Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Avengers 194 to 200

Avengers 194 to 200

Goon academy.
Giant robot interlude.
Ms. Marvel shafted.

Beast; Henry "Hank" McCoy
Captain America; Steve Rogers
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Ms. Marvel; Carol Danvers
Wasp; Janet Van Dyne
Wonder Man; Simon Williams
Yellowjacket; Henry "Hank" Pym

Outgoing Member
Falcon; Sam Wilson

Featured Allies/Enemies
Ant-Man; Scott Lang
Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff
Taskmaster; Tony Masters
Thor; Donald Blake

     The next sequence of issues certainly has its share of interesting moments, but in hindsight, it is dominated by the ending of Avengers 200, events therein which highlight the changes that have taken place in the comic book community since the issue came out in 1980. Although I looked forward to reading most of these old tales, I approached this issue with a sick feeling in my stomach, partly because I was disappointed in what had happened in the story and partly because I was disappointed in myself for not being disgusted back when I first read it.
     Avengers 200 came out when I was nine years old, although there's a good chance I first purchased it years later as a back issue. As a kid, it had value as a giant-sized anniversary issue and had beautiful art by George Pérez, so I'm sure that's all I took away from it. 30 years later, and especially after it was addressed in Avengers Annual 10 by Ms. Marvel herself, I had been duly chastened for being as complacent as the Avengers themselves had been. Since I recap the issue later, I'll be brief here. Ms. Marvel is kidnapped to Limbo, the character Marcus "puts his essence" in her, she gives birth to him back on Earth, he grows to adulthood and must return to Limbo, and she goes with him, leaving the Avengers series. It's not just a scientific experiment to him either. He claims to be in love with her, as seen in this sequence.

     This highlights how female characters were often misused and not depicted as people with their own motivations. Marcus even says that he used machines to help seduce Ms. Marvel. This was a decade or so before date rape drugs became part of the national consciousness, but she is influenced to have sex, has no memory of the event at all, and turns out to be pregnant without even knowing who the father is. Sound familiar? In real life, that would be an awful, nightmarish situation. Comic book heroes are often put through the wringer, but this issue caps it off with Ms. Marvel deciding she would go to another dimension to live with with the man who did this to her. Ouch!
     With today's vocal fandom and female readership, this would be pounced on in a few seconds in the modern day. Even a cover drawing with a female figure that is too sexual can draw the ire of some of the fans and become a media issue. The main forum for reader feedback in 1980 was the Avengers letters page. Issue 203 has reader letters on issue 200, and those selected are all complimentary and even agree with Ms. Marvel's presentation in this issue. As one of those fans who didn't notice the problem here until it was pointed out to me, I am pretty mad at myself in hindsight. Hopefully my youth at the time excuses me, but what about the writers themselves?
     In the years since, some details about the issue have come out, but no one clearly takes credit for the final ending that was selected. Originally, the father of the child was going to be a Kree that was trying to jump-start the evolution of the Kree race with a Kree-Human hybrid. Unfortunately an April, 1980, issue of What If? (1977) had recently come out and ended with a similar Kree-Human merging of the Supreme Intelligence downloading his consciousness into Rick Jones dead body, creating an infant-like apparition. The editors decided this was too similar to what was planned for Avengers, so in a last-minute plotting session, the idea of Marcus was used. None of the writers, 30 years later, are quite sure who was responsible for the idea, but deadlines loomed, and it made it to print. For example, Jim Shooter, who has a plotting credit on the issue, has stated on his blog that he does not even remember how he got that credit, and he agreed that the circumstances depicted in the issue were awful.
     On the flip side, a year later, Avengers Annual 10, written by Chris Claremont, would address the whole problem here and also be one of the better stand-alone Avengers tales throughout the series' run. Avengers 200 and the issues around it are one part of the series that has not been given their own reprint trade paperback, except for the all-inclusive Marvel Masterworks series. And Ms. Marvel herself has long since put this behind her to become an important part of the Avengers tradition and one of Marvel's flagship female characters with her own series and strong fan following. Oh, and Marcus? He was killed off in his next appearance and never used again. 'Nuff said.
     This sequence of issues also introduced the Taskmaster, who would become an important part of the Marvel Universe both as an antagonist and sometimes ally of the U.S. government. During the build-up of the Avengers Initiative story line, they would call on their old enemy Taskmaster to help train new heroes because of his years of experience in teaching newbies combat. I have a soft spot for the character because Taskmaster was one of the few Marvel villains the Ultraverse was given permission to use. In the mini-series Siren, the title character goes to the Marvel universe and has a relationship with Taskmaster over a couple of issues. Taskmaster is not known for appearing without his skull mask, so we had no official reference of what he actually looked like without it. Since this was before the Internet, I had to pull Avengers 196 from my personal collection to get reference, and all we has was the back of his head as a little boy. From that, we extrapolated what he would look like without a mask. Marvel signed off on our representation, but I've never seen him without his mask in an "official" Marvel-616 story, so that may be the only time he was seen that way!

Avengers Vol 1 194

Avengers 194
April, 1980
Written by David Michelinie
Art by George Pérez and Joe Rubenstein
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Ben Sean

Now that the government is not asking him to be a member, Falcon decides to leave the team, and Wonder Man takes his place on the roster. With no looming crisis, the team members split up and enjoy some downtime or ponder their life. Beast discovers that Wonder Man has an acting role on a children's show as a sidekick called Mr. Muscles, leaving Wonder Man embarrassed. A man named Selbe, who is dressed in a hospital gown, makes his way to the Mansion to seek assistance because he believes people are trying to kill him. Wasp empathizes with his plight and believes Selbe, but when orderlies arrive with a court order, the Avengers are obliged to let them take Selbe back to the Solomon Institute. Wasp still wants to investigate, so she slips away to do so herself. Once the Avengers realize Wasp is gone, they prepare to follow her.

Falcon: "So I'm handing in my walking papers. Maybe that'll ease some of the tension I seem to have brought in with me."
Captain America: "I...don't think anyone really noticed, Falcon."
  • Joe Rubenstein is credited by his full name, Josef, in this issue.
  • Despite all his adventures with the team, this is the first issue that Wonder Man becomes a full-time active member.
  • Wonder Man's stage play is written up in the New York Times by a writer named Kerr. This probably refers to Walter Kerr, who wrote reviews for the Times from 1966 to 1983. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1978.
  • Two boys named Kin-Tu and Cary try to huck a snowball at Captain America. He deflects it with his shield without even looking at the incoming missile.
  • Tony Stark enjoys a brown soft drink that begins with the letters "Dr. P..."
  • A carton of milk in the refrigerator is from Sladky's Farms. There is a real Sladky's Farms in Nebraska that began business in 1977, but they grow corn now.
  • Wasp debuts a new blue and white outfit that leaves her entire left leg bare. It's so baffling that I'd normally have to put up a picture of it, but it's already prominent on next issue's cover.
  • Beast plans to watch the film Godzilla Eats a Disco. The Avengers, but without Beast, have fought Godzilla. It's strange to think they still made movies about him in the Marvel Universe.
  • There was a Charlton Comics character also called Mr. Muscles, but he only appeared briefly in 1956. He was created by Superman creator Jerry Siegel, but obviously didn't catch on as well.
  • Some of the "workers" from the Solomon Institute are named Corben, Warren, and Mulhally.
  • When Iron Man stands out in the winter cold, his breath turns to mist outside his helmet, meaning he does have those slits on his helmet open some of the time.
  • This month's issue of What If? (1977) 20 features the story "What if the Avengers had fought the Kree-Skrull War Without Rick Jones?" The Avengers still manage to defeat both races with the reinforcement of other Earth heroes, but at the end, the Kree Supreme Intelligence must merge with the dead body of Rick Jones, becoming a floating, tentacle-headed infant.
Avengers Vol 1 195

Avengers 195
Assault on a Mind Cage!
May, 1980
Written by David Michelinie
Art by George Pérez, Jack Abel, and Dan Green
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Ben Sean

The Avengers are lurking outside the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane while Yellowjacket and the new Ant-Man, Scott Lang, infiltrate the building to find out if Wasp is inside. They notice heavily armed guards and men undergoing combat training in order to become the hired muscle for villains. They also find Wasp under sedation, and they quickly release her. She confirms that she followed Selbe here to see if she could help him, but she was gassed by security and captured. A man who looks like Selbe, but 30 years older, reveals himself to be Dr. Pernell Solomon, who created a clone of himself called Selbe in order to harvest a fresh heart that matches his rare blood type. While he explains himself, ants surround the guards and cause a distraction that lets the heroes escape and make their way to Selbe's cell. Outside, the rest of team sees a high-tech vehicle land on the roof. After Wasp rescues Selbe, she turns around to find that Ant-Man and Yellowjacket have been knocked out by a heavily armed man in a skull mask calling himself Taskmaster.

