dislike her' release it all got forgotten didn't it?)

Rogue uses the Vision against Thor and with all the powers she's amassed she battles Wonder Man before escaping.

The next chapter begins with Jessica catching up with the Avengers, Carol had apparently been back, keeping a low profile for three months before being attacked. The Avengers relate Carol's pregnancy and the Marcus adventure from #200 and their expectation/hope that Carol was off living happily ever after!
Tracing Ms. Marvel's powers within Rogue the Avengers track her to a prison where the bad guys drop the useless Iron Man to help breakout their collegues the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Once free and costumed up, the Avengers arrive.

It's quite a fight.

Spider-Woman tries to get the gizmo off Iron Man and Nick Fury appears only to be revealed as Mystique.
(We are reminded that Mystique's appearance resembles Nightcrawlers - another X-Men-centric detail we Avengers readers probably didn't need.)
The Scarlet Witch has a powerful moment reorganising Pyro's flames via her hex powers. Some escape, most are recaptured.

'Some weeks later..." the Avengers visit the X-Men's school where they meet up with Carol.
Carol explains she has lost her powers and her memories but has recovered some details via Prof X.
She explains Marcus died, "Is there anything we can do to help ease your pain?"
"Didn't you do enough to cause it?!"
She then explains 'that' claim - that 'with a subtle boost from Immortus' machines' Carol had been forced to stay with Marcus. Marcus died. Immortus allowed her to return home but she stayed away from the Avengers because... "I hated you. Because when I needed you most, you betrayed me."

She explains the depth of her feelings that the team failed her and her intention to move on with her life and they part as at least... friends.

So there you go, "Carol was raped" is the cry but I think that's a bit simplistic. I also think the Avengers are given a raw deal - they DID ask carol if she was happy with her decisions in #200 and she DID say yes - even if we are to believe she didn't necessarily mean it.

I wasn't blown away by the end of Ms Marvel's story being #200 and I can understand how Claremont, who was the writer of her solo series before she really hit her stride as a fan-favourite may have wanted to control her destiny more than he had but this was not a satisfactory ending/epilogue either and I hated the 'Rogue-has-more-of-Carol-than-Carol' plotline that dogged both characters for so long after this!

I also have to say that this Annual proves the rule, without a doubt, that Claremont over-writes! There is so much exposition and suchlike in editorial boxes throughout this book and the extraeneous details of the X-Men dropped throughout the book do nothing to help the overpacked pacing here.

Also ("Enough Richard!" I hear you cry!) - I can't say I'm that impressed with the artwork by Golden here either? Heretical? It's very busy and almost overdetailed with some strange renderings of the Beast and odd camera angles throughout.
I guess I'm just not a fan but the flow of this book is awful.
Way too many heroes, way too many villains, unnecessary extras (Nick Fury cameo / Kitty Pryde and any of the X-Men really) and dodgy art fleshing out a story that probably didn't need to be written.

It's a classic but not a favourite of mine.
How about you?
Normal (at present pretty poor) service is resumed next issue...

Come Back...

Quick note: Avengers Annual #10 was actually "dated" November 1981, according to the Grand Comic Database, thus it came out a year or so after Avengers #200 (O'80).

That publication timetable makes more sense Philip, thankyou.

What do you think of the issue and the issues it contains?

Philip Portelli said:

Quick note: Avengers Annual #10 was actually "dated" November 1981, according to the Grand Comic Database, thus it came out a year or so after Avengers #200 (O'80).

Well, my opinions on #200 are on Page 153-154 and I haven't changed my mind. The Avengers were in a no-win situation. Despite the misgivings of Cap, Iron Man and Hawkeye, Carol told them that she wanted to go to Limbo with Marcus. The only way they could have stopped her would have been to physically restrain her, making it like they, the men, knew what was best for her, the woman, whether she agreed with it or not.

Plus she was no longer in Limbo. Was she still under Marcus' influence away from his machines? She had to be coerced into seeing him after his "birth" so Carol seemed to be in her right mind. It's a warped version of a rom-com where "she doesn't appear to like him but they fall in love" plot.

