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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Fred W. Hill said:
It was actually Roy Thomas who started the Toad on the road to be something other than Magneto's lowly toadie, in the X-Men/Avengers crossover that ended with the Toad stomping on Magneto's fingers to keep him from boarding a specially made non-metallic air-plane, kicking him away to yet another apparent death while escaping with Pietro & Wanda, whom the Toad had the unrequited hots for. Previously, in that multi-issue epic, the Toad had seemed his usual sniveling self, but it turned out he was seething with rage at Magneto's mistreatment of him.

This may not be completely inconsistent. I don’t remember the Toad ever having thought balloons when he was portrayed as sniveling. Maybe he was always secretly seething with rage.

Not to mention the blue highlights on Spider-Man's original black & red costume.
 
Richard Willis said:

Luke Blanchard said:
He changed colour in Amazing Adventures #15. The Supermegamonkey website notes that the dialogue there refers to his fur having become "black" and interprets the blue as originally intended as highlighting.

This reminds me of how Batman’s original blue highlights were, for a long time, misinterpreted as a blue and gray costume.

And all the jokes about "Superman and his blue hair."

I didn't find it inconsistent at all--Toad was the only one of the original Brotherhood who was completely (ok, maybe obsessively) devoted to Magneto, and his loyalty was never appreciated, let alone rewarded.  Kick the most loyal dog enough times and eventually you're going to get bit.  It's all the failed tinkering with the character to try and beef him up to true super-villain status (which started in this Avengers arc) that I have trouble with.

Richard Willis said:

Fred W. Hill said:
It was actually Roy Thomas who started the Toad on the road to be something other than Magneto's lowly toadie, in the X-Men/Avengers crossover that ended with the Toad stomping on Magneto's fingers to keep him from boarding a specially made non-metallic air-plane, kicking him away to yet another apparent death while escaping with Pietro & Wanda, whom the Toad had the unrequited hots for. Previously, in that multi-issue epic, the Toad had seemed his usual sniveling self, but it turned out he was seething with rage at Magneto's mistreatment of him.

This may not be completely inconsistent. I don’t remember the Toad ever having thought balloons when he was portrayed as sniveling. Maybe he was always secretly seething with rage.

You wanna talk inconsistent, look at the buff, confident portrayal of the Toad during Rob Leifeld's tenure on X-Force.

That's kind of my point.

It's like Defenders#8 where the Red Ghost was suddenly buff, very different from the guy in FF. People became more obsessed with everyone looking alike. I forget the name of the series, but there was a fat woman that could fly in an 80s team, and people complimented the creators for making a fat superhero. Never read the remake, but I read she was suddenly slim like everyone else.

Sounds like Zephyr from Valiant's Harbinger.  That was in the 1990s, though.

Ron M. said:

It's like Defenders#8 where the Red Ghost was suddenly buff, very different from the guy in FF. People became more obsessed with everyone looking alike. I forget the name of the series, but there was a fat woman that could fly in an 80s team, and people complimented the creators for making a fat superhero. Never read the remake, but I read she was suddenly slim like everyone else.

That's it. I had the first trade. Looking it up on the GCD, the cover of the trade and first issue show her slim, and her costume is different there.

I never collected any comics drawn by Leifeld, but based on what I've seen of his art on line, seems he not only made the Toad buff but he also transformed Captain America from a buff superhero into a hero with a chest more massive than a beach ball and basketball-sized arm muscles.  Certainly no one kicks sand in the Toad's face since he took the Leifeld He-Man steroids diet -- well, except for whoever else took that same diet!
 
Jeff of Earth-J said:

You wanna talk inconsistent, look at the buff, confident portrayal of the Toad during Rob Leifeld's tenure on X-Force.

He also gave Cap pointed knees that Peter David poked fun at. "His knee! It put my eye out!"