  • The cover claims Wasp will become a mindless slave unless rescued. There's no such plan mentioned in the issue.
  • Scott Lang, the new Ant-Man, has appeared once before in Avengers as a technician in issue 181. He will later join the team in Avengers (1998) 62. He will be the subject of an Ant-Man feature film in 2015 and will be portrayed by actor Paul Rudd.
  • This is the first appearance of Taskmaster, real name Tony Masters. He will later briefly be one of the Secret Avengers, but since members of Secret Avengers have their memory wiped after their missions, that's probably only going to be known to a select few people.
  • Lang admits he's skipping work to come help. He doesn't know he's mentioning it in front of his boss Tony Stark, who is present as Iron Man.
  • During cold weather and snow, as is present here, ants normally do not come out of their colonies, but apparently Ant-Man is charismatic enough to get them to make an exception for him.
  • Ant-Man shows himself to be a Clint Eastwood fan, by mentioning two of his movies, The Eiger Sanction and Dirty Harry.
  • The recruiters for Taskmaster's school mention that they prefer applicants with lower IQs than normal that follow orders without question.
  • There are photos of clients on the wall of the school that include Doctor Octopus and the Red Skull and possibly Diablo.
  • Jocasta mentions that Ms. Marvel takes one sugar in her coffee.
  • Wasp wears her wedding band on the mission, but it sometimes disappears from her hand and is also sometimes colored as flesh. It's visible on the cover.
  • The name Selbe could be translated from German as "same."
  • Among the trained guards are Rasputin, Maurice, Attila, and Bruce.
  • Taskmaster calls Wasp "shuggy" and "darlin'." I'm guessing the former is a way of saying "sugar," but with an "h" added so it looks like it's pronounced, not "suggy."
    Avengers Vol 1 196
Avengers 196
The Terrible Toll of the Taskmaster
June, 1980
Written by David Michelinie
Art by George Pérez and Jack Abel
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Carl Gafford 

Taskmaster shows off his combat prowess by defeating an entire squad of his men in front of the captured Wasp, Ant-Man, and Yellowjacket and then tells them his origin story, how he discovered at a young age that he could immediately recall and mimic any physical feat he saw. He explains how he created his schools to train hired thugs to the criminal underworld and how lucrative it has been for him. Dr. Solomon is now a liability for growing an unauthorized clone and bringing the Avengers to the Institute, so Taskmaster frightens him into fatal heart attack and announces that Selbe will take over as the new administrator. Ants alert the Avengers outside, who break into the Institute to rescue their allies. The Avengers defeat the senior students, Cyber-Squad X, and Selbe frees the hostages during the melee. Taskmaster decides to retreat, but Jocasta has broken away from the main battle, and she manages to briefly detain him, giving the rest of the heroes a chance to catch up. Taskmaster uses a magnesium flare to blind everyone and still manages to escape in his flying craft.

Taskmaster: "For a while I considered becomin' a super-hero--but then I realized that the big bucks were on the other side o' the law."
  • Taskmaster is bristling with weapons, but notice on the cover above he also has a length of rope tied to his belt. His first memories as a little boy were of copying cowboy rope tricks, and he still carries a similar rope. Aww.
  • Taskmaster tells the captured heroes he grew up with his ability to mimic other people's actions, but later writers change his story so that he was on assignment as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and acquired the ability through a scientifically created serum. He's either lying here or plain forgot.
  • More recent stories on Taskmaster have revealed the burden that his ability puts on his brain. His mind is specifically designed to remember physical movement, but a side-effect is that he consistently loses other personal memories, like who he was married to and if he has any children.
  • Future Avengers Academy member Finesse may be Taskmaster's daughter, but due to his brain's memory loss, he was unable to verify that for her.
  • We find out this issue that the mob boss Hammerhead is another client who hires Taskmaster's trained goons.
  • Future Avengers writer Kurt Busiek has a letter printed in the letters page. He believes that the Avengers Mansion security was portrayed as too harsh on civilians, as seen in issue 192. Writer David Michelinie explains that the security has a high setting for when threats are anticipated and a lower setting for casual use that would scan visitors and let unarmed, nonpowered people approach unmolested, as Selbe did in issue 194.
Incredible Hulk Annual Vol 1 11

    Incredible Hulk Annual 11
    The Day the Earth Turned Green
    October, 1982
    Written by Bill Mantlo
    Art by Rich Buckler and Joe Sinnott
    Lettered by Jim Novak
    Colored by Bob Sharen 

    Bruce Banner has managed to briefly escape from being a hostage, so he plants subconscious messages in his own mind in order to warn the Hulk about a plot being planned by his captor, the Leader. He transforms into the Hulk when confronted and breaks out of the flying craft he was held captive in. A few days later, an epidemic of something called the Green Flu has spread through New York City, causing people to turn green and eventually lapse into comas. Many superheroes are also affected by the illness. The Hulk has been wandering for days with images of water in his head, and he crosses paths with Spider-Man at the Empire State University campus. Spider-Man intuits a connection between Hulk and the Green Flu and tries to get a blood sample. This jogs the Hulk's memory, causing him to remember that a scientist acquaintance of Bruce Banner, Dr. Rikky Keegan, had taken a blood sample from Banner days ago, thinking it was to aid in creating a cure for Banner. Spider-Man begins to feel ill and collapses. News of the Hulk's appearance reaches the Avengers, and although Yellowjacket is also sick, the rest of the team goes to track the Hulk. They find him in Central Park screaming that something is in the water supply. The team's attacks the Hulk, but during the battle, Iron Man, Wasp, and Beast begin to show symptoms of the Green Flu and collapse. Back in the Leader's craft, Dr. Keegan mutates into a creature similar in appearance to the Leader. The Leader reveals his plan, to mutate those who drink the water supply into gamma-powered soldiers for his plans of conquest. The Hulk breaks into the tunnels under Central Park and begins to destroy a machine planted there by the Leader. Seeing this, the Avengers figure this machine is causing the illness and help Hulk to destroy it. The Leader sends dozens of his Humanoid androids to stop them. Back on the Leader's craft, Dr. Keegan displays telekinetic powers, destroys the machinery controlling the Humanoids, and then teleports herself and Leader to the scene of the battle. Leader shoots Dr. Keegan, and an enraged Hulk tackles Leader into raging flood waters and through the tunnels to an unknown fate. Dr. Keegan was only shot with an antidote, not a bullet, so she begins to recover from the Flu, giving the Avengers hope they can cure the illness across the city.

    Captain America: "The Hulk used to be an Avenger himself! Had he remained, what power he would have added to our ranks!"
    Iron Man: "What's that make Thor and me, Cap--chopped liver?"

  • Although this Hulk Annual is from 1982, it is noted that is an older adventure. In 1982, Hulk had Bruce Banner's intellect, so this definitely predates that era. Based on the Avengers membership and Wasp's costume, this adventure happened during the Avengers' 1980 issues.
  • Rikky Keegan gets powers more advanced than those of the Leader. She theorizes that since she was already a genius to begin with, while Leader was before a simple janitor, her gamma-induced powers were that much stronger.
  • This is Rikky Keegan's first and last appearance. She was an old classmate of Bruce Banner, which is why he trusted her enough to give her a blood sample.

  • Avengers Vol 1 197

    Avengers 197
    Prelude of the War-Devil!
    July, 1980
    Written by David Michelinie
    Art by Carmine Infantino, Jack Abel, and others
    Lettered by John Costanza
    Colored by Bob Sharen 

    The Avengers find themselves stuck in a busted elevator in Avengers Mansion, but Iron Man is able to quickly repair it. In Detroit, a Stark International facility completes repairs on the giant Red Ronin robot. Dr. Earl Cowan, who helped in the restoration, decides he wants Red Ronin for himself and assaults a coworker, Dr. Karnowski, in order to steal it. Back at the Mansion, Jocasta discovers she will be nominated for membership and is overjoyed. Scarlet Witch and Ms. Marvel enjoy a stroll on the beach and talk about motherhood versus responsibility, during which Ms. Marvel suddenly collapses. Iron Man decides to give up being chairman, and plans for an election are made to fill that post. In Detroit, Dr. Cowan reveals that he has reworked Red Ronin's mental controls to only respond to his brain. He escapes the facility with Red Ronin and announces his intention to use it to start World War III. At a New Jersey hospital, Ms. Marvel discovers she is three months pregnant.

    Ms. Marvel: "You're a vital person, Wanda, one that half the women in the world would probably kill to be. Surely you find that more "fulfilling" than any silly stereotype of having a baby?"
    Scarlet Witch: "Ms. Marvel, I don't entirely agree with your reasoning--but I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I do agree with your conclusions."

  • The cover shows Ms. Marvel sitting in the broken elevator with the rest of the team, but she is not there for it in the issue.
  • An editorial box says Jack Abel was ill while inking the issue, so unspecified others helped him finish the inking.
  • Wonder Man claims enclosed spaces make him edgy because he was trapped in coffin for so many years.
  • The Red Ronin robot was first seen in Marvel's Godzilla (1977) series, where it was damaged by Godzilla.
  • The Red Ronin robot is listed as 102'4" tall and weighs 23.5 tons.
  • Tony Stark drinks Colombian Excelso coffee. Excelso is close to Stan Lee's catchphrase, Excelsior!
  • Iron Man informs the Fantastic Four of Taskmaster's goon academy and assumes there are more out there.
  • Ant-Man is invited to the Avengers meeting to debrief on the Taskmaster incident. He flies away on an ant called Emma, but almost falls off her when attempting to jump on. He is a rookie.
  • Beast and Wonder Man go on a double date to see the band Herman's Hermits. Wonder Man's date is Candy Brown, and Herman's Hermits had a number one hit called Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter, which Beast and Wonder Man sing a bit of in the next issue. We don't see Candy's daughter, but her son, Chauncey has to come on the date because the baby-sitter canceled. Chauncey recognizes Wonder Man as playing Mr. Muscles, making for an awkward date.
  • Vision watches the program Connections on television. This is a 1978 10-episode BBC documentary covering scientific inventions throughout history and how they are connected. It aired in the United States in 1979.
  • In Fantastic Four (1961) 220 this month, the Avengers contact the Fantastic Four in regards to a brief worldwide blackout. The Fantastic Four investigate it and discover an alien race at the North Pole had been trying to repair their spacecraft and interfered with Earth's electromagnetic field. The Avengers' assistance is not required.
  • Also this month, Barbara Morse first uses the identity of Mockingbird in Marvel Team-Up (1972) 95.
Avengers Vol 1 198

Avengers 198
Better Red Than Ronin!
August, 1980
Written by David Michelinie
Art by George Pérez and Dan Green
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Carl Gafford and Ben Sean

As Beast and Wonder Man are walking home from a night out, they see the gigantic Red Ronin robot in the Hudson River. The Avengers show up in a Quinjet and pick up their two members in order to assemble for battle. They assault Red Ronin but are unable to halt its progress. Beast and Jocasta find a panel in the foot of the robot and enter it. Nick Fury shows up in the Behemoth aircraft to also attack the robot. Wasp and Yellowjacket infiltrate the control center of Red Ronin, where Dr. Cowan tells them how the world is in the grip of an undercurrent of fear. To counteract that, he is going to attack Russia and start World War III, which he believes will somehow unite mankind. He ejects Wasp and Yellowjacket with exhaust fans and continues his plot. Ms. Marvel is now six months pregnant and tells Scarlet Witch that there is no one who could be the father, adding to the mystery. Red Ronin reaches the eastern seaboard and prepares to take off for Russia. Once its foot reaches the water, Iron Man completes an electric circuit using the Behemoth and his own armor, which stuns the robot and cripples the Behemoth. Red Ronin arises again, but this time, Cowan is unconscious, and its controls are set to destroy mindlessly. By a fluke chance, Red Ronin enters the grounds of Cross Technological Enterprises, bringing Hawkeye face-to-face against the towering robot.