So she was angry at the Avengers for letting her do what she wanted but not being in control of her actions even though she said she was. Thus she was betrayed. And she was though not out of malice. Yes, there was the initial "Hurray! It's a BABY!" phase but Wanda, Jan and the Beast never heard Marcus' story firsthand. Indeed, I doubt that they even saw him as an adult. For all they knew, he was an innocent child.

And Carol herself said that she felt for Marcus. True, there's the "subtle boost" but how subtle? How much of a boost? We have no idea how long Carol was in Limbo the first time relative to real time. Days? Months? Years? It might have been a "Beauty & the Beast" scenario here as twisted as that was! She may have truly fell in love with Marcus or thought she did. In her state of mind at the time, it was something her life was lacking and she wanted to continue in either that reality or that illusion.

Another thing which I found a bit disturbing was when the Avengers did reunite with Carol, she was in a bathing suit which made her appear more vulnerable. It was a strange choice to portray her that way.

I agree that Claremont made "his" characters (Carol, Spider-Woman and the X-Men) more like the "good guys" here. Did we ever see Carol and Jessica Drew together after this before Spider-Woman went to Comic Book Limbo herself?

And nothing was said about the Beast returning to Xavier's or his relationship to the former team.

Claremont says the Avengers betrayed Ms. Marvel but he was the one who took away her powers then sent her away from Earth as Binary! And had it been the X-Men in the Marcus story, would they have stopped Carol from going? And how?

Thanks for your thoughts Philip.

Claremont giveth and Claremont taketh away.

Philip Portelli said:

I agree that Claremont made "his" characters (Carol, Spider-Woman and the X-Men) more like the "good guys" here. Did we ever see Carol and Jessica Drew together after this before Spider-Woman went to Comic Book Limbo herself?

And nothing was said about the Beast returning to Xavier's or his relationship to the former team.

Claremont says the Avengers betrayed Ms. Marvel but he was the one who took away her powers then sent her away from Earth as Binary! And had it been the X-Men in the Marcus story, would they have stopped Carol from going? And how?

“Maddy (Madeline?) Prior appears as a child patient - I don't think it's significant - I'm presuming Claremont just like the name.?”

I don’t even think about it anymore.

“(Does she now know Thor's secret identity..?)

Not necessarily. Does she recognize everyone who lives in Manhattan on sight?

“(Is this really an Avengers Annual?)”

Not really, no.

“…another X-Men-centric detail we Avengers readers probably didn't need.”

Another of Claremont’s forever-dangling plot threads more like.

“I hated the 'Rogue-has-more-of-Carol-than-Carol' plotline that dogged both characters for so long after this!”

Me, too.

“I can't say I'm that impressed with the artwork by Golden here either?”

This was the first time I saw Kitty Pryde. The way Golden drew her huge, bulbous eyes, I thought she was an alien or an extra-dimensional creature of some sort.

“…the flow of this book is awful.”

I pretty much only ever read the last couple of pages.

Avengers #210 (08/81)
Writer - Bill Mantlo Editor - Jim Salicrup
Penciller - Gene Colan Inker - Dan Green
Cover Art – Gene Colan & Dan Green
   “You Don't Need the Weathermen to Know Which Way the Wind Blows!"
I'm not seeing a lot of Gene Colan in this cover are you? Admitedly the Vision and Scarlet Witch look classically Colan in pose but I'm guessing Dan Green did most of this one.

From the Cover Roll Call there's no Wonder Man or Iron Man on this cover this time.

The gang is all there on the splash page where the active Avengers rosta assemble under that ridiculously long title and behind an almost hilariously retro pile of monitors like a game of Jenga!

That splash introduces us to this issue's threat - "Cap's called us together to watch the Weather report!"
"What you're seeing may well be the Beginning of the End of the World!"

As the team reviews freak weather around the globe, guest member Thor arrives.
We quickly learn that the government has a weather monitoring station called 'Samarobryn' and it has pinpointed five locations seriously affected...naturally meaning the team must split into five groups to face what comes.

Beast goes to Buenos Aires.  Vision & Scarlet Witch go to Kansas. The Wasp and Wonder Man go to Antartica. Thor stays in New York.  Cap and Iron Man go to London.
"Say, shouldn't someone yell "Avengers Dissemble?!"

