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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I guess there's no spoiler heading on this thread, so....

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At this point had they shown Magneto without his helmet, with white hair?


That's a 'Yes'

I think it may have been the Thomas/Adams Savage Land X-Men that opened that door -  certainly it was well established by now.


Richard Willis said:

I guess there's no spoiler heading on this thread, so....

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At this point had they shown Magneto without his helmet, with white hair?

I'm going to say that as Miss Marvel died in childbirth and the Whizzer ran away when faced with the twins that it seems the inference is that the Maximoffs could have named them ... But as Django kerpt wanting to call them Anna and Mateo that theory can't work.....so !maybe those names were down to midwife Bova ?

Dave Elyea said:

I don't know, as much as I love me all the Golden Age characters I can get, I always thought it was just a little off that Miss America, of all people, would name her twins "Wanda" & "Pietro", as opposed to, say, "Sally" & "Jim", or something equally white bread.  Plus, if Quicksilver had inherited the Whizzer's powers, then he wouldn't technically be a mutant anymore (maybe Marvel should have gone back to that origin), unless he had improbably drawn a mutation that copied his father's non-hereditary "acquired characteristic" of super-speed, which, considering Wanda's power, could actually be a thing.

The art for #185 and #186 is top notch.  Great covers, great interiors.

My first issue is coming up soon (#188), so I have no great attachment to the idea of the Whizzer and Miss Marvel being the parents.  What's amazing to me is Gruenwald, Grant, and Michelinie being so subtle about who the father is in this storyline.  Today that tidbit would be the big reveal.  Of course, most fans figured it out and it would be the seeds for many future stories.

I'd say the clue's in the credits - Roy Thomas wrote the Whizzer/Miss America parentage and Mark Gruenwald co-plotted the Magda/Magneto revision.

New continuity buff (obsessive) correcting something he didn't like from the (gone) continuity buff.

I never had a problem with the Thomas explanation, but as a reader of Avengers and X-Men at the time, the reveal across both mags was a 'wow!' moment.

OK, I was young, and 'wow!'s were cheap back then, but the shared universe stuff made this and the previous decade a great time for me as a loyal Marvel reader.

Sadly all that love would be squandered with the advent of the pointless-event-crossover-issue era....

matt


Richard Mantle said:

It's a complicated but solid story neatly wrapped up - I've never been sure why writers did not want the All-Winners couple to be the parents and although the revelation of the identity of Magda's mad-husband was probably unnecessary, it did kind of work okay and fitted with Pietro's similarity to his 'father' and so on.

Well, we did only have Bova's word for it that it was Miss America that picked those names, so it could have been her. Still, given the naming conventions of the rest of the High Evolutionary's creations, it seems like they would have gotten names like "Hexa" and "Sprintor", or maybe a more generic "Muta" and "Muteo". I haven't been following the "post-Mutant" Marvel, so just out of curiosity, now that Wanda & Pietro are (currently) no longer Magneto's children, is Django Maximoff their real father now, or someone else? With everything coming up Inhuman, I suppose Maximus could have been Magda's "mad-husband"--makes as much sense as the rest of it. If Django is the father, why aren't their names Anna & Mateo?

Richard Mantle said:

I'm going to say that as Miss Marvel died in childbirth and the Whizzer ran away when faced with the twins that it seems the inference is that the Maximoffs could have named them ... But as Django kerpt wanting to call them Anna and Mateo that theory can't work.....so !maybe those names were down to midwife Bova ?

Dave Elyea said:

I don't know, as much as I love me all the Golden Age characters I can get, I always thought it was just a little off that Miss America, of all people, would name her twins "Wanda" & "Pietro", as opposed to, say, "Sally" & "Jim", or something equally white bread.  Plus, if Quicksilver had inherited the Whizzer's powers, then he wouldn't technically be a mutant anymore (maybe Marvel should have gone back to that origin), unless he had improbably drawn a mutation that copied his father's non-hereditary "acquired characteristic" of super-speed, which, considering Wanda's power, could actually be a thing.

VENGERS #187 (09/79)
Writer – David Michelinie  (plot - Mark Gruenwald & Steven Grant)
Penciller - John Byrne                                          Inkers – Dan Green
Cover Art – John Byrne & Terry Austin 
 

  “The Call of the Mountain Thing!"


I just love this cover!

Beautifully rendered versions of our heroes and a wonderfully balanced composition. I applaud the way the Avengers are drawn to definatly be upside down and overlapping the roll call and logo is inspired.

A 'modern' classic!


Inside and after last issue's cliff-hanger we cut to the arrival in the mountains of the latest grouping of Avengers (and 'friends' - Wonder Man still hasn't officially joined yet!) - having lost Iron Man to his latest own mag crisis between issues.


The splash page has the team viewed through the quinjet cockpit and I have to give credit to Byrne for his proportions and perspective - too often ships are shown with no possible way they could house the occupants inside but this works brilliantly and there is a sweeping cinematic feel to this opening scene.


The powerful storm necessitates a team bail-out and Wonder Man steps up to pilot the quinjet to a crash landing. Nice moment for Simon there - possibly at the height of his character arcs - his star soon fades never to return in my eyes.


Cap calls the rest of the team together, rightly judging that indestructible Wondy will be ok and they are attacked by Chthon's right-hand man Modred.
New-boy Falcon valiantly plows on in trying to make an impression - again without too much success.

On publication - I REALLY did not like the Falcon as an Avenger - but - I find myself appreciating his efforts this time around much more than I thought I would. In fact, this team of Avengers ticks alot of boxes as a contender for one of my favourites


After the team lose out to Modred's ally as does the survived-as-predicted Wonder Man we regroup in the scene straight lifted from the cover as the Scarlet Witch/Chthon relays her/it's origin.