Captain America: "Nick, I have a plan--one that might be our last hope. The only drawback is that there's a good chance that none of us will live through it!"
Nick Fury: "Aw, what the heck. There ain't nothin' good on TV tonight, anyway."
  • Red Ronin's name is misspelled on the cover, but the Avengers do have a foe by the name of Ronan who does not appear.
  • Beast is drunk enough after his double date with Wonder Man that he forgets the sun rises in east, not the west. He takes an Alka-Seltzer and gets in the battle anyway.
  • Apparently Jocasta is able to track Mutants with her sensors. The Avengers find Beast by using this ability.
  • A landfill watchman is watching Sanford and Son on television, which features a junk dealer as the main character. The show had ceased airing new episodes in 1977, but it ran in reruns after that.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D.'s flying fortress in this issue is not the famous Helicarrier. It's a smaller craft called the Behemoth, which also featured prominently in Marvel's Godzilla series as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s anti-Godzilla headquarters.
  • Ms. Marvel reveals her secret identity of Carol Danvers to Scarlet Witch. Now that she is six months pregnant, keeping her secret would prove difficult anyhow.
  • Also this month, Wonder Man has his first solo adventure in Marvel Premiere 55. He investigates one of his former New York factories and finds it has been infiltrated by the Maggia just like the Pittsburgh plant. He battles a Dreadnought robot and destroys the plant, but his former employee, Madison Dash, is killed in the adventure. David Michelinie also wrote this issue.
  • Around this time, in Captain America (1968) 250, Captain America is erroneously reported to be running for President of the United States. The Avengers appear in the issue and discuss the possibility with him. Beast and Wasp are all for it. Iron Man thinks the red tape and corruption of the office would be a hindrance. Vision believes that Cap's 1940s values would not be up to the challenges of 1980 problems.
Avengers Vol 1 199

Avengers 199
Last Stand on Long Island!
September, 1980
Written by David Michelinie
Art by George Pérez and Dan Green
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Ben Sean

Faced with Red Ronin, Hawkeye fires a few trick arrows at it, which do nothing to stop it. Wonder Man arrives in a Quinjet, which he jumps out of before ramming it into Red Ronin's face. This turns the robot back into the water but doesn't stop it. Captain America appears next and asks Hawkeye for his assistance, so the three heroes return to the Behemoth. Inside Red Ronin, Beast and Jocasta continue to make their way upward, and Dr. Cowan recovers. The circuitry is too damaged for him to resume control, and he is aghast when Red Ronin attacks the Coast Guard and then a business district. With a new plan, the Avengers attack again, getting Red Ronin to throw its shield. Iron Man connects his armor to the fallen shield and takes control of the laser blade. Vision and Wonder Man wield the blade and cut Red Ronin into pieces, but the top half continues to crawl toward the Long Island Expressway because of its programming to destroy. Finally inside the control center, Beast manages to figure out how to turn off Red Ronin's power by pulling the correct cable, stopping the robot at the last moment. Hawkeye is invited back to the Mansion for the debriefing, and the team find a very pregnant woman, who Scarlet Witch tells them is Ms. Marvel. Donald Blake is there also to examine Ms. Marvel, who goes into labor a few hours later.

Hawkeye: "Looks like I'm going to have to pull your fat out of the fire again, Iron Man."
Iron Man: "Should we check his I.D., Yellowjacket?"
Yellowjacket: "No need. I recognize his ego."
  • This issue sees the price increase to 50 for 18 pages of content.
  • Hawkeye calls Red Ronin's laser blade a "light sabre."
  • Nick Fury claims they are trying to contact Red Ronin's inventors, Takiguchi and Hashioki (sic). Tamara Hashioka and Yuriko Takiguchi created the SJ3RX robot in the Godzilla series. It was named Red Ronin by Yuriko's grandson Robert. Though not seen, Takiguchi eventually gives them the plan that defeats Red Ronin. Beast will much later recruit Dr. Takiguchi as part of the X-Club science team.
  • Red Ronin breaks up the crowd at the grand opening of a Burger Trough restaurant. Its mascot is a cowboy clown named Deputy Dopey,
  • Nick Fury mentions at the end of the adventure that no one was killed in the entire rampage.
  • Scarlet Witch says that Ms. Marvel's entire pregnancy came to term in a bit over two days.
  • The $2,500 contest mentioned on the cover is sponsored by Marvel. They ask readers to write in a short answer to different questions, depending on the respondent's age. The contest was to soften the blow of this month's price increase.
Avengers Vol 1 200

Avengers 200
The Child is Father to...?
October, 1980
Written by David Michelinie, Jim Shooter, George Pérez, and Bob Layton
Art by George Pérez and Dan Green
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Ben Sean

The Avengers wait outside as Ms. Marvel gives birth to a healthy baby boy. Ms. Marvel is traumatized by these events and wants nothing to do with the baby and retreats to her room. The infant ages at an accelerated rate and is soon a toddler. Unknown to the team, various other time periods are starting to intrude upon the modern world around town. The child, who calls himself Marcus, is soon talking and planning to create a complex machine. He also claims he is his own father. Ms. Marvel finally agrees to see the child, but by this time, he has aged to adulthood. The time distortions have reached the Mansion itself, and various threats such as dinosaurs, spacecraft, and time-displaced soldiers are attacking and must be dealt with by the Avengers. Ms. Marvel stays with Marcus, as he claims he needs to finish his machine with great urgency. Hawkeye decides that Marcus' machine is to blame for the time displacements, and he goes back to the lab to destroy it. Marcus stuns Ms. Marvel so he can remove her from the area, but Hawkeye makes good on his plan and shatters the machine. Marcus threatens death to the Avengers, but Ms. Marvel calls his bluff, and Marcus admits that he himself wants to be killed, not harm anyone. He tells his story, how he is the son of the Avengers' foe Immortus. Marcus was born in a special pocket of Limbo where time passed normally so that he could age to adulthood. After his father's disappearance, Marcus found himself trapped in Limbo, unable to enter a normal time stream without causing the kind of time distortions that the Avengers had been encountering. He decided to have himself born again on Earth so he could live there without consequence. He chose the physically superior Ms. Marvel to be his mother and kidnapped her to Limbo for weeks, wooing her and finally implanting his essence into her in a way that resembled pregnancy. He returned her to Earth a second after she left and erased her memories. After his birth, Marcus had built the machine on Earth to end the time distortions, but he cannot complete it in time for it to take effect, so he chooses to return to Limbo. Feeling sorry for him, as well as an attraction to him she does not understand, Ms. Marvel shockingly decides to return to Limbo with him. Thor transports the couple back to Limbo, and time and space return to normal.

Scarlet Witch: "Even under these bizarre circumstances, birth seems so...so natural to them. How incredible it must be to be born, to be small, to grow."
Jocasta: "Even with all their frailties, their weaknesses, I can't help feeling that in this universe, humans are something very special."
Vision: "It is life that is special, Jocasta, in whatever form it takes."

Iron Man: "We've just got to believe that everything worked out for the best."
Hawkeye: "Yeah, I guess you're right. That's all we can do. Believe and hope that Ms. Marvel lives happily ever after."
  • This extra-sized issue was 36 pages for 75 only one month after a regular price increase.
  • This is Bob Layton's only writing credit for Avengers.
  • Ms. Marvel has a painless, unassisted birth, and the baby pretty much comes out by itself. This doesn't make her feel any luckier. She puts on her usual skin-tight costume soon after, showing she is back to her normal body shape almost immediately.
  • Beast uses a Texas Instruments TI-59 calculator to figure out his pool shot. This was a scientific calculator released in 1977 and could even store data externally using a built-in magnetic card reader.
  • When Hawkeye loses at pool, he says he's been sharked. Beast says his nickname is the "Peter Benchley of 42nd Street." Jaws 2 was the most recent Jaws film at the time, released in 1978, Marvel Comics published a comic book adaptation of Jaws 2 in 1978 as well.
  • While fighting American Indians, Beast sings "Tiny arrows in the air." Since this doesn't match a known song lyric, I assume he's parodying Tiny Bubbles by Don Ho.
  • A caller to the Mansion claims he was robbed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Sundance Kid was played by Robert Redford, one of the stars of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier film.
  • Jarvis gets in on the action a bit and slugs what seems to be a French musketeer-type. The swordsman is looking for Rochefort and talking about Richelieu's spies, both characters from The Three Musketeers, although Cardinal Richelieu is an actual historical figure.
  • Hawkeye knocks out someone he calls "barbarian," and the sound effect shown is "Brak." Brak the Barbarian is a novel by John Jakes that was published in 1968 and had already had two sequels by the time this issue was printed.
  • Immortus disappeared in Avengers 143 when his past self, Kang, was killed.
  • Marcus claims that Limbo has seven levels.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Update for 9/16/14

A recent poll listed several Avengers stories I've covered as being among the top 75 Marvel comics published, so I added that information plus a few other facts I've picked up recently.