Left behind Jocasta greets Thor, slightly miffed that no-one thought to call her in (she's still not been elected into full membership remember?) and pulls the 'is it because I'm different' kick only to be (rightly) put in her place by Thor -- "The Avengers are a composite of mortal and Immortal, android and man-beast, man and mutant! Different Jocasta? Aye, so are we all!"
Well said, sir.

As he leaves Jocasta learns the source of the name 'Samarobryn' - named in the prophesies of Nostrodamus...!
Thor battles the storm only to reveal a figure controlling it, an armour clad flying man who announces himself as... "A Weatherman!"

Iron Man and Cap try to save children threatened with floods in London (along with British Policemen that speak and look like they belong in a period drama - painful to those of us who actually live here!).
Cap gets called Captain Britain which is a nice tough though, "He's carryin' a shield, you twit! It's Captain America!"  They also battle a similarly dressed Weatherman!

In Antartica Wondy and the Wasp are actually surprisingly warm as they are attacked by... A Weatherman!

Tornados cause trouble for the Vision and Scarlet Witch in Kansas and - you guessed it - they are attacked by a Weatherman!

Oh and yes, in Buenos Aires the Beast fights a Weatherman!

So far - so Justice League of America.

Away from the fighting, Jocasta pilots a shuttle to the space station Samarobryn - wheel like structure in space (anyone remembering the Avengers #64 also by Colan..?)
Once inside Jocasta realises that the five Weathermen are actually crewmen from the station - exploiting the weather monitoring into weather controlling "...for their own evil ends!"
However, she soon learns that the station itself has now achieved sentience and is using the Weathermen for it's own 'evil ends'.
It's all very HAL9000.

HALSamarobryn recognises Jocasta as a soulmate-machine and offers to team up and be gods...this reminds Jocasta way too much of Ultron and her own origins and she quickly acts against the station.
On Earth, the Weathermen lose their fights with the Avengers and revert to their crewman states and Thor sends the lightning back home against the computer.

Jocasta continues to refuse the advances of the machine echoing Thor's words that "the fact that I am a machine does not make me less than human! I am, as Thor said, merely...Different!" and she realises that the lightning has effectivly lobotomised/killed off Samarobryn.

Later back at the Mansion, with the danger over the team apologise (again) for overlooking Jocasta. This reminds the team (at last!) that they need to reorganise but as the Scarlet Witch calls for a new Chairperson vote Captain America calls some sort of Founder Privillege (ignoring the Wasp however!) and announces that "...Iron Man, Thor and I have given some thought to the directions this team has taken-- and should take!"
And so the issue closes out with the beginning of a new era..
"I open the floor to discussion! The first item on the Agenda being: The Old Order Changeth!"
You're all cheering aren't you?

Another poor issue here, the Weathermen are all I could remember from this period of #203-210 before I re-read them all and it wasn't a fond remembrance!
Colon, as I keep saying, is very good at what he does but by now is past his best and is not best suited to this team anymore!
The writing has been choppy and characterisation very sparse other than repeating how poorly the team has been treating Jocasta lately - so surely she'll get her opportunity to blossom along with a membership spot from next issue?

Anyone taking odds on Hawkeye coming back - or - (insert your favourite here)..?
I bet none of you guessed where we're going next issue....?

Come Back...

I'm sure that the people of Buenos Aires were glad that the Beast came to save them from a blizzard by doing flips and being witty!

(Or NOT calling in Storm and the other X-Men to help!)

This is another of those issues I read once and then totally forgot, such that while I vaguely recall seeing the cover, I have no recollection at all of the contents.  It wasn't until Shooter took over again a few issues later that the stories start to become memorable again.  The most dreadful villains facing the Avengers in this period are the Deadly Dull Doldrums.

It’s odd to re-read this issue today without thinking of global climate change. That’s not what it’s about, but I can see climate change inspiring such a story.

Annnnd that’s it! We’re through the “Avengers’ red-haired step-child” period and it’s all uphill from here! I congratulate you, Richard, for slogging through it. You’re a better man than I.

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