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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Ron M. said:

Never got the concept that you can "prove yourself" to win a woman's love by killing her friends. And would you really want somebody that found that attractive.

You don't get it because you're not criminally insane. If he thought killing all her friends wouldn't be a deal-breaker, I would think killing her new husband to make her single again would be his next logical psychotic step.

Dave Elyea said:

As for irresistible bald heads in the 70s, I think Star Trek's Lt. Ilia came after this, altho it did seem to work for her.

Moondragon first appeared as "Madame MacEvil" in Iron Man #54 (JAN73) and as far as I know always had the bald head. When Star Trek: the Motion Picture debuted in 1979 there was talk that they had based her look on Moondragon. Shaved heads on women, or even men, were definitely not in fashion in the 70s. The late, lamented Persis Khambatta sold it in the movie.

There was an X-Men story where the Toad betrayed Magneto, ending in Magneto plunging into the ocean I think, unable to magnetize himself to a plane because he'd made the mistake of making it without any metal (just to prove he could.)
 
Richard Willis said:

Richard Mantle said:

We learn the Toad was fed up with being sub-serviant to everyone and had over hios many appearances been planning on stealing the Strangers ship and power so that he could become a force to be reconed with…and ask his secret love the Scarlet Witch to marry him once he had proved worthy.

Was Toad’s appearance his first since The Stranger kidnapped him and Magneto?

I didn't think Hank Pym was acting all that more manic than he did in Avengers #14, although in that story the culprit responsible was already under wraps before Hank knew she was injured while in this case the baddie was still on the loose and, of course, since Hank had no power to magically cure Jan he had to go on a rampage to bring in the "Stranger" responsible for her injury while in the previous tale he was on the rampage trying to find the magic doctor who could save her (I thought that story was cliched when I first read it about age 10; apparently I'd read just enough "there's only one doctor in the entire universe who can do this surgery to save her life and he's just been kidnapped!" yarns that the scenario struck me as silly).  I'm actually just as happy that Englehart didn't milk out the "Jan's on death's door" aspect of the situation and didn't resort to a plot involving "the one doctor who can do this surgery..." bit.  Just a matter that she's seriously injured and ordinary surgeons have to do their work and there's nothing Hank can do to speed up the process to make her better.   The Toad, meanwhile, had apparently adopted all the megalomania of Magneto, which didn't quite fit his relatively lackluster mutant powers, but even pitiful specimens can do a lot of damage in real life.  Oh, and his mania subtly echoes that of Moondragon's claims to godhood, especially to anyone familiar with her origin as an ordinary mortal who just happened to have been left orphaned by Thanos and adopted by gods and spent the rest of her childhood on a moon orbiting Saturn.  It was rather goofy having Iron Man and Thor act like mooning adolescents over Moony, tho'.  In hindsight, it's obvious Englehart was using Moondragon in a way he'd originally planned to use Mantis although fortunately he didn't go too far in playing up having the guys actually fight over her and didn't have Moony going gaga over either one of them.

That scene, if I recall correctly, was actually in Avengers #52, the conclusion of a story that began in  Avengers #49, with Magneto's scheme to get Wanda & Pietro to rejoin his crew again; crossed over to the X-Men for a few issues, then finally crossed back to the Avengers.  This was a period when the focus on the X-Men was less on the team than on the individual members, so that one issue spotlighted the Angel fighting Red Raven, the next Cyclops fighting Quicksilver, etc., with the title on the cover even displaying "The Angel" or "Cyclops" more prominently than "X-Men".

Ron M. said:

There was an X-Men story where the Toad betrayed Magneto, ending in Magneto plunging into the ocean I think, unable to magnetize himself to a plane because he'd made the mistake of making it without any metal (just to prove he could.)
 
Richard Willis said:

Richard Mantle said:

We learn the Toad was fed up with being sub-serviant to everyone and had over hios many appearances been planning on stealing the Strangers ship and power so that he could become a force to be reconed with…and ask his secret love the Scarlet Witch to marry him once he had proved worthy.

Was Toad’s appearance his first since The Stranger kidnapped him and Magneto?


I say that because I know someone like that in real life that found threats against family members funny and promised to lie in court if they tried to press charges.


Richard Willis said:

Ron M. said:

Never got the concept that you can "prove yourself" to win a woman's love by killing her friends. And would you really want somebody that found that attractive.

You don't get it because you're not criminally insane. If he thought killing all her friends wouldn't be a deal-breaker, I would think killing her new husband to make her single again would be his next logical psychotic step.

Hoping to find at least one of them popular enough to support their own series probably. Interesting that despite all the new members since then, pretty sure Wolverine was the only X-Man that ever managed to get a solo series that lasted more than a few issues.
 
