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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It's odd that Mort didn't rule out Superboy and others visiting from the 20th century. They must have had adventures when only the 30th century members were available.

Obviously, the whole tax business was just a fig leaf to provide some kind of in-story motivation for the editorial mandate that Superboy be written out of the LSH.  I'd rather have seen him suffering some ill-effects from all the memory tampering that had been going on to keep him from recalling anything about his own future, so the Legion would have no choice but to make him stay away (undoubtedly with more mind-tampering, because that trick never backfires).  The tax thing was pretty weak, if only because it wouldn't have been hard to produce proof that Kal-El was legally dead as of the 30th century.  At least, I think he was--I know that there was at least one story in which the death of Supergirl was presented as an historical fact in her own feature (a history book from the future found its way into the Stanhope College Library), but I don't recall any direct mention of Superman actually dying, even in the 30th Century Superman stories.  His biggest future revelation was always who he'd marry.

Avengers #192 (02/80)
Writer - David Michelinie Editor - Jim Salicrup
Penciller - Arvelle Jones Inker - Ricardo Villamonte
Cover Art – George Perez & Joe Sinnott
  Steel City Nightmare!"
Having thoroughly enjoyed the last two-parter featuring the twin threats of the Grey Gargoyle and Peter Gyrich I asked, last time ( and nearly two years ago (oops-- sorry!)) 'Are we on a roll..?" Then and now the answer is ….no.


It's not all bad - the cover "Peril in Pittsburgh!" by Perez is fine enough, although the monster is a tad generic ( in fairness to Perez, he's dull inside the issue and that wasn't down to Perez so he is probably doing the best he can here) but Wonder Man and Iron Man alone do not a very exciting Avengers cover make.


Cover Roll Call accurately depicts the active Avengers which yes, does mean something.


This issue and the concluding part next issue mark a transition back from John Byrne's art to George Perez's art and clearly there were some deadline issues and the art is poor, the plot thin and stretched to fit.

The issue opens then, in Pittsburgh. (This feels like some sort of writer's in-joke, as if someone dared Michelinie to put Pittsburgh centre of a plot - kind of like the use of Detroit in the Detroit JLA - there's a thread about that somewhere..!)
Pittsburgh is apparently a steel producing town and Tony Stark is visiting his local plant, with (at present not actually an Avenger although he's hung around for many issues) Wonder Man.


Simon mentions the factory/business/land "belonged to me" which is a fascinating pick-up of old character background for him that deserves credit to writer Mr Michelinie.
Indeed he even adds to that continuity link by placing this factory as the one where Thor repaired his Uru hammer back in Journey Into Mystery #120 which is another detail I just love.
(has anyone ever done a Thor read-along thread?)


One of the workers, Joseph Conroy shows off a piece of that hammer he kept as a good luck charm before being viciously knocked into a huge vat of molten metal. (We don't immediately know why - indeed we don't find out until next issue....come back..)


This upsets the cauldrons and disaster is imminent. Tony stark tries to find a place to change into his Iron Man gear he has in his case but Wonder Man grabs it to throw it into the mechanism to slow the crisis, effectively preventing Iron man from arriving to save the day.
It's a theme with Simon, however hard he tries he just doesn't quite cut it does he? "...since I'm the only Avenger around it looks like I'm elected!"


To further indicate Simon stepping up to heroic status he holds back fifty thousand tons while a trapped worker is freed (a la Spider-Man in ASM#33) and Stark lends a hand.


Back at Avengers Mansion we get a comedy interlude as a mystery man approaches the front door only to be prevented from entering by the defences (we've seen this from other viewpoints before) and we find out, not that he's the government again or that he's a super-villain or even an ally needing help -- he's a neighbour complaining about the noise!!
It's not as funny as (I think) it's trying to be.


It reintroduces us to the rest of the Avengers team however and more importantly marks the exit of Peter Gyrich, "So long Gyrich. Forget to write!"
The team then decide that free of the Government restrictions imposed circa#181 they re-assemble some old members, "As long as we don't go overboard."
Falcon suggests Hawkeye and Cap suggests Yellowjacket but all is not so simple as Hawkeye's phone no longer connects and despite Jan's enthusiasm Yellowjacket declines the offer.


The Beast suggests, "Why not re-induct Wonder Man?" (I know, I know, I still maintain he was not an official member yet) but the Vision is unsure Simon would welcome a return suggesting their feud is not as done and dusted as anyone thinks.


