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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Wonder Man went through a period where he was afraid he'd die again and held back in combat because of it. From what Englehart says there he would have probably done a lot more with that idea that what we saw. Always did seem strange he'd bring back a dead character constantly being talked about over the years and immediately leave.

Thankyou as always Jeff -

The Vision trade is going straight on my Wish List.

I'm not convinced Englehart had much of a plan at all for Wonder Man, do you think?

Look forward to your own comments from next issue on!



Jeff of Earth-J said:

Off topic, I can’t recommend the current Vision series highly enough. The first phase of the first arc is completed. Try the tpb of the first six issues or, just to give yourself a taste of all you’ve missed, buy just issue #6. It’s a Vision very different from the one here, but it represents the first interesting thing to be done with the character since John Byrne dismantled him. The Grim Reaper plays an important role, and Scarlet Witch returns next issue. End of digression.

And that’s the last of the commentaries, at least for a while. The next volume of MMW Avengers has been solicited to ship on June 15. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to think of something of my own to say.

“I'm not convinced Englehart had much of a plan at all for Wonder Man, do you think?”

 

No, as he himself said, “What I would have done with that, I do not know,” but, given what we have learned about his writing style, I do believe him when he added, “He would have spoken to me.”

  Around that time period Jacosta was a more interesting character to me than Wonder Man.

We still have some interesting times with Wonder Man for a while before he fades into obscurity and dull dull character - I maintain his greatest issue is #160....which is beginning to be in sight...
 
Mark S. Ogilvie said:

  Around that time period Jacosta was a more interesting character to me than Wonder Man.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

“I'm not convinced Englehart had much of a plan at all for Wonder Man, do you think?”

 

No, as he himself said, “What I would have done with that, I do not know,” but, given what we have learned about his writing style, I do believe him when he added, “He would have spoken to me.”


I read an interview not too long ago (in Alter Ego or Back Issue) where he said that he would have played Wondy as a "man out of time" trying to adjust to the present day. Not the most original approach considering Captain America already had that element.

Wonder Man was my favorite Avengers character in the Shooter era. I thought his misgivings and reluctance to be a "hero" seemed like a really believable characterization. I don't know if I had seen that in a superhero up to that point. The Silver Surfer did a lot of navel gazing but this was different. This was like a soldier being drafted into a war and not being sure if he would have the courage to fight.

Here's me catching up in this thread ...

I know I made a post about issue 144, but I think I only made a brief comment about the Isabella two parter.  Suffice it to say I was not a fan.  At this point any more discussion on #145 & 146 is just beating a dead horse.  The sad thing was how badly, in my opinion, it derailed the Squadron Supreme storyline.  I think Avengers #141-144 are very good comics, maybe a step below excellent (mostly due to some clunky dialogue from Englehart and a few plot points that weren't well thought out) but certainly among the high points of the 1970s for this title.  Unfortunately, I found #147-149 to be a bit of a mess.  I've read and re-read these issues a few times and I think, for whatever reason, this story got away from Steve Englehart big time.  I'm still not clear why Roxxon attacked the Avengers in the first place, or whether the Squadron was mind controlled or simply misguided.  I think Englehart may have gotten too caught up in wanting to take a few (supposedly) clever potshots at DC.

As others have said, having #150 trumpeted as such as a special issue and then only having 7 new pages of story was quite disappointing.

I will say that I enjoyed #151 quite a bit.  In hindsight, that was quite surprising to me, considering parts of it came from Englehart's plot and some of it was all Gerry Conway (and they were definitely not working together, 'nuff said).  And Jim Shooter also chipped in.  It could have been a real mess, being done by committee (Avengers #200 says hello), but weaving together the assembling of the new lineup with looking back at the team's already rich history came together quite well.  These seven Avengers will form the core of the team for the next five years, until the next sea change in #211.

I'll comment on #152 a bit later.

Also, Wondy really didn't have that much experience as a superhero -- he'd conned the Avengers into letting him join them in issue #9, having only gained his powers from Baron Zemo's gizmo specifically for that purpose, but had a change of heart and turned on Zemo only to get killed.  And despite his immense power, it was natural that Simon would be terrified of "dying" again and maybe not coming back again.

Interestingly, when Simon was brought back to life he was supposed to have been dead about 10 years  -- meaning that in Marvel time (not just real time) the Avengers had been around over 10 years when Simon came back.  Maybe they've retconned that specific time period away sometime since then or otherwise just ignored it, but it is one of the longest periods of time specified  between one event and another in the Marvel Universe since the FF took their famous ride into space in 1961.  

Detective 445 said:



Jeff of Earth-J said:

“I'm not convinced Englehart had much of a plan at all for Wonder Man, do you think?”

 

No, as he himself said, “What I would have done with that, I do not know,” but, given what we have learned about his writing style, I do believe him when he added, “He would have spoken to me.”


I read an interview not too long ago (in Alter Ego or Back Issue) where he said that he would have played Wondy as a "man out of time" trying to adjust to the present day. Not the most original approach considering Captain America already had that element.

Wonder Man was my favorite Avengers character in the Shooter era. I thought his misgivings and reluctance to be a "hero" seemed like a really believable characterization. I don't know if I had seen that in a superhero up to that point. The Silver Surfer did a lot of navel gazing but this was different. This was like a soldier being drafted into a war and not being sure if he would have the courage to fight.

Thanks for the thanks Matt.....

....I'm curious, being a UK Marvelite also - did you experience Marvel through the originals ...which I only just started finding around this period...or/and the Marvel UK weeklies?

This was the period for them where the reprinted issues started being full length and monthly produced rather than the more episodic nature before ...that felt like a renaissance itself.

I think Avengers #159 was the 'first' original US comic I bought off the spinner rack.

matt fiveash said:

(though I have been following the posts so thanks for keeping them coming Richard), but now I'm fully read up I hope I'll be able to chime in regularly.

Despite the spotty distribution here in the UK .......

ANOTHER EMBARRASSING ADMISSION: When I was in high school I used to wear a jacket in imitation of Wonder Man (except mine wasn't red, it was khaki).

Well done Jeff,

I'm proud that you found empowered enough to admit that in this forum - you are among friends after all(!)

Priceless.

(I think I've cracked a rib!)

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ANOTHER EMBARRASSING ADMISSION: When I was in high school I used to wear a jacket in imitation of Wonder Man (except mine wasn't red, it was khaki).

I liked Avengers #152 until they got to the swamp.  From there it was bad.  Black Talon and Damballa just had me rolling my eyes.  And Wanda defeated Talon with pieces of wood?  What?

I thought the art was good - it's John Buscema with Joe Sinnott inking, after all.  Sure, it's quite different from George Perez (especially the early Perez work we've seen since #141) but it's well done and consistent.  The Perez issues had various inkers, some meshing well with his pencils, others not.  Overall, #141-144 and #147-151 were all over the place visually - just too inconsistent.

Storywise, there's a lot of good stuff here (pre-swamp anyway).  At this point, the Wonder Man mystery is a good one.  We've got a very tense Vision on our hands because of Wonder Man's presence.  Yellowjacket seems to feel the need to put on a happy face because it's expected of him, not because he's actually happy.  YJ's smile on the Quinjet could not have been more pasted on, and yet Jan is oblivious.  We've got nice camaraderie between Cap and Iron Man.  Wanda is a star throughout the story.  Good start to the Conway era.

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