For Avengers 1

Updated to include that Michael Douglas was the only actor playing a comic book Avenger character in the cinematic Marvel Universe to be alive when the first issue came out. He was only 19 years old, but his first starring role, Hail, Hero would be released in October, one month after this comic book. Also, this was voted on by fans as the 12th best Marvel comic printed in the first 75 years of Marvel's publication history.

For Avengers 2
  • After this issue, Bruce Banner, Don Blake, Giant-Man, and Wasp appear in Tales of Suspense (1959) 49 when the X-Men try to contact the Avengers for help. They are all busy, so Iron Man deals with one of the X-Men's members, Angel, who is temporarily out of his mind.
For Avengers 4

  • This issue was voted by fans as the 69th best Marvel comic from the first 75 years of Marvel's publication.

For Avengers 57
  • This issue was voted by fans as the 50th best Marvel comic from the first 75 years of Marvel's publication.
For Avengers 63
  • Actor Paul Rudd, who will portray the Scott Lang Ant-Man in the Ant-Man film, was born in this month.
For Avengers 89-97 section

           These issues were collectively voted on by fans as the 38th best Marvel comic from the first 75 years of Marvel's publication history.

For Avengers 167-168, 170-172 section

Indicated that the Korvac Saga was voted the 47th best Marvel comic in the first 75 years of publishing. Also updated some tenses since this was originally written before the Guardians of the Galaxy film.

For Avengers 181 section

Added Scott Lang to the Featured Allies section since he will be a member in the future.

For Avengers 187
  • This month featured the debut of the Spider-Woman animated series. It would only air until January of 1980 for 16 episodes. This is still the only female Marvel character to have her own cartoon.
  • This month an Avenger novel was published, titled The Avengers: The Man Who Stole Tomorrow. It was written by David Michelinie and dealt with the Avengers fighting Kang. Prose novels of Marvel characters are usually not considered part of the main continuity, however.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Avengers 188-193 (including Avengers Annual 9)

Writer potpourri.
Gyrich gets no joy in court.
Uru not lucky.

Government approved team:
Beast; Henry "Hank" McCoy
Captain America; Steve Rogers
Falcon; Sam Wilson
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Ms. Marvel; Carol Danvers
Wasp; Janet Van Dyne

Featured Allies:
Crystal; Crystalia Amaquelin
Daredevil; Matt Murdock
Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Quicksilver; Pietro Maximoff
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff
Thor; Donald Blake
Wonder Man;  Simon Williams
Yellowjacket; Henry "Hank" Pym

     This sequence of issues featured a host of different writers collaborating on the Avengers' adventures during these few months. Bill Mantlo checked in for the first two issues, and Steven Grant and Mark Gruenwald joined David Michelinie and editor Roger Stern for the next few. Short adventures were the rule for these months, with some subplots wrapped up and continued tension caused by Gyrich's micromanagement of the team.
     We found the Avengers back in court trying to prove that they should have more autonomy from Gyrich, who only put up a token defense before a menace from space interrupted the proceedings. Things were simpler then, without the different complications that government relationships have in today's Marvel Universe after Mutant Registration Acts and later the mandatory registration of all heroes during Marvel's Civil War event. Gyrich was a starched loudmouth versus the vivacious and upright heroes of the series, so the outcome was never in doubt. No gray areas here. Even the "threat from space," one lone antagonist, seems quaint versus today's all-out invasions.
Avengers Vol 1 188
 Avengers 188
Elementary, Dear Avengers
October, 1979
Written by Bill Mantlo and Jim Shooter
Art by John Byrne, Dan Green, and Frank Springer
Lettered by Gaspar Saladino
Colored by Bob Sharen

Captain America, Beast, Ms. Marvel, Falcon, Wonder Man, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver fly from Transia to Attilan to drop off Quicksilver. Quicksilver discovers he is going to be a father, and the heroes celebrate with the Inhumans. While planning their course home from the Himalayas, they encounter Soviet fighter planes. One of the planes is destroyed in midair, and the Russian radio chatter alerts the Avengers to a disturbance. Beast insists that the Avengers help, even though other team members are reluctant to do so. They land the Quinjet at a nuclear-powered military installation that is the source of the problem. A Russian Colonel allows the Avengers to help just before the Soviet troops are all incapacitated by a blast from inside the complex. The Avengers defeat the metallic Vanadium quickly, but they are forced to retreat when they encounter more of the elemental creatures inside. Falcon notices the Wasp is missing, and he goes back into the complex to find her, only to be captured himself. Outside, the Russian Colonel is missing, and the troops now seek to impede the Avengers, but they fail. Wasp makes her way outside and tells the team how the elemental beings are created by transforming humans into elemental creatures. Falcon is about to be similarly transformed when Ms. Marvel arrives on the scene with a Soviet laser cannon. In the battle, the nuclear core is damaged, and the Elements are left to be destroyed while the Avengers make their escape from both the Elements and the Russian soldiers.

Beast: "There's no 'American' before Avengers in our name, Simon! When we save the world, do we stop to think that we might be saving it for the Soviets, too?"

Captain America: "They'd have preferred destruction to disruption of their national security!" Hmm! I can think of someone else that would apply to!"
Ms. Marvel: "So can I--But I won't mention Gyrich's name in case he's got the Quinjet bugged!"
  • Jim Shooter not only helped with plotting the issue, but he is also credited as the guest editor. Although the stand-alone issue does have some of the flavor of an inventory story, it directly ties into the previous issue and specifically fits here in the continuity.
  • The Avengers open the story with a working Quinjet flying away from Transia. I guess the crash last issue was not too bad after all.
  • Though they have their faces on the cover, Iron Man does not appear in the issue, and Vision only appears in one panel over the radio.
  • The Inhumans city of Attilan has been repaired since its last appearance in issue 161, where it looked to be completely destroyed. No one mentions it, but it was rebuilt under the direction of the Inhuman Thraxon, as told in Fantastic Four (1963) Annual 12. Thraxon was a rival of the Inhuman Royal Family who rebuilt the city against their wishes and imprisoned them briefly, but at least he rebuilt the city.
  • It's mentioned that Medusa is currently missing. She is currently a prisoner of evil scientists called the Enclave, who will first appear in this series in Avengers Annual 12.
  • Wasp says that Attilan reminds her of the last World's Fair. The last Expo had been in Spokane, Washington, in 1974. Its motto was "Progress without Pollution." The residents of Attilan, the Inhumans, are very sensitive to human pollution and are in fact later driven off the planet by it.
  • Quicksilver's discovery that he is expecting a child in this issue stirs the Scarlet Witch to consider her own future as a parent.
  • Beast peruses the Darkhold on the Quinjet. Scarlet Witch vehemently tells him it's a bad idea. The hole he lanced in the book last issue is conspicuously missing. Magic!
  • Beast says Chthon is "no Mario Puzo" from what he reads in the Darkhold. Puzo is best known for his Godfather novel and films, but before them, he worked on men's magazines published by Martin Goodman, who also was the publisher of Timely and Atlas Comics, the forerunners of Marvel Comics.
  • Wasp says the Soviets are touchy since Gary Powers was shot down. Francis Gary Powers was shot down and captured by Russia in 1960 while piloting a U-2 spy plane. He came back to the United States in a prisoner exchange in 1962.
  • Beast speaks and understands Russian, and Ms. Marvel claims she does not.
  • The Russian Colonel allows the Avengers to aid them because Captain America had fought alongside the Russians in World War II.
  • Many of the Elements of Doom do not have mouths. They seem to communicate telepathically, so Beast does not have to translate from Russian for them.
  • The Elements that appear in this issue are Vanadium, Phosphorus, Carbon, Radium, Chlorine, and Cobalt. Future appearances have many more members of the team.
  • The closing narration says that the Soviets did not admit publicly any of the events of the issue except for the closing of the nuclear power plant. Falcon does talk about this adventure in an interview with Jet Magazine, however.
  • In 1993, an Avenger's Collector's Edition was published with a story that contains the Elements of Doom as villains. It was a promotional comic book only available after redeeming selected candy wrappers.
  • Thunderbolts (1997) 7 reveals that the Elements' experiment was created by Dr. Vasily Khandruvitch to embue humans with elemental abilities. He does not appear in this Avengers story, but he mentions that after his failed experiment, he was reassigned to menial work. He later tries again in the United States, but this time the Elements are created from scratch from inert materials.
  • Also this month, in Iron Man (1968) 127, Jarvis resigns from his position as the Avengers' butler after a run-in with a drunk Tony Stark. He is reinstated soon thereafter in issue 128 once Stark begins his sobriety. 
Avengers Annual Vol 1 9
Avengers Annual 9
..Today the Avengers Die!
October, 1979
Written by Bill Mantlo
Art by Don Newton, Jack Abel, and Joe Rubenstein
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Carl Gafford

Iron Man convenes a special meeting to specifically investigate the previous appearance of the Arsenal robot in the basement of Avengers Mansion. He invites several temporary members to fill out the roster. Hawkeye is still in a bad mood and stalks off to the gym. Beast attempts to ambush Hawkeye to prove how easy it is to be on edge when your enemy is unknown. Yellowjacket also stays unseen nearby, and the three heroes come across a large hole blasted through the wall. It leads into a large cavern that no one suspected was there, so they investigate and are attacked by Arsenal. Yellowjacket flies away to alert the rest of the team, but a computer presence called Mistress, which is controlling Arsenal, detects Yellowjacket and blasts him with an electro-burst. The rest of the team are being briefed by a Dr. Singer, who outlines the program called Project Tomorrow created in 1944. It was a back-up plan if the Axis powers were to win the war. Howard Stark advised against its use in peacetime, so the project was shut down after the war, but not until the computer intelligence that ran the robot was invested with a female personality. Yellowjacket manages to get to the rest of the team and tell them what happened, so they go down into the caverns after their comrades. Hawkeye and Beast are restrained and prepared to have their brains drained of information so that Mistress, unsure of the situation outside the lab, can figure out how to combat the Axis powers she thinks are in control worldwide. Vision is the first to get the lab, but a photoelectric force fence causes him extreme pain, and he flies off into the sky. Scarlet Witch hears his scream and rushes forward ahead of the team, but she is gassed by Arsenal after her hex causes a large chasm in the floor. Wonder Man is knocked unconscious and falls into the chasm, so Thor follows him. Wonder Man falls into an underground river and is rushed away by the current. Iron Man recognizes the voice of Mistress while he rescues Beast and Hawkeye. It's that of his late mother, Maria Stark. While the Avengers regroup and defeat Arsenal, Iron Man removes his helmet and tells Mistress that it was never meant to be reawakened and that it has no purpose in a world where the Allies won the war. It finally believes his words and begins to erase itself when it does not wish to exist any longer.

