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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John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

Art-wise, we are still in a good to very good (tho not quite great) era for the book in my opinion.  I like the Byrne/Janson combination for the reasons you state Richard.  I was a bit surprised #184 had so many inkers as to my eye it look fairly consistent.  I've seen plenty of comics from this era with multiple inkers - a number in this series - and the finished product has wildly varying quality throughout, not here though.  I wish the book had Janson consistently, or someone like Terry Austin over Byrne's pencils.


You get your wish going forward as I think Dan Green inks a number of issues. Not Byrne's best inker (IMO) but not overpowering and he brings some consistency.

Btw: Some sources list Brett Breeding as an inker on this issue but I don't think he was working at Marvel yet. I'm more inclined to believe the wiki that lists Austin, Rubinstein, Gordon and Janson as inkers for this issue.

AVENGERS #185 (07/79)
Writer/Script – David Michelinie  (plot - Mark Gruenwald & Steven Grant)
Penciller - John Byrne                                          Inkers – Dan Green
Cover Art – George Perez & Terry Austin 
 

  “The Yesterday Quest!"


How much does it grate either Perez or Byrne that this iconic cover from Perez signifies this iconic storyline by Byrne? I've always wondered if Perez wanted to draw the interior and/or Byrne would have wanted his own cover.


It is a beautiful cover, atmospheric, dramatic  but maybe a little too dark on the background.(?)


Was this the very last hurrah for the movie-star-looking Quicksilver? Perez draws him traditionally handsome on the cover whereas Byrne is starting to draw him more drawn and angular inside - nothing like as spikey and pointed as he draws him when he takes over the FF book though - and it seems unusual to see Pietro 'handsome' again.


Aside from all that - we have the beginning of the iconic roll-call corner boxes!
(Praise be for Byrne's work!)
I have always adored them! (Apparently - Marvel are bringing them back?)
The roll-call kind of represents the official active roster most of the time but it's not an exact rule. I wish they brought the idea  when Gyrich stabalised the roster back in #181/182 but here we have that line-up -

Beast, Vision, Iron Man, Wasp, Captain America and the Falcon with Ms Marvel officially having replaced the Scarlet Witch.


Okay, I really should talk about this book - inside we pick up at the end of last issue's battle on the dockside with more on new member Falcon and outgoing member Hawkeye, "'Much Action?!" - That Bird-Man didn't even throw one punch!" (I actually went back and checked this out - he's quite right!)

"So howcum he's still with the team ... and I'm not?".

So finally, after the announcement in #181 - Hawkeye bows out in #185 (of course he'll be back.)
Was anyone on Team-Falc in the day?


Downtime for the Avengers spotlights the new team - Beast loving his new outgoing personality and Tony Stark flirting with Ms Marvel.
Non-Members are not forgotten as Jocasta seeks out the Vision to make her feel more like she fits in only for him to consider how he doesn't fit in..."Worried? Doubtful. After all -- How can a machine worry?" "A...  Machine?"
I ask again - why did the Vision not accompany his wife on her travels?


And so to the main story as Wanda and Pietro accompany old man Maximoff to their old country - Transia - and Wanda feels she belongs.
(Having just read the most recent version of her origin in the Scarlet Witch's own series - this story has a new/changed/updated significance.)


Unable to sleep, Pietro remembers a childhood as Gypsies until a mob attacked.
He contrasts this with memories/claims that he and his sister were born in Wundagore, to the Whizzer and Ms America and how the area has rejuvenated Wanda powers over the years.
(I love Bova and the Toad etc just being slipped in these flashback images.)


Wanda herself has trouble sleeping as she is visited (and politely clothed) by a Marvel Mystic - Modred.
(There are some oracles much better versed in the 'Early-years' than I on this forum who can probably explain how ...didn't Modred start out as a hero?)


 Modred takes Wanda on a moonlit visit to Wundagore mountain but ambushes her at the site/sight of a strange alter.
In the morning Django and Pietro find Wanda missing and Quicksilver searches frantically until he is pointed to that mountain.


In a great sequence Quicksilver races headlong up the peak until he hits some forcefield like defence and falls painfully back down.
Perfect Pietro.


He gradually comes round to find himself being nursed by Cow-derived Bova..."the one who brought you into this world"
It's a good cliff-hanger but maybe would have worked better if her face had have been shadowed out in the earlier flashback?
I love the faded colours effects around Pietro as he wakes up.


All in all - a beautiful iconic interesting and well paced issue.


Classic? I'm a 'yes'.


Come Back...

“(There are some oracles much better versed in the 'Early-years' than I on this forum who can probably explain how ...didn't Modred start out as a hero?)”

I can field that one. The answer is “yes.” He started as a hero in the short-lived Marvel Chillers, but lasted only two issues before the title was given over to Tigra (whose feature lasted only five issues).



Richard Mantle said:


How much does it grate either Perez or Byrne that this iconic cover from Perez signifies this iconic storyline by Byrne? I've always wondered if Perez wanted to draw the interior and/or Byrne would have wanted his own cover.


It is a beautiful cover, atmospheric, dramatic  but maybe a little too dark on the background.(?)

It certainly was an embarrassment of riches with both Byrne and Perez working on this book. And to think they got the work because the "established" artists didn't like drawing all those characters! Here's the digital version of that cover with the background lightened as you suggest. And yes, this is another outright classic Avengers issue.