To add to the membership changes the Scarlet Witch, having learned much about her origins recently announces she has things to sort out which entails her leaving the team ...and her husband.
"Your decision is perplexing, my wife, and very human. I do not understand -- but I do accept."
Not sure I do.

Why does she have to go and why now? Shouldn't she be the happiest she's ever been with her loving husband and the mysteries of her past cleared up?


Back in Pittsburgh and a memorial is raised to the dead Mr Conroy from which bursts this month's monster..." H-holy Hannah! That thing looks like a Living Inferno!"
It's a dull name too isn't it? - looks way too much like Nuklo (remember him?) if you ask me.


Wonder Man battles this Inferno guy and Iron Man joins him . Where did Tony get his armour from? - actually, I have a theory that this scene takes place days later than the previous which would explain how a memorial event gets organised and new armour is available for Tony - I'm going with both he and Wonder Man were invited as they were present at Conroy's death. (Am I thinking too hard?)
Wonder Man calls the Avengers for help.


At the Mansion we learn that Jarvis is allowed to conduct monitor duty now the Government regulations have been relaxed and he and Ms Marvel receive the emergency call from Simon - informing Captain America that the signal has been stopped suggesting the beacon and/or Wonder Man has been destroyed!!
It's a cliff-hanger.


As I said above, not great art and lackluster monster brings this issue down from the recent ridiculously high quality we were used to this pretty middle-of-the-road book, mind you, middle-of-the-road Avengers at this point is still pretty good.

Next Issue Battleground Pittsburgh!"

(Anybody anything to say? Anybody been waiting a couple of years to say it - I apologise again!)

Come Back...


YAY!

Now what about Invaders? ;)

As for a Thor read-along, John Dunbar did this one (10 months since last post):

http://captaincomics.ning.com/forum/topics/inspired-by-the-baron-du...

I am pleased to see the return of “And There Came Another Day” but I wasn’t going to push for it because I’d been lobbying so hard for the Invaders. Previously, I tried to keep an issue ahead of you, so that whenever you posted, I’d be ready to post a reaction. At this point, I will probably re-join with issue #194.

Avengers #193 (03/80)
Writer - David Michelinie Editor - Jim Salicrup
Layouts - Sal Buscema Finished Art - Dan Green
Cover Art – Frank Miller & Bob McLeod
Plot Assist - Pittsburgh Comix Club
  “Battleground: Pittsburgh!"


On first viewing I thought this cover was a return to John Byrne but actually it's the later-to-be-legendary-in-his-own-right Frank Miller inked by the wonderful Bob McLeod.

An interesting combination that I would have liked to see more of. Always nice (and rare) to see either Ms Marvel or the Falcon on a cover so it's great to see them both here.


We almost get the cover roll-call featured in the main cover art but Wonder Man is present and the Wasp isn't. She is inside but I've examined the cover closely - I cannot see her on the cover anywhere...why?


(Remember, Wonder Man is not-yet a formal member!)


Again this cover is remenicent of the Absorbing Man cover from #184 (take a look- the Beast is almost exact) and Inferno himself still looks like Nuklo or actually Leonard Tippett from #101.(just me?)


Last issue suffered a little from featuring less than stellar artwork and this one suffers even more so as the interior pages are not up to much, Buscema's influence is very vague so I'm guessing his 'layouts' were and Dan Green probably did his best with what he had but it is poor in Avengers standards.
That has a major influence on this book but even Michelinie's story is pedestrian again, completing a clearly below-par filler-two-parter.


We open then, with Wonder Man and Iron Man trying to hold off our glowing monster to little avail.
We have a quick re-cap of his origin as construction worker got knocked into furnace (why?) later to emerge bursting out of concrete memorial within the Pittsburgh factory.


Inferno as he was christened goes all 'Molten Man' as his 'fiery footsteps' lead him to the offices of the company management.
Manager Vince Paretta (who?) sets his staff against Inferno without success and takes his opportunity to run away, telling us en-route that he had "planned on closing out my operations here soon, anyway."
Inferno gets lured onto a barge and free-drifts into the waterway as the cavalry arrive with easilly the best exchange of the issue, "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird!"

"It's a plane!"

"What're you, high or somethin'? That's -- An Avengers quinjet!"


As the Avengers disembark a very well-spoken gentleman directs the team to 'the rather brutish flame demon that's been destroying our city'.
This is not Jarvis, is this some uncredited Pittsburgh celebrity I'm not aware of?


Bad guy Paretta has to abandon his car and get a cab, while attempting to escape as Inferno closes in.

