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 #174 (08/78)
Writer – Jim Shooter (plot) & Bill Mantlo (script)
Penciller - Dave Wenzel                     Inker – Pablo Marcos
Cover Art – George Perez & Terry Austin 
 

  “Captives of the Collector!"


In my paperback Korvac Saga I'm reading this from, this cover is on the right page with the cliff-hanger splash from the last opposite it - and they work really well together - as a view of the same or following moment.

The biggest difference being the Collector's collar - down when drawn by Buscema et al last issue and up when drawn by Perez on this cover.
You know it's wierd but I never thought of this cover as a Perez one.


(The order of the captured Avengers in their tubes on the cover does NOT correllate with the order inside....trust me -- I checked.)


Artist here is 'Dave Wenzel' -- not exactly a 'fan-favourite' and with so many Avengers featured - it is such a shame a bigger name was not available - this could have been a classic but is only just about acceptable really.


The splash page is an example of how poor the art is here, No one is great but Thor looks out of proportion to everyone else and like he's making an attempt to swat the Wasp away!


The battle with the Collector by the remaining Avengers that found him last issue is rushed and crowded with a power wand and some thin Zzaxx-lite energy figures set against our heroes gradually defeating Thor and Iron Man.
At least the little tic-tac missiles from the cover do feature in the battle.


It falls to 'weakest-Avengers-ever' Wasp and Hawkeye to show their steely determination and - after a dragged out struggle - no really, it drags...the Collector is beaten by Clint.


The captured members and allies are freed and an explanation is demanded.


It's a bit of a strangely paced battle with the action-climax kind of being the water-wakes-Thor scene. It does not flow.


The convoluted plot that connects this Collection tale and the ongoing Michael/Korvac/Carina plot strand is set out in an info dump.
The Collector reminds us he is actually an 'Elder of the Universe' and claims to have predicted the rise of mad Titan Thanos - seeking to collect specimens of curiosity from the ages in order to preserve them from Thanos's wrath - which apparently explains why he's always wanted a collection of Avengers but he  amassed this recent stash after Thanos was apparently defeated and 'another' rose to threaten the goodies -- Korvac/Michael.


At that point in the collector's story we cut to that suburban house where Michael and Carina discuss Carina's confession that she had originally been sent to betray him....by her father....
We learn that Carrina is also an Elder -- like her father. (Who could he be..? Oh, you're there right?) AND we learn that she deliberatly arranged the meeting on the catwalk back in Avengers #167 in order to con her way into Michael's affections.


Now aware of the machinations against him...Michael deals with it.
"Nothing...No one can be allowed to interfere!"
"Michael -- Please...Don't! I beg you!"


Just ast the Collector is about to reveal the last pieces of the puzzle to the Avengers...

"The 'Enemy' Collector -- Is he known to us?"
"Yes! You know him as-- -- YEARRGHH!" - in a stunning move, the Collector is struck down - vaporised by Michael from afar!
It's the best part of this issue and effectivly dramatic and shocking. This was an ELDER of the Universe - and he's -- "Obliterated as if he never Existed!"
Iron Man sums everything up for the fade out, "As if to show how insignificant we are! Fleas compared to a being -- who can kill a god!" and to reinforce the pathos we see Michael announcing to his treacherous, but still-loved despite that girlfriend, "You are an orphan, Carina......my love!"

It's very ominous and actually powerful - which helps raise this issue back out of the drama-doldrums.


Is it really reasonable that the Avengers don't connect the Guardians of the Galaxy's warnings about Korvac and the Collector's mysterious 'Enemy'?


If there was ever a 'Director's Cut / Absolute Edition of this Korvac Saga - this is one issue that is crying out for a re-interpretation by a big-name artist.


So, the fight with the Collector drags, his defeat is dull - but his exposition is fascinating and massivly important. His destruction is powerfully presented despite the creative team and the ending is nicely poigniant.


There are signs then that things are moving on and upwards...


Come Back...

I remember really enjoying this storyline at the time.

I guess it's a toss up whether the order of tubed Avengers on the cover is an artistic or commercial decision. The members you can see are mainly the current team so, yes, that works, but after 172's Hawkeye-centric, floating heads on an orange background misfire (in my opinion) and 173's not-massively-popular trio of ex-members/reservists, it makes sense to have Thor, Iron Man and Captain America represented clearly. And although Beast had probably caught on as a member by then, it's interesting to note that he's relegated to just a head shot, whereas Vision and Scarlet Witch merit the full upper-body treatment.