I did enjoy these at the time.  I was still new to comics and it was stuff that like this that really drew me into them.

Not popular enough for a 'how can you turn my favourite hero bad' appeal then.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I can field that one. The answer is “yes.” He started as a hero in the short-lived Marvel Chillers, but lasted only two issues before the title was given over to Tigra (whose feature lasted only five issues).

Nice to know others agree with me - that lightened cover is a beauty!

Detective 445 said:

Here's the digital version of that cover with the background lightened as you suggest. And yes, this is another outright classic Avengers issue.

Modred  also popped up in Marvel Two-In-One #33 at the end of the Thing's British adventures. The Conjurer from Camelot left the newly created Spider-Woman to be her mentor but he was a no show in her series!

As I recall, this story began as either a Marvel Premiere or Marvel Spotlight starring Quicksilver but was placed in here instead!

Wanda probably asked the Vision to stay behind as it was her journey to take. And she didn't want to deal with both him and Pietro at the same time!

btw, did we ever see any interaction between Quicksilver and the Whizzer?

I had no problem with the Falcon as an Avenger but never liked how he was portrayed as an Avenger!

AVENGERS #186 (08/79)
Writer – David Michelinie  (plot - Mark Gruenwald & Steven Grant)
Penciller - John Byrne                                          Inkers – Dan Green
Cover Art – John Byrne & Terry Austin 
 

  “Nights of Wundagore!"


At last John Byrne gets to draw the covers to his Avengers classics and this is a beauty!.
I'm presuming the bottom left ownership/blocked out box actually covers up the large roll-call headshot of Ms Marvel, expanded from the corner cover box of last issue to the framework of this one.

It always, obviously helps that the cover depicts a scene from inside and this is indeed an almost straight lift from the interior story and works wonderfully for it.
What is noticable is that Iron Man remains on that roll-call and yet, between last issue and this, he becomes too involved in his own mag's problems to appear inside. (Two of my favourite Iron Man issues ever in #124-125 btw.)


Otherwise we pick up where we left off with Quicksilver being nursed by old-cow (!) Bova and catch right up on the flashbacks filling out Wanda and Pietro's 'definative' origin.
The story threads picked up here are many and varied and credit to the creative team for managing them all (Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman's father is even featured!)


Most important scene of that time (and since?) was a new lone female, called Magda, arrived at Wundagore, heavilly pregnant and afraid of her husband -- "who had gained strange abilities, powers that had sent him raving with a desire to rule the world."
Bova acted as midwife as Magda gave birth, under the mysterious lights in the sky of Wundagore mountain that night, to twins - Pietro and Wanda.
This revealed that our Avenger twins were NOT  the children of Miss America and the Whizzer as previously believed. The All-Winners couple WERE there but as Miss America died, so did her one child - leaving an opportunity for Bova to pass the twins to the Whizzer as a means to hide them from Magda's mad husband...but Bob Frank ran at the prospect and confusion reigned for decades.


At that point we are told that the High Evolutionary intervened and handed the twins to a gypsy couple living nearby, the Maximoffs, which brings us neatly back to Django Maximoff who had arrived of late to claim fatherhood of our heroes as we have been seeing.


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.


I'm not naming the father until anyone reading along goes off -- as readers of the books as they were published had to -- and reads the corresponding reveal scene in X-Men #125...go on......
.....Who'd'vethunkit!


I know since all this fuss and bother the origin has been superseded in some attempt to make MORE sense of it all (really?) but in 1979 we are where we are!
"But I still haven't a clue as to my true father's identity!"
"Then take my word that you know enough! Please!"

Ah, if only.


We segue back to Wanda, now a captive of the now-villainous Modred (nice editorial link to Marvel Chillers #2 answering where/when Modred began this journey)
Wanda escapes and a magical battle ensues, it seems Wanda's winning with, "-- A roundhouse left!" but the final blow downs her.


From then we see Quicksilver menaced by a vision of his sister, now-corrupted by the evil on the mountain.
After Django and Pietro escape apparently living tree branches and roots - helping explain old man Maximoff's magical marionettes... the Avengers are called in.
Peter Gyrich orders the team not to travel to a foreign country but Captain America (finally!) pulls in a favour from the top "Just who the blazes do you think you -- Oh I-I'm sorry sir, I didn't realize..." "You can wipe that smirk off your face now. Captain."
It's a great uplifting scene almost buried in the rest of the drama.


More of an ominous character moment, the Vision is instructed to remain and reluctantly agrees but adds... "Yes... It will be settled."


The issue ends with a dramatic cliff-hanger as Django and Quicksilver are downed by the transformed Wanda...."There is no Ana Maximoff, there is no Wanda Frank - now there is only......CHTHON!"
It i' easy to read this and remark 'Oh it's another take on the Phoenix/Dark Phoenix storyline - but don't forget, we haven't had the beginning of Phoenix's downward spiral into Dark Phoenix at all yet! So this really is quite fresh!


Beautiful artwork, neat storytelling, detailed continuity links that make sense and fit together with expert pacing and  breath-taking cliff-hanger...classic!


Is the Scarlet Witch gone for good?


Come back...

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.

What are they saying about those two now?

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