"I need a plan! I know-- I'll run away!" (Is this Micheline making fun of himself?)


The Avengers fight a losing battle. Inferno keeps walking, upsetting a trolly-car along his way forcing the Avengers to turn rescue-team and free trapped travellers.


Eventually ( this entire issue was just one big long chase-the-monster issue - it's like an Incredible Hulk book!) Inferno catches up with Paretta at his home.
Inferno shows the Uru chip revealing to Paretta that he is/used to be worker Joseph Conroy and Paretta confesses that he had Conroy killed, "Don't you see? I had to do it! If you had told the Cops or the Maggia about my numbers scam, I would've been -- dead"
That's (I think) the first and only mention of a 'Numbers Scam' or of Conroy's knowledge of it and thus is the first and only explanation of why Conroy 'had' to be killed and thus how we got to the creation of Inferno.
It's a slim motive.


With Paretta in custody the Avengers leave Inferno to walk off and into the sea where he......dies?/fizzles out/ lives the rest of his days in Atlantis?/waits to return one future issue?
So, sorry, not a very satisfying two-parter and although there are some attempts at full team Avengers action shots it fails to capture the imagination much.


We kind of get an explanation why these issues have been a bit sub-par in the glowing praise of the 'Next Issue' box...
"Next Issue: The Return of the man called... PEREZ! Yes, gorgeous George brings his prodigious pencils back to the Earth's Mightiest Heroes In A Tale Called... INTERLUDE!"


Believe me dear reader, things get so much better next issue! Oh - and Jeff says he's on board then...!


Come Back...

This was an era when I was collecting the Avengers more out of habit than enjoyment.  It wasn't just the average or below-average art, as I'd really enjoyed Englehart's run even when the art wasn't so good.  The main problem was that the stories just didn't engage me.  Having monsters as baddies that were too reminiscent of previous monsters certainly didn't help.  I have this in my collection and know I read it nearly 40 years ago (egads, the years fly by so quick now!), but nothing about this issue really sticks in my memory.  Michelinie had been great on Iron Man and I'd liked some of his earlier Avengers issues, but he couldn't seem to consistently work the magic on the title and as we now know was heading towards a travesty with the 200th issue, even with splendid art by Perez.  But that's a discussion for another day.

Huge monsters as villains/antagonists has never worked for me in any hero's story. They seldom have personalities or meaningful things to say. 

Avengers #194 (04/80)
Writer - David Michelinie Editor - Jim Salicrup
Penciller - George Perez Inker - Josef Rubinstein
Cover Art – George Perez & Josef Rubinstein
  “Interlude"


Dialogue on a cover - I love it! - "Ever wonder what the Avengers do on their day off? See for yourself in "Interlude!""
I really like this cover, the Vision getting angry and a rare cover appearance of Jocasta! Perez is a master. (the back cover of the trade I have covering this issue has this cover without the logo or speech and it is better coloured and is just beautiful!!


Cover Roll-Call is the same as it has been for a while (and probably should change -we'll get to why...)


The splash page celebrates Perez's return with wonderfully detailed Kirbyesque computers recording Wonder Man's unique retina scans as his reported "Reinstatement to Full-Time Avenger Status" is completed.
I know I 've bored many by saying it but... I don't see where (and we have covered it haven't we?) Wonder Man would have actually officially joined the Avengers before. He was at most a welcome guest previously.


It is here that he is IN-stated as an official Avenger in my book and gets his first Avengers Priority Card. (If not a place on that Cover Roll-Call yet!)


Interesting piece of Wonder Man trivia is added in passing here as we learn, with concentration, Simon can make his energy-eyes look like normal eyes, "-- for short periods of time."


Wonder Man stepping up to a full-member was prompted by the Government (Gyrich) relaxing their conditions on the team but although this means more than the previous allotted members can be recruited - the Falcon takes this opportunity to quit the team!
"Wha-- Falcon! What do you mean?!"
"What I mean is that the main reason I joined the Avengers was to fill a Government quota -- and that quota no longer exists."
I confess I was one of those who thought - how could they possibly add the Falcon to the hallowed ranks of the Avengers? -- only to actually enjoy him being around. It helped that the Falcon costume was a joy drawn by either Byrne or Perez. Even those who were more open to The Falcon joining could hardly have imagined his position in (much) later Avengers line-ups eh?
"Maybe that'll ease some of the tension I seem to have brought with me."
"I ... don't think anyone really noticed, Falcon. But if you've made your decision we'll honour it"
We noticed, Cap. We really did.
The Avengers wave the Falcon off and Ms Marvel sums everyone's thoughts up... "... I think I'm going to miss him."


