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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Today, Steve Englehart rebuts John Dunbar. Sort of. Not really.

STEVE ENGLEHART ON AVENGERS #124:]

“Now I’ve tossed in the Kree! Am I insane? Mantis was trained by the Kree?

“Maybe I’m demonstrating that she might be able to kick a god around.

“The Swordsman and the Scarlet Witch have a moment.

“The Vision and Mantis have a moment. Remember how she was going to hit on all the male Avengers, and then told me she wasn’t going there? Well, we compromised.

“And Mantis comes to realize that she is more than she thinks she is.”

So he forced her to hit on the Vision when he knew it was against her character which he was establishing. Sort of went Jekyll and Hyde with himself there.

Dr. Strange couldn't fight the Enchantress, so I don't see Val giving her much trouble if she tried.

And Charles Moulton was a psychiatrist... I feel sorry for his patients.

Dr. Strange couldn't fight the Enchantress because A) She's a goddess with magical powers, which trumps being a mostly mortal with magical powers, and B) He's a man, and she specializes in messing with men's minds.  A straight woman who attacks with physical strength would pretty much be the worst thing the Enchantress could face.  Plus, even if Val couldn't give her much trouble, what's the point of creating a super-being that can give you any trouble at all--it's not like the Enchantress hasn't seen that sort of thing backfire before, she's practically Wonder Man's fairy godmother!

How often have they met since Defenders#4? It's not like they're hanging out at the same places. And wasn't that finally removed somewhere after #100 when Val was completely removed from Barbara Norris? In a time when they were pushing women's lib why make a woman helpless against other women?

Do I want to know about the Enchantress and Wonder Man? Never mind. I'm sure I don't.

The Enchantress and her former partner/paramour the Executioner were part of the original Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil when he transformed Simon Williams into Wonderman, and later she used the same equipment to transform someone else into the original Powerman, now known as Atlas, at least last that I recall reading.

And it didn't work right since he was a whole lot weaker than Wonder Man and it eventually started wearing off after Luke Cage beat him for the name.

I agree, Richard, what a fantastic-looking issue. I think it was around this time that Dave Cockrum did a beautiful series of Avengers portraits for FOOM magazine (if you haven't already seen them just search dave cockrum foom avengers and you won't be disappointed). 
The story though…… if I didn't know better (the wildly different art teams are a bit of a giveaway) I'd tend to think this was an extra-sized (Giant-Size?) story split into two halves. A123 doesn't really have an Avengers-level protagonist (Monsieur Khrulll certainly doesn't count), and the Star-Stalker slap-down at the end of A124 looks squeezed in, even though it apparently featured this issue's one-page-spread-over-two fun (I'm loving this game). After a re-read I'm tending to agree with you that the pacing of these issues really is all over the place.
And the (unforgettable) Star-Stalker……. until not long ago I'd only "read" this in a black-and-white Spanish reprint anthology, hadn't seen the black background cover and had no idea they were fighting at night (although checking it out in the Essentials yesterday I noticed one caption box line that told us as much). So being an all-powerful genocidal maniac he refers to everyone as "Scum" during the interminable monologues, drops Thor and Ironman in one (enlarged) panel, then can't get a grip on Mantis until she (obviously) figures out his unbelievably convenient weakness - "He's vulnerable to heat!" Really? He's living in the middle of a bloody rainforest (not somewhere like, say, the South Pole). While hanging out in a temple (Kree air-conditioning must be amazing) populated by the only people on Earth who know how to defeat him. And then, despite telling us he can quite easily destroy the planet, he's killed by one shot of the Vision's eye blasts? The same eye blasts that occasionally knock out a garishly costumed thug?
OK, I get that this was basically just (another) Mantis spotlight issue (or rather two issues) with a few fight scenes thrown in but, well, not even Kurt Busiek brought the Star-Stalker back. Unforgettable indeed.
Still, next issue we get Thanos. Sort of. Can't wait.
m



Richard Mantle said:


It seems I posted about the next issue just before your comments on #123 -- so.....what did you think of the Star Stalker issue?

Don't get me wrong, I think Englehart is a great writer and I love most of what he does.  Mantis is the exception.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Today, Steve Englehart rebuts John Dunbar. Sort of. Not really.

STEVE ENGLEHART ON AVENGERS #124:]

“Now I’ve tossed in the Kree! Am I insane? Mantis was trained by the Kree?

“Maybe I’m demonstrating that she might be able to kick a god around.

“The Swordsman and the Scarlet Witch have a moment.

“The Vision and Mantis have a moment. Remember how she was going to hit on all the male Avengers, and then told me she wasn’t going there? Well, we compromised.

“And Mantis comes to realize that she is more than she thinks she is.”

Surprised with the "Swordsman and Scarlet Witch have a moment" bit that neither Vision nor Mantis saw and misunderstood was what going on there.

I see Cockrum drew Groot back in the 70s. Probably because he "sort of" appeared in Hulk Annual#6 in 1976.

I'm rather glad that Englehart avoided having Wanda, Vizh, Jocque, and Mantis get into the '70s groove of swinging and swapping partners!  The Swordsman is edging ever closer to falling apart but never entirely falls and doesn't go back to being a villain.  HIs psychological decline was handled far better, IMO, than that of Henry Pym or of Pietro in later years.
 
Ron M. said:

Surprised with the "Swordsman and Scarlet Witch have a moment" bit that neither Vision nor Mantis saw and misunderstood was what going on there.

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