Iron Man:  "I'm still surprised that you let us juggle our regular roster for this job, Gyrich!"
Henry Gyrich: "How could the Security Council refuse the lone request, to be submitted, with all the proper paperwork? I'm not against change, per se, Iron Man...just lack of procedure!"
  • The hero roster is again helpfully provided on the cover, but Yellowjacket is left off.
  • This is Don Newton's first Avengers work. He will only work on one other issue. He more commonly worked for Charlton and DC Comics. Newton was enticed to work on the book when it was promised that Joe Rubenstein would be his inker. On Newton's two issues, Rubenstein only worked on one of them. Both issues were combined to form this Annual.
  • It took almost a year for the mystery of Arsenal to return. It was last featured in Iron Man 114 in September of 1978.
  • Iron Man must have cleared his name of murder to return to the team, but no mention is made of it. It happened in Iron Man 127.
  • Wasp is claimed to be out of town, as is Ms. Marvel. Lucky that the other non-Avengers were around to pick up the slack as "temporary Avengers" when Iron Man decides to investigate Arsenal.
  • Speaking of absent Avengers, it's mentioned that Falcon is investigating a murder at an embassy. In Marvel Premiere 49, Falcon is making an appearance at the Bodavian embassy as an alternate for Captain America when a villain called the Silencer shoots a writer, Sigjid Roskoff. Falcon eventually does capture the Silencer, though it takes him two days. Captain America manages to appear in that story as well out on a jog. This Arsenal adventure takes place during those two days.
  • A parallel is made between Arsenal and the Nazi Sleeper robots. Such robots, programmed to arise in the future if the Nazis should be defeated, have appeared before in Captain America stories.
  • Hawkeye says that the hidden lab is bigger than Battlestar Galactica. Marvel had the license for that television show and had started printing a comic book series by that name in March of 1979. It lasted 23 issues, up to 1981.
  • Arsenal calls its tranquilizing gas "Morpheus-gas." In Avengers 38, SHIELD uses a similar gas called Morpheus Mist. Howard Stark likely developed both substances.
  • Iron Man claims he doesn't want to see his mother die a second time. Maria Stark died in a car accident Tony was not present for, so he's not saying he literally saw her die.
  • The code name Arsenal will later be used by two Moon Knight villains, but they are unrelated to this robot. DC Comics also uses the name for several of their characters.
  • This Arsenal unit is reactivated again in Incredible Hulk (1962) 282 in 1983. We later find out it is the beta Arsenal unit. The original alpha unit is still hiding under the mansion and is dealt with in Iron Man (1998) 85.
Avengers Vol 1 189
Avengers 189
Wings and Arrows!
November, 1979
Written by Steven Grant, Mark Gruenwald, and Roger Stern
Art by John Byrne and Dan Green
Lettered by Jim Novak
Colored by Ben Sean

The temporary Avengers needed to battle Arsenal take their leave from the Mansion, and Falcon returns from his solo mission. Henry Gyrich is pleased things are back to normal, but his mood is soured when Scarlet Witch wants to extend her leave even longer. Hawkeye manages to land a position as Security Chief at Cross Technological Enterprises by breaking into the company to audition for the job. There have been a string of robberies at the company, and Hawkeye discovers they have been the work of Deathbird, an alien who needs advanced equipment to rebuild her spaceship. Deathbird has a physical advantage in their battle, but Hawkeye uses skill and cunning to capture her. He even taunts her with a kiss as his security team takes her away. A perturbed Gyrich goes to Avengers Mansion to try and force the Scarlet Witch to remain on the roster and then threatens to disband the team.

Iron Man: "Is Hawkeye still angry that the government chose to replace him on our roster? He knows we didn't have a say in that?"
Yellowjacket: "Oh, Hawkeye's never happy unless he can complain about something."

Henry Gyrich: "As far as I'm concerned, this is the end of the Avengers!"
Beast: "Again? But that trick never works!"
  • This is colorist Ben Sean's first issue of Avengers.
  • Although Ms. Marvel and Wasp are featured in the corner logo, they do not appear in this issue.
  • Thor's brief time with the team is ended when he leaves to go deal with the Celestials, huge god-like beings from outer space, in his own series.
  • Yellowjacket borrows a Quinjet to go pick up Wasp in Las Vegas. Wasp had already taken a Quinjet in Defenders (1972) 76 to help the Defenders out when they found themselves without their own transportation. Her Quinjet's designation is partially covered by a word balloon, but it looks to be A3701, the one that was last used in Transia and Russia.
  • Wonder Man shares that he got a role in an off-Broadway play.
  • Among the items in Hawkeye's apartment is a picture of Falcon set up as a dartboard and a photo of the Scarlet Witch pinned up over Hawkeye's bed.
  • Hawkeye is brought into Cross Technological Enterprises by interviewing with Mr. Keeshan.
  • Deathbird was previously a villain the Ms. Marvel (1977) series. She was last seen in issue 22 of that series looking for machinery at a Stark facility to rebuild her spaceship, the same goal she has here.
  • The reprint series Marvel Super-Action (1977) began reprinting old Avengers issues starting this month in issue 15. The first story reprinted was Avengers 55.
Avengers Vol 1 190

Avengers 190
Heart of Stone
December, 1979
Written by Steven Grant and Roger Stern
Art by John Byrne and Dan Green
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Ben Sean

An object from space lands near Brooklyn, gets up, and walks toward Manhattan. Later that morning, the Avengers are attending a hearing at the Federal Courthouse in order to combat Henry Gyrich's continued intrusion into their affairs. The Avengers' legal team, which includes  Matthew Murdock, delivers a statement about the past achievements of the heroes and how they've helped the U.S. government amply in return for their special privileges. Gyrich brings out a witness to prove the Avengers are menaces and begins his case, but an emergency call is routed to Iron Man regarding the rampaging figure that fell to Earth. Gyrich asserts it's a trick to curry favor with the panel, but he grudgingly lets the Avengers leave to deal with the menace. Matt Murdock leaves the hearing and changes into his Daredevil identity to pitch in with the Avengers. They engage the creature on the street, and though it proves durable, it is seemingly shattered by a combined blow from Vision and Iron Man. As Daredevil and Iron Man look through the wreckage, they are turned into stone, and the supervillain Grey Gargoyle rises from the rubble and advances on the rest of the team.
Daredevil, thinking: "He seems to seriously think that the Avengers are dangerous--just because they don't play by his rules! That sort of thinking could be applied to super-heroes in general--and that's something I wouldn't like to see."
  • The opening page has a side column that features the Avengers roster in the issue. They are the same heads as in the cover's corner box, but Scarlet Witch is also included inside.
  • Reporter Charles P. Irwin is covering the trial. He has appeared before in an issue of Incredible Hulk (1962) Annual and will also appear in a Captain America issue, but doesn't see much use after 1980.
  • Irwin mentions this is the same courthouse the Avengers appeared at in issue 93.
  • The Avengers field an all-star team of legal defenders. Jeryn Hogarth is also the lawyer for the Heroes for Hire in Power Man and Iron Fist (1978). Emerson Bale was attorney to the Los Angeles heroes the Champions in their series. Matt Murdock is of course Daredevil, who will one day join the Avengers.
  • The Senators who are presiding at the hearing are named Fleckner, Reischel, and Roosevelt.
  • Gyrich's witness, Lt. Dwight Stanford, is the same SHIELD agent who chewed out Captain America in Captain America (1968) 231 and led to Cap's temporary split with SHIELD.
  • Beast figures that Gyrich kicked Hawkeye off the team because Hawkeye tied Gyrich up thinking he was an intruder in Avengers 172. This isn't confirmed, though.
  • Daredevil musings about Gyrich's hard-line rules being applied to all superheroes presages some of the issues during the Marvel Civil War event in 2006.
  • Before joining the battle, Daredevil thinks to himself that the crowd of heroes is difficult for his radar sense to deal with. This is restating one reason he turned down Avengers membership back in Avengers 111.
  • When using his legs to throw Grey Gargoyle, Beast says, "Feets don't fail me now." Although used by several actors over the years, it was sometimes used by Stepin Fetchit, who Falcon angrily imitated a few months earlier. Falcon doesn't react to Beast's use of it.
  • Grey Gargoyle was last seen in space in Thor (1966) 259, but without his coating of debris. Next issue, he explains that he coated himself in debris and cosmic particles in order to protect himself on the space journey home.
Avengers Vol 1 191

