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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Thor can't control a storm if it's magical? What exactly are his powers if they're not supernatural? If someone sent a magical storm shouldn't they be looking into who did it and why, instead of acting like it didn't happen? Was Necrodamus behind it? Couldn't have been Kang, he's not a wizard.

I’ve been off the board for a couple of days and I’m fixin’ to be off for a couple of more, so let me post Steve Englehart’s comments and I’ll try to get caught up next week.

STEVE ENGLEHART ON AVENGERS #128:

“And so we come to the end of this Masterworks. I didn’t have many color jobs, but this is my favorite, what with all the mood. And the mood is set by a somewhat suspicious Agatha Harkness, coming, at long last, to give the Scarlet Witch a break. Or so it seems. The Vision gets thwarted when he tries to ake up with Wanda, and cornered when Mantis breaks it off with the Swordsman, and Mantis is finally (a version of) the femme fatale she was conceived to be, and the Swordsman begins to break down, and this entire issue is pretty darn satisfactoryon all levels, by my lights.

“I can only hopw you enjoy it as well—and that you come back for our next Avengers Masterworks when al this comes to its amazing climax.”

Curious Kindle Point....

Not quite the right place for this piece of info but almost..!

When we discussed the Avengers Defenders War collection I remarked how I thought Avengers #115 should have been collected in it's entirety rather than just the Loki bit...well...I have just purchased the collection on Kindle for a ridiculously cheap price and lo and behold the whole of #115 IS included - as is the unrelated chapter of the Defenders before the crossover begins.

Still no Avengers # 119 featuring the (temporary) fate of Loki.

Just F.Y.I.......

The Defenders story was continued from the previous issue. Did they include both issues or just start in the middle of the story?

Middle of the story - all of Defenders #8 - starting right where mad-Manor attacks!



Ron M. said:

The Defenders story was continued from the previous issue. Did they include both issues or just start in the middle of the story?

AVENGERS #129 (11/79)

Writer - Steve Englehart.  Penciller - Sal Buscema.  Inker - Joe Staton

Cover Art - Ron Wilson & Mike Esposito

   "Bid Tomorrow Goodbye!"

That's one of those symbolic covers with the team menaced by a super-huge version of the bad-guy and it is fine as such. Credit should always be given for the use of the story title on the cover but regardless of the good - this cover screams it's huge mistake overcoming any other comment! 

What mistake ? Skip to the end and all will be revealed...if it has to be.

Following the epilogue few pages of the last issue Kang recaps so much that that issue is superfluous and thus never included in any collection trade as we begin...the Celestial Madonna Epic.

Kang confronts the occupants of Avengers Mansion (we are reminded of his previous appearances in issues #8, 23-24 and 69-71) setting three  'manbots' against the Assembled Ones.

Everyone tries and everyone fails to defeat him and Kang claims...

"The Avengers are Mine! - even Jarvis is zapped.

We learn background to Kang' s attack this time, linked to the mysterious star that had appeared above the mansion. Kang explains the star..."heralds the completness of the Celestial Madonna -- she who will bear the One!"

...her mate will, through their son, be the most powerful man on Earth and Kang, naturally is determined to be that man - without even buying her dinner?

The wrinkle is that Kang does not know which female in the mansion will be that Madonna and so abducts all three.

Scarlet Witch -hmm...maybe?

Mantis - hmm... guess it's possible...?

Agatha HARKNESS - really?

Kang also takes the male Avengers to power his manbots...but leaves the Swordsman!

"Wh-what are your plans for me, Kang?"

"You Swordsman? You are a weakling and a blunderer - -" "I plan nothing for you but a scornful farewell!" -- now that's a blow!

Of course this 'ignore-the-weakest-at-your-peril' plot is nothing new but the precise direction we're going in will eventually surprise. ( Reminds me of the Bucky/Liberty Legion - Invaders Red Skull plot. - There used to be quite a good Invaders thread on this forum...)

Ignored by Kang, the Swordsman is quickly contacted astrally by Agatha HARKNESS who tells him they are being held in the Pyramid of Rama-Tut in Egypt and Swordy vows to rescue them!

Swordsman checks on Jarvis then races to Egypt, remembering the positive effect on his life he believes Mantis has had - despite her recent rejection of him.

Swordy is shot out the sky as Kang notices his arrival and Ms Harkness' s spells.

Kang' s 'past' is discussed as we all learn that he was born in the 31st century, 'stumbled across a time machine' , rebuilt it as a Spinx and ruled ancient Egypt as that Pharoh Rama-Tut! (see FF#19) 

Losing a battle with those FF he returned to the Future, this time the 41st century, where war and conflict was rife and he flourished as Kang the Conqueror!