Historically bound to the Book of the Darkhold (can you believe how currently relevant this plot device is??) and linked in to the past of the High Evolutionary and Wundagore Mountain we learn how Chthon has loomed over Wanda's life. This is a very clever interweaving of storylines to flesh out and explain it's history that Marvel does so well. Impressive.


Enter the Beast in the armour of a Knight of Wundagore! Great moment.


Quicksilver notices that Django Maximoff's power over his 'dolls' must have originated in the actual wood from the area and in a 'lets link everyone together in a team effort' the evil Chthon's influence is driven from Wanda into the doll version which Pietro throws over the mountainside and Wanda buries under that same mountain.


It is a bittersweet victory as Django has died and after the Avengers bury him, Bova agrees to look after mind-wiped Modred and our heroes... go home.
"Thank you, Avengers... Let's go home."


So much to love here - I must mention this is a great - perhaps the last for decades - positive moment/storyline for Quicksilver. He acts heroically here and whilst he is as obsessed with and protective of Wanda throughout he remains on the right side of manic and it is a pleasure to see.


Beautiful art, interesting plots weaved with skill and well paced  this really is a third-act issue of one of the most perfect Avengers arcs ever.
Classic.


Can they keep this quality up?
Come Back...

Dark Wanda predates Dark Phoenix by a year! I would have thought that it would be the other way around but I guess Byrne loves drawing them Bad Girls!

I could post six to eight covers from the late Silver through the Bronze Age that prominently feature Quicksilver. I always believed that Marvel was hoping that he could have his own title given the Flash's popularity and longevity but Pietro just never got that shot until the 1990s and it only last a year or six months longer than it should!



Richard Mantle said:

“The Call of the Mountain Thing!"



Ah, an Edvard Grieg fan!

AVENGERS #188 (10/79)
Writer – Bill Mantlo  (plot - Jim Shooter)
Penciller  Breakdowns- John Byrne
Inker   Finishers – Dan Green(p1-p12) & Frank Springer(p13-p18
Cover Art – John Byrne & Terry Austin 
 

"Elementary, Dear Avengers"
Again - I just love this cover! - Expertly composed, wonderful renditions of the current Avengers and a well packed action scene. Always good to see a cover appearance for Ms. Marvel and Falcon.

The one thing that I would have preferred was just a little more attention to the corner roll call listing - I would like that box to reflect the Avengers featured in each issue - while this issue still features Iron Man who does not appear inside. If his headshot had have been replaced with Wonder Man's the roster would have been more accurate...although I'm still not counting Simon as an 'official' member yet.


What does surprise me here is that the writer has changed - Bill Mantlo is listed here as 'guest-scripter' and indeed David Michelinie doesn't return for a few issues yet but I always thought these issues 'sounded' as if by the same writer. Perhaps the collaberation (Jim Shooter/Steven Grant/Mark Gruenwald/Michelinie & Mantlo) was a close one producing stable characterisation and pacing?

Even the artwork-finisher change mid-issue doesn't jar the reader much.


So, we begin with the heroes from last issue collected together returning from Central Europe via the Himalayan home of the Inhumans, Attilan, to drop Quicksilver off.
The scene is used to drop the info/bombshell that Crystal and Quicksilver are expecting a child and reactions all round.


With hindsight this begins the end of Pietro's marriage (which, in fairness was probably doomed from the start), Wanda's history of mental health issues (as she wonders if she may ever bear children) and marks the end of Quicksilver's 'heroic' persona for decades as his own mental health suffers as he struggles with temper and responsibility from here on in.
I say 'hindsight' as at the time of production of this issue the announcement remains quite a light 'good news' scene, "I'll be and uncle -- sort of."


 The Avengers' round trip continues as after Wanda takes the powerful Darkhold book from curious Beast, "Frankly, Scarlet, a simple -"Hank, please refrain" would have sufficed!" - the Quinjet flies over Russian airspace and become embroiled in a Soviet crisis.


Interestingly it is the Beast who shames Captain America into putting national politics aside to help- and Ms. Marvel who sabotages equipment to force the issue.


Sadly, the Falcon-doesn't-fit-the-Avengers plotline has not been forgotten as he is the only one not to be consulted over that decision (although he doesn't offer any either) and he sulks..."But nobody thought to consult the Token!" - I can't help but feel that is a backward step.


What follows is a fairly straightforward good vs evil battle between our team and the Elements of Doom - refreshing after the complex continuity threads intertwined in the last few issues and happily 'done-in-one'.
The Elements are transformed innocents each taking on a unique power/substance intent on world domination and all that jazz.
(Am I alone in getting these guys and the U-Foes mixed up in my head?)

It's a kind of monster-squad version of the Metal Men and the battle is kind of run-of-the-mill designed it would seem to further show up the Falcon's doubts in being an Avenger,

"Maybe I can't cut the mustard in the big leagues-- maybe I don't want to!".
I would have preferred this to have been the end of Falcon's confidence issues and I do believe he could have remained a viable Avenger much longer than he ultimately does - which I never felt with Tigra and probably wouldn't have admitted when he first took Hawkeye's team spot!.


So, a fair issue, not suffering too much from writers changing and artists mixing (although backgrounds get ignored quite a bit)


The Falcon misses out on the Annual that we will examine next - as he's off getting a solo edition of Marvel Premiere (#49), but others are there...so join us.....


Come Back...

The whole concept of Avengers was so different back then.  I remember when I picked up this issue feeling that after a mega-battle they should have an issue or two to settle down and deal with it all, not get thrown into another battle.  I think Wanda ended up giving the Darkhold to Dr. Strange.

Of course, they had to pick lesser known elements or else they could have battled the Metal Men!

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