As to the issue itself, yeah, the art wasn't the best ever (though by no means the worst ever) but it progressed the story massively, and like The Baron, it was a story I really enjoyed at the time.

Might be an idea to check my shelves and see if I've got that same Korvac Saga paperback, Richard (I think mine has some sort of yellow border around the central image?), so I can catch up in time for the finale.

The order kept changing back when the Grim Reaper had figures of the Avengers in the Lethal Legion story a few years ago too. I'm guessing the Legion statues order changed every time Composite Superman looked at them as well.

Ronald Morgan said:

I'm guessing the Legion statues order changed every time Composite Superman looked at them as well.

You underestimate the keen attention-to-detail of Curt Swan, sir.  It was, though, a fair estimation, so I went to both tales featuring the Composite Superman---World's Finest Comics # 142 (Jun., 1964) and # 168 (Aug., 1967), both drawn by the dream team of Curt Swan and George Klein.  I examined closely the panels that included the Legion statuettes.  Between both stories, there were about a dozen such panels.  Fortunately, one of the first panels of the statuettes to appear, in part II of "The Composite Superman", from # 142, was a good-sized look at the entire array of statuettes (see below).  This served as the template to which all of the other panels of the statuettes could be compared.

The other panels included almost wide shots, side views, top views, and various excerpts from the middle portions of the array, both rows.  And in every case, whatever statuettes were depicted properly conformed to the position and order as represented in the "template" panel.  I mean down to the smallest detail.  That's the kind of professional Curt Swan was.

But . . . in all fairness to you, I need to point out that the Legion statuettes were also included on the splash page of WFC # 142 and there, a couple of discrepancies in the order of the statuettes did creep in.  They were minor, so such that I scanned the splash twice against the template panel to be sure.  So I can't claim that Swan was 100% consistent.  But 95% is damn good, compared to other artists.

thankyou Commander.

I mention things like the order of the heroes in the tubes because....yes....THESE THINGS DO MATTER!

...well, to some people.....a little.

Today you can have a perfect likeness made of a person using 3-D printing, not unlike the Legion's machine.

https://www.shapify.me/

http://my3dtwin.com/

Richard Mantle said:

So, the fight with the Collector drags, his defeat is dull - but his exposition is fascinating and massivly important. His destruction is powerfully presented despite the creative team and the ending is nicely poigniant.

I mostly agree with you here.  The Collector seems to be too powerful to be beaten just by Hawkeye alone, after besting Thor and Iron Man somewhat easily.  Then again, the Collector didn't strike me as overly impressive in prior appearances.  But the story advances well here (sometimes "info dumps" are beneficial) and Korvac killing the Collector is a shocking moment.

I think you're a bit too hard on Dave Wenzel.  True he wasn't well known and certainly no George Perez (but who is?), but I think he did fine.  I don't have a problem with Thor looming larger than his teammates, for instance.  And frankly, at least this issue had one inker - Pablo Marcos - so the art was consistent from beginning to end.  The previous issue had seven inkers!  That's worse, in my opinion.

I think the biggest problem with the Korvac Saga is, as has been said before, it that it starts with Jim Shooter writing and Perez & Marcos on the art, but they don't do all the chapters.  We're midway through this story and now Shooter is only doing plots, Perez is not doing the interiors, and their have been multiple inkers besides Marcos.  It's become a creator jam session for whatever reason, and at least to me that prevents it from being one of the all time great stories.

At this point was the entire concept of the Elders of the Universe, the Collector, the Grandmaster, the Champion... et all a concept?

First I heard of it was in the Official Guide to the Marvel Universe, and that was about five years later. I think the Gardener mentioned the Grandmaster or the Collector when Sif merged with Jane Foster, but I don't believe he explained their connection.

I just posted to “Once More With…” that I’m two issues behind, but I’m actually caught up to present with “And There Came Another Day.” I don’t have anything specific to say about the story at this point, but I do have another “pronunciation guide” to post as we’re moving into the David Michelinie era.

His name is pronounced mickle-EYE-nee, with the accent on the second syllable.

Remember, it’s “Mich” as in “Michelob,” not “Michelin.” ;)

I've been saying it wrong for decades.  Not a surprise though, I pronounced most of the names in the Lord of the Rings wrong until the movies came out.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I just posted to “Once More With…” that I’m two issues behind, but I’m actually caught up to present with “And There Came Another Day.” I don’t have anything specific to say about the story at this point, but I do have another “pronunciation guide” to post as we’re moving into the David Michelinie era.

His name is pronounced mickle-EYE-nee, with the accent on the second syllable.

Remember, it’s “Mich” as in “Michelob,” not “Michelin.” ;)

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