After a quick scene where a man in slippers in the snow hails a cab asking, "H-have you ever heard of a place called... "Avengers Mansion"?"


Back at that said Mansion, Ms Marvel and Captain America have a little chat about what it means to be an Avenger as Cap shows how cool he can be while dealing with snowballing kids.
Is there a moment between Carol and Steve..?


Iron Man looks out at this moment wondering if he can do without being Avengers chairman now he's put his alcohol problems behind him.
Wonderful moment as he pours himself a Dr. Pepper, "Mmmm, October, a good vintage."


Next we catch up with the Vision, who is full melancholy mood again, suffering as his wife has gone off on her own, he tests himself against the Avengers version of the Danger room while being watched by Jocasta.
"That was very impressive, Vision."
"Thankyou, Jocasta."
Jocasta laments that although she had been welcomed into the Mansion, "...The other Avengers seem to have forgotten that I even exist."
The Vision details his loneliness, "...Almost as though I were a bridge without a shore."
"Why, Vision, that's lovely! It's almost poetic!"
Emphatically he informs Jocasta, "Poetry is a human folly! And I -- -- am not ---- Human!" He shows off his un-human powers and having wrecked the room he asks Jocasta... "You understand."
"Yes, Vision, I do. Very well..."
This Vision feeling alienated has been done many times before, but spotlighted against Jocasta's similar feelings it is beginning to look like these two may feel a kinship that may grow..?


The Wasp, in a wonderful white with blue piping (and off the shoulder/off the leg) new costume, offers to answer the Mansion door as Jarvis has his hands full, "Since I'm just dying to show off my new outfit."
As she opens the door, the mystery man in the slippers falls over the threshold and collapses.


The Beast (blue and furry and never been better) plays Wonder Man at table tennis/ping-pong as the Beast tunes the TV, coming across "The Uncle Elmo Show" where he, and we, learn Simon's secret... "So that's your 'Top Secret' TV Job, huh, Wondy?" - he's basically a musclebound patsy for a kids slapstick comedy show! Not really Oscar material!
Just before Simon gets a pie-in-the-face Captain America cuts onto the channel.
"Aw, geez, Cap! Do you realise what you interrupted?"


So, after all these 'Interlude' scenes we get to the actual plot as the team are assembled around the visitor, Selbe, who is wearing a hospital gown labelled "the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane!"
Everyone except the Wasp seems to think Selbe should be taken back but Jan has picked up that he is strangely terrified of returning.
Ms Marvel adds, "The man is obviously a mental case." and Jocasta asks "And what is your opinion, Vision?" highlighting his current attitude, "...There are too many times when I've believed all humans to be mad."


Another mystery man in a limo (with suspicious technology) arrives outside the mansion, sending white-coated underlings to claim Selbe back, producing a court-order.
Jan pleads Selbe's case but he is returned via the limo and it's passenger, "Oh no! N-not you! Not you!".


Interestingly Ms Marvel and the Wasp, who have not had much interraction before, clash, "And I say you're letting your feelings run away with you Wasp."
"Oh, what do you know about feelings, you... you Iceberg?"
It's a telling panel.


Back in their conference room the Avengers reassure themselves that they had no practical choice but to let Selbe go... only to realise... "-- the Wasp has flown the coop!"
Cap announces they're off to see the doctor...!


I cannot enthuse enough about this issue. I absolutely love it, both in the characters of the heroes, the tempo of the downtime action and the incredible artwork. Every panel a classic.
Gotta believe it was this issue that inspired the New Teen Titan's #8 not much later "Day In The Life" haven't you?
Wonderful art throughout - the first panel of page 2 with the team welcoming Wondy is actually one of my favourite ever!


After the last two sub-par issues this is a return to glory seldom reached before or since!.
If all this wasn't enough, this issue is actually just a set up for the next two-parter making all three a classic storyline.


Next Issue "The Avengers unravel a mystery that stretches to the very foundations of the Marvel Universe! Join guest-stars Yellowjacket and Ant-Man for the... Assault On A Mind Cage!"
I mean....just...wow!


Come Back...



Richard Mantle said:


Back at that said Mansion, Ms Marvel and Captain America have a little chat about what it means to be an Avenger as Cap shows how cool he can be while dealing with snowballing kids.


One of my favorite scenes from this era. And I love Rubinstein's inks over Perez.

The recolored digital version:

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