STEVE ENGLEHART ON AVENGERS #137:

“Back in [the Beast’s] Amazing Adventures days, I had done one of those things where I tossed a plate into the air with the idea that when it was time for it to come down, I’d figure out what impact it would have… but the series vanished before that time arrived. My Hulk issue had tied off the main storyline, but that plate was still up there. (And by plate, for those who haven’t heard this before, I mean a hint of mystery—where the hint fit the storyline I was writing, but the mystery was stilla mystery to me.)

“This plate involved Patsy Walker.

“Now, Patsy had once been a Marvel romance heroine (and yes, I read Patsy Walker and Patsy and Hedy, just like I read every comics series when I was a fan. You may know it only through Peter Parker and Mary Jane, but Stan Lee did good soap opera.) In Fantastic Four Annual #3, featuring the wedding of Reed and Sue, Stan and Jack had shown a crowd outside the church, and amongthe onlookers were Patsy and Hedy. So she’d made her way into the superhero universe, and when I wrote Amazing Adventures, I brought her into that series because, as the brand-new low man on the writers’ totem pole, I had to work among characters that didn’t ‘belong’ to somebody higher up. She ended up giving the Beast an alibi one time, in exchange for that plate… a promise that Hank would help her out sometime. Well, it seemed to me that time was now, and she could accompany Hank into the Avengers.

“Umm… except that she was, as she later insisted, ‘just a girl.’ She had no super-powers. But she had a courageous heart. I could work with that, going forward.

“The final newcomer was Moondragon. During the Mantis run, it had been revealed that Mantis and Moondragon were both candidates to become the Celestial Madonna, and Mantis had won. It followed, then, that Moondragon had lost, and Moondragon had a gigantic stick up her butt on a good day. A pissed-off Moondragon (who would never admit she was p.o.’d, or could be p.o.’d) seemed like a good character to play with. And, it kept one last strand of the Mantis story alive, tying the new run to the old run.

“Then we had two oldcomers: Yellowjacket and the Wasp. I had enjoyed them from the Tales to Astonish days, when YJ was known ans Ant-Man, and then Giant-Man. In Avengers he’d changed his name again, to Goliath, and finally Yellowjacket. Frankly, his casting about for an identity that worked had caused me to lose some interest in him, but the Wasp had always been the same, a fun addition to the team. If you wanted Avengers continuity, Giant-Man and the Wasp were charter members, alongside Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk.

“And finally, I kept the other two charter members, Thor and Iron Man.

“So from this writer’s perspective, it was a nice mix of old and new, with the chance to go some unusual places.

“So the adventures of the Avengers continued in #137. We’d been casting around for a stable artistic team one, and now we hopefully had one. The penciler was George Tuska, with whom I’d worked before on Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. George was one of those guys who could draw comics. There was always a bit of cartoony simplicity to his stuff, which I liked because it said, ‘It’s still cartoons at heart.’ And the inker was Vinnie Colletta, a mainstay, maybe the mainstay, of Marvel comics. He takes a lot of flak, but there was probably no Marvel title that didn’t use Vinnie at one point or another. He’s part of what got Marvel through the early days, a part of Marvel’s (and DC’s) DNA. Vinnie was everywhere. I got to know hi well when I was breaking in and he was always a very nice New York guy to a nobody kid in New York. Some people say he was very New York. Whatever. I liked him.

“Storywise, #137 puts the new group together, and we get to follow Vizh and Wanda on their honeymoon, because all the Avengers we’ve known (that are still on this planet) have lives that are continuing. Honeymoons on tropical islands being what they are, we got to see the Vision’s uncostumed body for the first time—which caused something of a stir. But is his face was red, why would the rest of him be any different?

“On page 12, I evidently didn’t feel George had gotten te precise look of the Beast, so my friend Jim Starlin redrew the head shot. That happens. George was just beginning on a character new to him and I knew Hank McCoy by heart, so I filled him in on Hank and we went on. That’s just bidness.”

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