In December, Marvel is releasing the hardcover "Avengers: The Coming of the Beast" which reprints #137-140 and #145-146 (Jl-O'75) and (Ma-Ap'76). Those issues are vivid ones from my childhood so I will walk through them again with some comments. Of course, these are my feelings only and SPOILER ALERTS are up!
#137- I remember this cover demanding my 9 year old self to buy it! The dynamic image of the Beast about to leap off into me gave me no choice. It was the first of only a few times that I directly asked my father for money (a WHOLE quarter!!) to buy a comic. Strangely enough, I wasn't reading the current Avengers, only the reprints in "Marvel Triple Action". Well, any book you haven't read is a new book!
The Englehart/Tuska/Colletta team worked well and I lucked out because as Thor put it, "We do Seek out New Avengers!" With the departure of the Swordsman and Mantis and the honeymoon of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, the others are feeling lonely so they ask former members to rejoin with limited success. Only Yellowjacket and the Wasp say yes. Iron Man nominates Moondragon (on a purely hormonal level, it seems) and Hawkeye storms off to travel to the 12th century to ask the Black Knight if he wants to re-up. Well, if he wants to stay in the past, I'd say no.
So the Avengers use the under-reconstruction Yankee Stadium as a test site for new applicants, after filming a TV spot to advertise the opening. Apparently heroes don't watch much TV because only one shows up: our blue-furred ex-X-Man, the Beast, disguised as Edgar G. Robinson! His make-up skills were a product of his "Amazing Adventures" days!
Unfortunately, the Avengers are soon attacked by the Stranger who, it seems, does watch TV. Thor and Iron Man are quickly taken out by deadly hover-mines. The Wasp is seriously injured, forcing Moondragon to knock out a frenzied YJ. So the Beast, with leaps and bounds and animal instincts, reaches the off switch and saves the day though the Stranger escapes.
My thoughts: Not only was this my first encounter with the Beast, but with Yellowjacket (my favorite Hank Pym identity) as well. I learned that the Hulk was a founding Avenger and that there was another team called the X-Men. Also Hawkeye hadn't mellowed from the "Marvel Triple Action" stories.
We got to see the Scarlet Witch in a bikini and the Vision in a bathing suit, which may have been the first time he wore anything else but his costume! Still why do you need more members if Vis and Wanda are only on their honeymoon? Indeed, they're back by #140.
The Stranger was an impressive villain though we soon find out things aren't always what they seem!
More to follow!
...maybe I should just get the three missing Essentials and 'complete the circle'.
Figserello said:...maybe I should just get the three missing Essentials and 'complete the circle'.
You definitely should! You've never read the "Celestial Madonna" story? it features Kang, Immortus, time travel, the death of an Avenger, explains the Blue Area of the Moon and leads up to the Scarlet Witch marrying the Vision and Mantis marrying a tree!
I don't have Essential Classic X-Men #3, did it reprint the Beast's entire Amazing Adventures run or just the first one? I do have Essential Avengers #6 which includes #136, an encore of Am Adv #12 where the Beast battles his transformation, two nosy women and Iron Man. It was to familiarize Avengers readers to the Beast though the story was only three years old!
Whoever is in charge of the Marvel Essentials is doing a wonderful job, I'd have to say. To take just one example, the stonkingly large Essential Classic X-Men volume 3 apparently has every* appearance of the original X-Men in other comics between the final Adams/O'Neill issue and Giant-Size X-Men #1, including Hank McCoy's entire run on amazing adventures, and their team-up appearance.
This was a real treat as one of the very first Marvel UK anthologies I ever bought had human-ish Hank with the original X-Men fighting Sauron in one story, and as a blue beastie fighting Nefaria with the Avengers in another, and it was looking like the key story where he changed was always going to be too minor to be reprinted.
*subject to corrrection by sharp-eyed, long-memoried fanmen...