It was boredom that sent him in search of adventure and conquest - in our time against our heroes...

Swordsman breaks into the pyramid, defeating a vampire-demon to do so, as Kang loads his captured male Avengers into power his manbots and plans World War 3!

We end with a revelation/cliffhanger as a mysterious possible-ally confronts Swordsman...

"Who the devil are you?"

"I am Rama-Tut!"

...wow! What an issue!

   The art is fine and the set pieces are memorable as a result. I love the splash page and the Avengers  being slotted into the manbots double spread, the 'Assemble!' panel and that last shot of Rama-Tut but it is the determination shown in the recently pathetic and wet Swordsman that serves so well in turning around the reader's opinion of the guy and his role as a hero!  No longer unworthy he fast becomes a favourite!

I cannot say, when I first read it, that I understood the Celestial Madonna phophecies and I don't believe anyone (including Englehart if we read Jeff's transcripts of his musings!) would guess where the story is going - but this is a powerful opening indeed!

The next chapter swells Giant-Size Avengers #2 and is one of my top contenders for 'best Avengers issue EVER!'

The Celestial Madonna Epic has begun..!

......oh...no, I haven't forgotten... regarding the great cover mistake..?

- What's the Vision doing shooting bolts of energy from his hands!?

D'Oh!

Come Back....

 

Possibly the artist has mixed up Vision and Iron Man. Back then they looked a lot alike until they were colored.

Finally put Swordsman and Mantis on a cover. Just in time to drop one of them.

The tree is the most powerful "man" on Earth? Has he ever done anything since back then besides steal the kid and throw Mantis out?

It loses some points for top contender because of the ending. I remember enjoying that story until...

I loved this issue, maybe because by this time I was fascinated by the psychological tension built up over the last several issues in the Swordsman, and now it all seemed to be coming to a head with Swordsman having a rare chance to shine.  Yeah, he was a nasty villain for ever so long, but Englehart had transformed him into an unlikely underdog sort of hero.  Alas, I missed the conclusion of this episode of the Kang Wars when it was on the comics racks.

Oh, and I think Ron Wilson, who to my knowledge may have never drawn the Vision previously, may have not been familiar enough with the character to realize that while he could fire an energy bolt from the gem in his forehead, he didn't shoot any such bolts from his hands.  Of all the covers featuring Kang that I'm aware of, I think Kirby's rendition for issue #23, another symbolically huge Kang menacing the Kooky Quartet, remains the best.

#8, #23-24, and #69-71. The Spider-Man robot is missing.

That particular issue can stay missing!  A contender for one of the worst Avengers issues ever, or at least of any published during their first 20 years.  Kang is embarrassed that he's never been able to successfully go back in time and remove that issue from existence.

This was my very first issue of The Avengers proper as I was reading Marvel Triple Action for almost  year previously. I recall wondering where Goliath, the Wasp, Hawkeye and Quicksilver were.

Was Kang planning on "forcing himself" on the Celestial Madonna? Or on all three contenders, just to be sure? Because this is all about Kang controlling the Avengers, dominating them and humiliating them. He had beaten them rather easily and had he destroyed Thor, Iron Man and the Vision instead of enslaving them, he would have won.

Heck, had he just killed the Swordsman instead of mocking him, he would have won. 

Heck again, had he just waited for the Avengers to throw Mantis out of the mansion as she declared that she is no longer  the Swordsman's woman and was rebuffed by the Vision and thus had no business living there anymore, he would have won.

...Meaning that Steve mostly worked on the B&W titles then or that this story was the type of story that you would call a " color " story ? Meaning , " coloring the characters' personalities " , or something ???????


Jeff of Earth-J said:

I’ve been off the board for a couple of days and I’m fixin’ to be off for a couple of more, so let me post Steve Englehart’s comments and I’ll try to get caught up next week.

STEVE ENGLEHART ON AVENGERS #128:

“And so we come to the end of this Masterworks. I didn’t have many color jobs, but this is my favorite, what with all the mood. And the mood is set by a somewhat suspicious Agatha Harkness, coming, at long last, to give the Scarlet Witch a break. Or so it seems. The Vision gets thwarted when he tries to ake up with Wanda, and cornered when Mantis breaks it off with the Swordsman, and Mantis is finally (a version of) the femme fatale she was conceived to be, and the Swordsman begins to break down, and this entire issue is pretty darn satisfactoryon all levels, by my lights.

“I can only hopw you enjoy it as well—and that you come back for our next Avengers Masterworks when al this comes to its amazing climax.”

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