Fred W. Hill said:

That scene, if I recall correctly, was actually in Avengers #52, the conclusion of a story that began in  Avengers #49, with Magneto's scheme to get Wanda & Pietro to rejoin his crew again; crossed over to the X-Men for a few issues, then finally crossed back to the Avengers.  This was a period when the focus on the X-Men was less on the team than on the individual members, so that one issue spotlighted the Angel fighting Red Raven, the next Cyclops fighting Quicksilver, etc., with the title on the cover even displaying "The Angel" or "Cyclops" more prominently than "X-Men".

Ron M. said:

There was an X-Men story where the Toad betrayed Magneto, ending in Magneto plunging into the ocean I think, unable to magnetize himself to a plane because he'd made the mistake of making it without any metal (just to prove he could.)
 
Richard Willis said:

Richard Mantle said:

We learn the Toad was fed up with being sub-serviant to everyone and had over hios many appearances been planning on stealing the Strangers ship and power so that he could become a force to be reconed with…and ask his secret love the Scarlet Witch to marry him once he had proved worthy.

Was Toad’s appearance his first since The Stranger kidnapped him and Magneto?

Ron M. said:

In the Gregory Peck western Mackenna's Gold there's a scene where Telly Savalas shaves his head. Never got why they felt it important to show he wasn't actually bald, or why somebody in the Old West would shave his head, unless he thought it would keep him from being scalped.

When Telly Savalas starred in the 1963 Twilight Zone episode "The Living Doll," his hair was already on its way out. Being scalped was usually a postmortem event, so his character probably didn't do it for that reason.

The only bald woman I can think of before this would be the one in THX 1138, and apparently she gave up acting after that film.

The shaved heads in THX 1138 were meant to be weird and shocking in the hirsute 70s. The movie did predate Moondragon by over a year. Maybe it inspired her.

The shaving scene goes on for awhile as he talks about his plans, but there's no mention of it by him or the person he's talking to. It's almost like they were rehearsing while he was shaving his head, not knowing they were actually filming, and somebody decided to leave it in the movie.

It was intended to be a Clint Eastwood movie, but he passed to star in Hang 'Em High so they offered it to Peck. It was one of those films where they tossed in bit parts with everybody at the studio. Burgess Meredith, Lee J. Cobb, Eli Wallach, Raymond Massey, Anthony Quayle, and Edward G. Robinson get a few lines before the Indians massacre everyone but the stars. Victor Jory narrates with a truly horrible Southern accent.

I was pretty underwhelmed when the "Stranger" turned out to be the Toad.  The Super Mega Monkey site called it a Scooby-Doo ending as the villain is unmasked and revealed to be the person you would least expect.  That might be a little harsh, but the Toad - really?  He's been a lackey since day one, and never depicted as a particularly clever one.  Now he's flying a spaceship to the Stranger's home planet, and taking whatever machinery from there he can understand.  Ok, even if I can accept that as possible for the Toad, can anyone explain the battle with Thor and Moondragon?  The mind blast, the Stranger grabbing Thor, Mantis Moondragon using martial arts on his ankle and face?  If it's all illusions and thought forms, all that should be impossible, right?

The art is ok I guess but I'm looking forward to re-reading the upcoming George Perez issues.  The subplot with Hank Pym is intriguing but I am already bored with the Mantis Moondragon stuff (and it will get worse next issue).  I like the observation made by the Beast that this is much different than his X-men days, and I'm glad his "do I really belong here?" bit didn't last.

That's why I don't think it was originally supposed to be the Toad. Unless those machines make a lot more than just illusions and physically turned him into a giant as long as they were working.

He'd returned to Earth years ago. Why was he back where he could get ahold of the Stranger's machinery? Was he captured again? How long was he there experimenting to figure out how it worked? Was everything clearly marked, or has he secretly been a mechanical genius all these years and never mentioned it? I'd be lucky to figure out how to turn the machine on and off.

Mantis was annoying but didn't seem to know any better. Moondragon is annoying but she's proud of it.

Even into the Bronze Age, even some of the otherwise best writers didn't cohere to logical consistency in their stories, although they were at least better at it than most Golden Age writers.  With rare exceptions, it didn't bother me much when reading them as an adolescent in the '70s, but after having read the highly well-crafted stories of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman in later years, most Bronze Age writers come off very bad in comparison. I think Englehart intended it to be the Toad all along but just didn't put a lot of deep thought into the glaring details that strike us as off 40 years later.  Similarly, after reading a reprint of FF#3 in the little Pocketbook edition, my initial thought was "if the Miracle Man was just using illusions all along, then how could his illusory monsters have caused any damage?"

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