Avengers 191
Heart of Stone
January, 1980
Written by David Michelinie
Art by John Byrne and Dan Green
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Bob Sharen

Grey Gargoyle dominates the battle with the rest of the Avengers, taking all of them out of the fight one by one. Instead of finishing them off, he leaves them there dazed and vaults away into the city. The Avengers recover and discover that only Iron Man's armor is stone. He is trapped inside it unable to move it in that state, so he orders the Avengers to trail Grey Gargoyle and leave him there. A head count reveals that Falcon is missing, and we see that he is already trailing Grey Gargoyle at a distance. The destination Grey Gargoyle's old apartment, which is being rented by a new tenant, Margot Neil. He tells her he is seeking chemicals he hid in a secret compartment in the apartment, but he finds they had been thrown by Margot, who didn't know what they were. He moves to attack her, forcing Falcon to intervene. Falcon fights on though he feels overmatched. Redwing tries to assist him, but Redwing is turned to stone. The rest of the Avengers are drawn by police dispatch reports to the apartment and arrive just in time. Ready for the fight and using teamwork, they quickly defeat Grey Gargoyle. Back at the hearing, the committee finds that the Avengers' primary concern is truly public safety, and they order all their privileges returned.
Beast: "First the Absorbing Man trashes Ms. Marvel, and now you deck the Scarlet Witch! Don't you bad guys have any sense of chivalry at all?"
Grey Gargoyle: "Not really."
Margot Neil: "When muggers start dressing up like pet rocks and crashing in through twelfth floor windows, I'm moving to Montana!"
  • Grey Gargoyle's power to turn objects to stone only resides in his right hand, and it works through his glove. His stony exterior and the durability it gives him is only a side-effect of him touching himself with that hand.
  • Grey Gargoyle, aka Paul Duval, is a French citizen. He does not sound like he has a French accent, but he does say, "Mon dieu!" right before getting knocked out.
  • Redwing was left behind at Avengers Mansion indoors while the Avengers went to court. He is only able to leave because Jarvis sees Redwing is distressed and opens a window for him.
  • Margot quips, to show doubt, "and Rosie (sic) Greer sings soprano." Roosevelt "Rosey" Greer is better known for playing football and acting in tough-guy roles, but he did release albums as a singer. I'd classify him closer to a baritone, maybe a tenor, though.
  • Beast likens his punch to Rocky Balboa, the hero of the Rocky films. Rocky II had just come out in May of 1979, a few months before this issue. Plus the word "rocky" is also related to stones, like those created by the Grey Gargoyle.
  • Coincidentally, in an issue where the villain's power is to turn things to stone, a letter writer's last name is Stone.
Avengers Vol 1 192
Avengers 192
Heart of Stone
February, 1980
Written by David Michelinie
Art by Arvell Jones and Ricardo Villamonte
Lettered by Diana Albers
Colored by Ben Sean
Tony Stark and Wonder Man are touring a steel foundry in Pittsburgh. Stark is interested in purchasing the operation, which Wonder Man used to own before his old legal troubles. Steelworker Joe Conroy, who happens to have a piece of Asgardian uru metal on his key chain as a good-luck charm, approaches to get Wonder Man's autograph. On the way, Conroy is ambushed and pushed off a catwalk into molten metal, which begins to overflow. Wonder Man grabs Stark's briefcase to hurl it at a control panel, not realizing that Iron Man's armor is inside. Wonder Man manages to stop overflowing molten metal, but he then gets stuck inside a hydraulic press after saving a trapped worker. Tony Stark comes to the rescue without his armor, and the crisis ends with Conroy the only casualty. Since Conroy's remains are not salvageable, a memorial is created from the steel he died in after it cools. As Stark's negotiations continue nearby, the memorial explodes, and a molten humanoid breaks out. Wonder Man and Iron Man confront the creature, but are unable to stop it. Back at the Mansion, Wonder Man's distress signal is received, but then abruptly stops.
Steelworker: "My foot! Can't get it loose! H-Help me!"
Second steelworker: "Hep yo' seff, suckuh!"
Captain America: "But what could possibly be in Pittsburgh that could threaten Wonder Man?"
  • Jim Salicrup becomes the editor with this issue. Roger Stern is still credited as editor on the letters page, though.
  • This is Arvell Jones only issue of Avengers. He did a variety of books for Marvel and had an extended run on DC's All-Star Squadron and later did art for Milestone Media in 1993 and 1994.
  • Michelinie provided reference of equipment that would appear in the steel mill, but it was lost. Several Marvel staff artists had to update some of the art later on once proper reference was found.
  • The steel mill was featured in Journey Into Mystery 120 in 1965. Thor repaired Mjolnir here after it was damaged. Conroy's chip of uru comes from that event.
  • Wonder Man thinks the molten metal reminds him of a Max Fleisher cartoon he has seen. He is likely referring to the Superman cartoons produced in 1941 and 1942, possibly the episode titled "The Mechanical Monsters."
  • One of the Avengers' neighbors, Sid Bloat, comes to the Mansion to have them investigate a noise complaint. They don't help him.
  • A few other Marvel characters use the code name Inferno. The Avengers will fight another one, Samantha McGee, but not until Avengers (1998) 34 in 2000. Despite the same code name, they are not related in any other way.
  • Back at the Mansion, attempts are made to reach out to former Avengers members and bring them back. Hawkeye can't be contacted since he moved out of his old apartment, and Henry Pym decides to stick with research for the moment.
  • The letters page is an essay about the research done to complete the Wundagore story from Avengers 185 to 187. It lists many of the past appearances of the story points in the tale and also sort of reveals Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver's father. The hint is M*gn*t*. It also backs up the implication that their mother Magda died in the mountains.
  • This month features the debut of Savage She-Hulk (1980) 1. It introduces Bruce Banner's cousin, Jennifer Walters, who gets an emergency transfusion of Banner's blood and begins transforming into the She-Hulk. She will later join the Avengers.
Avengers Vol 1 193

Avengers 193
Battleground: Pittsburgh!
March, 1980
Written by David Michelinie
Art by Sal Buscema and Dan Green
Lettered by Joe Rosen
Colored by Bob Sharen

Iron Man and Wonder Man are unable to stop the Inferno creature's advance and both are sidetracked by helping civilians. Inferno, remembering how he died and was reborn, stalks his murderer, Tim Turpin, to a river. Turpin is cornered on a barge and is fatally injured when he falls between the barge and a bridge support. Inferno also goes after the steel mill's manager, Vince Paretta, who ordered the execution. Paretta manages to drive away, but Inferno's rampage has caused traffic to jam. The rest of the Avengers arrive in Pittsburgh and are alerted to Inferno's whereabouts. The whole team reunite to battle the creature and are again unable to stop him. Inferno distracts the team with more property damage and endangered civilians, and he gets to Paretta's home. Paretta is there packing for a getaway when Inferno bursts in. Seeing his own imminent death, Paretta begins to confess to his crimes. The Avengers get there in time to hear the confession and get between him and Inferno. Knowing that Paretta will now be punished, Inferno turns silently away and walks into the river, snuffing himself out.
Man: "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird!"
Woman: "It's a plane!"
Boy: "What're you, high or somethin'? That's...an Avengers Quinjet!"

Wasp, thinking: "I'd better make this a quick pass. The heat is simply ruining my eye shadow!"
  • Bob Budiansky is credited as assistant editor starting with this issue.
  • The "Pittsburgh Comix Club" is credited with a plot assist for their input on Pittsburgh locations that feature in the story. Jim Shooter is also from Pittsburgh and suggested the story in the first place. Artist Frank Miller went to Pittsburgh for a weekend and drew reference for the Pittsburgh landmarks that he later incorporated into Sal Buscema's art. 
  • An onlooker jokes that Inferno is the chief contender for the Donny and Marie Sweetness Award of 1980. That's not a real award. The Donny & Marie Show had ended in January of 1979, but the legacy of Donny and Marie Osmond's clean-cut image continues to this day.
  • Another onlooker says to call the Seabees during Inferno's rampage. The Seabees are the United States Navy's Construction Battalion (C.B.= Seabee) which handles construction and engineering projects. The fictional Marvel construction company Damage Control, which is usually called on to rebuild supervillain damage, isn't around yet.
  • Although Inferno is a creature of heat, he also utilizes electrical attacks and can absorb the power from Iron Man's armor. Why? Uru is a wonderous metal. That's why.
  • Beast catches a stunned wasp and says he's giving her "A big hand for the little lady." He's referring to the 1966 Western, A Big Hand For the Little Lady, which featured high-stakes poker.
  • A motorist is worried about missing the Pittsburgh Steelers kickoff, meaning it's most likely a Sunday.
  • Beast says the burning car "is hotter than Studio 54 on a Saturday night." Studio 54 was a famous nightclub in New York that opened in 1977 and was known for its celebrity guests. The owners would sell it in 1981, but it would remain a nightclub until 1991.
  • The steel mill is revealed as a front for the Maggia, the same Mafia-like organization headed by Count Nefaria in the past. Wonder Man doesn't mention this or warn Tony Stark, so it's possible it wasn't the case when he owned it. However, later revelations of Wonder Man's history do show that he had been investing his company's money in illegal Maggia operations in order to save the company from bankruptcy. The Maggia probably moved in on his company's holdings while Wonder Man was thought dead.
  • Joe Conroy left behind a widow, Darleen, and a daughter, Annie. He doesn't visit them as Inferno. He's only interested in vengeance.
  • Inferno will make a return appearance as a member of a future Legion of the Unliving in Avengers (1963) 353 and 354.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Avengers 181-187: Nights of Wundagore

Red tape, blue archer.
Absorbing Man's salty end.
Chthon awakens.
Government approved team:
Beast; Henry "Hank" McCoy
Captain America; Steve Rogers
Falcon; Sam Wilson
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Ms. Marvel; Carol Danvers
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff
Wasp; Janet Van Dyne
Outgoing members (out in 181):
Thor; Donald Blake
Yellowjacket; Henry "Hank" Pym

Featured Allies:
Ant-Man II; Scott Lang
Black Panther; T'Challa
Black Knight (statue only)
Black Widow; Natasha Romanoff
Captain Marvel; Mar-Vell
Doctor Strange; Stephen Strange
Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Hercules; Heracles
Moondragon; Heather Douglas
Nikki; Nicholette Gold
Quicksilver; Pietro Maximoff
Starhawk; Stakar/Aleta Ogord
Wonder Man; Simon Williams
Yondu; Yondu Udonta    

     After facing tyrants and conquerors, the Avengers are affected the most by government intervention from the United States in the form of continuing foil Henry Gyrich. Writer David Michelinie takes over the reins and cleans house a bit after the roster of characters built up in the Korvac Saga, paring the membership to an official roster of seven. He also brings in a bit of social commentary by requiring the team to have one of its members be black to fill a racial quota. Their first choice, Black Panther, is busy with his own affairs, so Gyrich submits that they must hire the Falcon, or there will be no government clearances or sponsorships for the team. He does this without even consulting Falcon, who doesn't have that much interest in joining in the first place. This cements Gyrich as someone who worships at the altar of rules and protocol above helping the Avengers do what they are meant to do. Although gender was also part of the affirmative action trend that had begun in the sixties, the Avengers had almost always had a female member, so Gyrich didn't hammer on this point, but I'm sure he would have.
     A new story line begins with the arrival of Django Maximoff from Vladivostok. He had been seen on his journey before, but upon arriving in New York, he steals the souls of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, claiming they are his lost children. Despite questionable actions and all three characters' fuzzy memories, the twins take pity on the old man and agree to accompany him back to their homeland of Transia to find the truth of what he says. This leaves a hole on the new roster almost immediately, which is soon filled by Ms. Marvel.
     Ms. Marvel and Falcon's first battle involves the Absorbing Man in a classic heroes-vs.-villain brawl. What stands out to me now is the minor character of Sandy Herkowitz, who Absorbing Man grabs during a robbery in order to take her out of the country with him. He had never met her before, but he just picks her because he figures he'll be lonely on the long boat ride he plans on taking to escape the country. Although nothing is explicitly stated, the implication that he's taking her along as some kind of love slave is a bit disturbing. Even more odd, at the end of the story, Sandy herself says that maybe Absorbing Man wasn't so bad, because he showed some small measure of kindness and protectiveness to her while kidnapping her. Sandy is never seen again, so she doesn't have other behavior to balance this against, but this portrait of a woman who puts up with a horrible man just because he has a bit of a crush on her is foreshadowing to how Ms. Marvel is going to be seriously shafted in the next couple of years.
     Writer Michelinie had said in later years that he had planned for more drama caused by Falcon's mandatory placement on the team, but after a couple of issues, Michelinie is only scripter, and Mark Gruenwald and Steven Grant begin to plot the stories. When Michelinie finally gets back into sole custody of the writer's chair, he figured that it was too late to introduce friction between Falcon and the rest of the team now that some time had passed and the issue had not already come up, so this plot point was not mined as fully as it could have been.
     Included in the adventure of the Scarlet Witch being possessed by demonic entity Chthon is the long history of an evil mystical book called the Darkhold. Plotter Gruenwald had been an assistant editor at Marvel since 1978, and he and co-plotter Steven Grant tried to weave the various former appearances of the Darkhold together into a cohesive story that culminated in Chthon's awakening. The Darkhold had been used for various purposes as an all-purpose evil book, much like the similar Necronomicon from H.P. Lovecraft's tales is uses as shorthand for an evil book in a variety of fictional settings. Gruenwald would later head up putting together the Official Handbook of the the Marvel Universe and oversee other story lines that weaved various older stories together so they made sense when looked at together.    
Avengers Vol 1 181
Avengers 181
On the Matter of Heroes!
March, 1979
Written by David Michelinie
Art by John Byrne and Gene Day
Lettered by Elaine Heinl
Colored by Francoise Mouly

When Beast and Wonder Man return from watching a film, they are attacked by the security system at Avengers Mansion. They easily break through and find that new protocols are being put in place at the request of Henry Gyrich. The Avengers will get back their priority status, but first they must pare down their membership, and Gyrich reveals the new roster will be Iron Man, Vision, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Beast, Wasp, and Falcon. The last one comes a surprise since he has never been on the team before, but Gyrich says it is to meet federal guidelines in the hiring of minorities. There is some dissension on this point, but Captain America vouches for his longtime partner Falcon. While giving his opinion, Quicksilver suddenly collapses. Donald Blake monitors Quicksilver's health as the heroes that were not selected leave the Mansion. Scarlet Witch is the next to collapse, and Dr. Blake finds her condition to be the same as Quicksilver, with both in a state somewhere between life and death. In a shabby rented apartment nearby, we see that the little old man who has traveled to New York from Vladivostok is in possession of two living marionettes in the images of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.
Iron Man, thinking:  "It's almost getting easier to break through brick walls than red tape!"
Iron Man: "Just who the hell do you think you are?"
Henry Peter Gyrich: "I'm the government, mister. Any more questions? Good."
Hawkeye: "The...what?! B-But why him--and not me? That bozo's only powers are flying and rapping with birds! He's not even an Avenger!"
  • This is inker Gene Day's first issue. He is a Canadian artist, as is John Byrne.
  • This is Francoise Mouly's only Avengers issue as colorist. She created and co-edited the comic anthology Raw from 1980 to 1991 with her husband Art Spiegelman. The anthology featured episodes that were collected into the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Maus.
  • Beast and Wonder Man watch the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood. The movie poster lists two actors, Errol Flynn and Kurt Wagner. Kurt Wagner is the X-Man Nightcrawler and not the name of a real actor in that film.
  • A boy calls Beast a "blue Wookiee." Marvel was publishing Star Wars comics at this time. Wookiees' fur is typically brown, black, or white. It was recently announced that Marvel will regain the Star Wars comic book license in 2015 after losing it to Dark Horse Comics for the last 20 years.
  • This issue features the first appearance of Scott Lang, a Stark International technician. Next month, he will steal Henry Pym's Ant-Man costume in Marvel Premiere 47 and become the second Ant-Man with Yellowjacket's approval. He will later become an Avenger, and so will his daughter Cassie Lang, one of the few families with a parent and child on Avengers teams. Scott Lang is still active as Ant-Man in the 2013 FF series.
  • Iron Man refers to Michael Korvac simply as "the Enemy" when the Guardians leave. Information on Michael Korvac is later part of the Avengers computer database, so his name probably was not part of the mind-wipe that Moondragon placed on the Avengers membership.
  • Moondragon does not say good-bye in any way to any of the members. She leaves with Black Widow and Hercules in the Champscraft. She will next join the Defenders in a few months in Defenders (1972) 76.
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy claim they will salvage a time-jumper from the Collector's orbiting ship in order to get back to the 31st century. They don't leave right away. Some of the members appear in October in Marvel Team-Up (1972) 86 in the present.
  • Wonder Man, after finding out he will not be a member, talks about pursuing an acting career. He feels that acting experience will help him gain confidence in "portraying" the role of a superhero.
  • The letters page moves to the end of the book after the story. Thus far, it had always appeared someone where in the middle of the issue. It was editor Roger Stern's idea to move its new location, and that later becomes the standard place to put it.  
Avengers Vol 1 182

Avengers 182
Honor Thy Father
April, 1979
Written by David Michelinie
Art by John Byrne and Klaus Janson
Lettered by Diana Albers
Colored by Bob Sharen

Donald Blake is still unsure why Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch collapsed, and he goes so far as to offer the unscientific explanation that somebody has stolen their souls. Jocasta mentions that she has detected an organic energy flux that leads to the Bowery, and they surmise this could be related. In his hotel room, the old man, Django, tells the Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch marionettes of his children Ana and Matéo, who had abilities similar to the heroes. Django was forced to steal during a time of starvation, so villagers burned down the gypsy wagon of the Maximoff family, killing Django's wife and making the children think they were orphans. Django wandered for years, not knowing what happened to the children, but saw them in a newspaper photo and came to America to make sure they were not separated from him ever again. The Avengers arrive on the street below, and Django uses a magic talisman to animate human-size plaster figures in a costume warehouse across the street. The Avengers destroy these attackers and enter Django's room, but through magical manipulation, they sense it as a vast, otherworldly dimension with only hints of the real world peeking through. Django also summons three opponents, simulacra of old Avengers foes the Toad, Princess Python, and Nighthawk. These visions prove more powerful than their real counterparts, and the Avengers are defeated one by one. A wino beating on the floor of the adjoining hotel room for quiet shocks Beast and Iron Man, making them realize they are facing illusions. They focus their wills, and reality reasserts itself. With no more protection, Django flees with the marionettes, but Vision destroys his magic talisman, and the dolls collapse. Back at the mansion, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch recover fully. The twins take pity on Django and decide to travel with him back to Transia to find out the truth of his story.
Beast: "Looks like we can enjoy a little peace, quiet and ree-lak-sa-tion for a change, right gang?"
[The team glares at him.]
Beast: "Uh...nah. I don't believe it, either! =sigh="
  • This is Diana Albers' first issue lettering Avengers. She will do a handful of issues between now and 1990.
  • The cover is penciled by Al Milgrom, his first credit on Avengers. He will become the regular interior penciller with issue 228.
  • When Gyrich sees that Jocasta can reason, he is flummoxed by her presence. He's unsure if she needs security clearance since she is a machine.
  • We discover that Scarlet Witch's favorite cookies are ginger snaps. This is appropriate, since she has reddish-brown hair and has more than once lost her sanity, or snapped.
  • Django is finally  named in this issue. Before adopting Wanda and Pietro, he had two children who died, Ana and Matéo. In his confusion, he continues to call Wanda and Pietro by the names of his deceased children.
  • Pietro asserts that they have been using the Frank family name, as they believe Whizzer is their father.
  • Django's older mystical puppets have been used before by the villain Mr. Doll to make the Brothers Grimm in the Spider-Woman (1978) series, but their maker was not revealed until now. Although the dolls were no longer used after Spider-Woman 12, two brothers gained the same powers of the dolls and continue to use the Brothers Grimm identities.
  • Captain America pilots an open-air sky-scooter during the mission. This is the vehicle's first appearance. They mention the Avengers have special permission to use it. Their priority status has not been reinstated yet, as it's only been a few hours since the last issue ended, not the 24 hours Gyrich said he would need to effect the change.
  • Captain America says the sky-scooter's controls are like those of a T-16 helicopter. This is not a real helicopter, but instead a Star Wars: A New Hope reference. Luke Skywalker pilots a "T-16 skyhopper" while a moisture farmer. Luke also makes a comment about how his X-Wing controls are like the T-16 that he used to shoot womprats from.
  • The magic talisman that Django uses is called the Nivashi Stone. It is destroyed for good at the end of the issue.
  • The three villains are chosen by Django because they correspond to "gypsy totems" of the toad, the snake, and the bird.
  • When Iron Man is faced with the hallucinations that can't be hurt, he rips the sink off the wall and throws it at one, literally using the "kitchen sink" as a last resort.
  • Future Avengers writer Kurt Busiek has a letter in the letter column. He says he liked issue 178 featuring the Beast for the most part, but he thought Beast's dialogue sounded too much like Steve Gerber's creation Howard the Duck. This nearly ruined the story for him.
Black Panther Vol 1 15
Black Panther 15
Revenge of the Black Panther
May, 1979
Written by Ed Hannigan
Art by Jerry Bingham and Gene Day
Lettered by Clem Robins
Colored by George Roussos
Captain America and Black Panther are fighting a solid-sound monster in Harlem as the story opens. Captain America is caught in the fantastical creation's clutches, but Black Panther uses Captain America's shield to set up a counter-vibration that matches the monster's sound frequency, causing it to dissolve. We discover that a gang of youths called the Thunderbolts now possesses Klaw's Sonic Disruptor and had used it to create the beast. The weapon is so linked to Klaw that Klaw can mentally influence one of the boys, Jack, to travel to Klaw's comatose body at the docks. Beast and Vision are overseeing the transport of Klaw when the gang appears and creates a solid-sound lion and rhinoceros. While the two Avengers battle the beasts, Jack sets up a dome of sound and revives Klaw inside of it with the Sonic Disruptor. Vision passes into the dome and fights Klaw, but Klaw's power continues to increase, and he defeats Vision and reclaims his sonic cannon. Black Panther and Captain America arrive on the scene, as well as some Wakandans, who bring vibranium gloves with them. Black Panther breaks into the dome using the vibranium gloves and asks his allies to allow him to fight Klaw in one-on-one combat. A stray blast from the Sonic Disruptor breaks through the dock, and the two combatants fall into the ocean. A readout on Black Panther's gloves reveal that Klaw's sound energy is increasing ever-higher. Black Panther twists Klaw's Sonic Disruptor to aim directly at Klaw, and the resulting feedback causes Klaw's sound-based body to dissipate.
Beast: "What's the world coming to? I mean--punk kids on musical motorbikes, shooting red lions?!"
  • Artist Jerry Bingham was a frequent guest at the Malibu Comics art department when I was there, doing promotional art pieces and telling tales of his experiences. He has worked in the entertainment industry since that time and is currently creating Western paintings, which can be seen at his website www.jerrybingham.com.
  • Clem Robins will later do some lettering for Avengers West Coast Annuals. He was a frequent choice of letterer at Malibu Comics, so as a letterer's assistant, I got to take an X-acto blade to many of his word balloons in order to place them on the art back before it was done in the computer. He also lettered some of the books I edited as well as some of my dialogue in All New Exiles 5. Thanks, Clem!
  • Some of the Avengers had also appeared in March's Black Panther 14. Black Panther comes across Klaw in a weakened state under attack by the Thunderbolts gang. Klaw collapses, and the gang takes possession of the Sonic Disruptor. Black Panther takes pity on Klaw and takes him to the Avengers for safe-keeping rather than continue the battle. Once Klaw is supervised, Black Panther returns to fight the Thunderbolts, and Captain America follows along to join in the battle with the solid-sound monster we see at the opening of this issue.
  • Black Panther is surprised that Captain America's shield has some of the properties of vibranium. The shield's composition had not yet been totally revealed, but it is partly vibranium.
  • The story features a street gang called the Thunderbolts. This will later be the name of a group of superhumans that replace the Avengers, though they are not related to this gang. These Thunderbolts are arrested, and this is is the last appearance of the gang. Members include Jack, Levon, and Herbie.
  • When facing the solid-sound rhinoceros, Beast quips that Vision should wait until the rhino takes its skin off and rub sand into it. This odd suggestion is probably a reference to Rudyard Kipling's How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin story. In the children's story, a rhino steals and eats a cake, and then the baker, during a hot spell where the rhino removes its skin to cool off, rubs cake crumbs in the discarded skin. When the rhino puts the skin back on, it scratches so hard that the buttons come off. The distressed skin goes from smooth to wrinkled, and the rhino forevermore has a bad temper.
  • This is the last issue of the Black Panther series. The story continues in Marvel Premiere 51 in December.
  • Black Panther says Klaw is either dead or won't be a threat for a long time. That's incorrect. Klaw comes back in Marvel Two-in-One 57 in November, which is before Black Panther's own story is even featured again.
  • The Black Panther series had the same editorial team as Avengers, Roger Stern and Jim Salicrup.
  • Around this time, the Avengers face off against Godzilla in Godzilla (1977) 23 and 24. Marvel Comics published a Godzilla comic book series that took place in the Marvel Universe, but issue 24 in July of 1979 is the last issue, and then they lost the rights to the character. In those issues, Wasp is still wearing her orange outfit, and Scarlet Witch is with the team, so the encounter had to take place before Avengers 183. The Avengers, even with assistance, can't defeat Godzilla. It leaves the city due to the pleas of a young boy, Robert Takiguchi, who befriended and helped Godzilla.
Avengers Vol 1 183

Avengers 183
The Redoubtable Return of Crusher Creel!
May, 1979
Written by David Michelinie
Art by John Byrne and Klaus Janson
Lettered by Jim Novak
Colored by Bob Sharen
Miss Marvel is inducted onto the team due to Scarlet Witch's leave of absence. At the city dump, multiple shards of glass levitate into one mass and reform the Absorbing Man. Captain America tells Falcon that he has been asked to join the team, but Falcon is hesitant to do so and uncomfortable with filling what he feels is a racial quota. Captain America calls upon their long friendship and partnership and asks him to join the team as a favor, so Falcon agrees. Absorbing Man robs a store and decides to kidnap the saleslady, Sandy. He tells her that he plans to hop a boat to South America, where there should be no superheroes to hassle him. He's taking her along so he won't get lonely. Down at the docks, Hawkeye sees off Scarlet Witch in his civilian identity and goes to get a cup of coffee at a bar. The Absorbing Man happens to enter the same bar with his hostage, starting a scuffle with Clint and then the locals. Clint makes a phone call to the Avengers and changes into his Hawkeye uniform. He spars briefly with the Absorbing Man before Beast, Ms. Marvel, Vision, Iron Man, and Wasp arrive. Absorbing Man slips into the engine room of a boat and emerges as a giant, having absorbed the power of the ship's turbines
Longshoreman 1: "Lordy! Now I recognize that joker! He's the Absorbing Man!"
Longshoreman 2: "You mean the psycho what keeps hasslin' Thor?"
Longshoreman 3: "C'mon, guys, let's save the Thunder God some trouble!"
Clint Barton: "W-Waita-minit!"
Longshoreman 4: "Yeah! This jerk's big, but he can't take us all on!"
Window: "Skrapash!"
  • This issue is the first to cost 40. That's equal to $1.28 in 2014 dollars.
  • This is letterer Jim Novak's first issue. He'll continue to do the lettering on the title off and on until 1987.
  • The boat on the cover has the name Doric. This was the name of a famous ocean liner owned by the White Star Line, the same company that owned the Titanic. The actual Doric was scrapped in 1935.
  • The Absorbing Man's hostage on the cover has blonde hair, but she has brown hair inside the issue. The ID on her shirt says, "Sandy," so it's definitely the same woman.
  • This is the first time Ms. Marvel has been a member of the Avengers, despite all her past adventures with the team.
  • Two more National Security Council agents are introduced, Jenkins and Carter.
  • Ms. Marvel is still keeping her identity secret. She does not submit to fingerprinting since she knows her prints are on file as Carol Danvers with NASA. She uses a retinal pattern instead so she can be recognized by security equipment.
  • Wasp debuts a new red, white, and blue (or possibly black) costume with this issue.
  • Tony Stark thinks to himself that he needs a nice, stiff martini. In the Iron Man series, Stark is in the middle of the "Demon in a Bottle" story line, which started in March, 1979, and will end in November. Stark deals with the fact he is an alcoholic and attempts to start his sobriety.
  • This is Absorbing Man's first appearance in Avengers, though he has fought Thor many times. His ability is to "absorb" the properties of any substance that he touches, either its physical structure or any energy it contains. He was last seen in Incredible Hulk (1962) 209, where he ill-advisedly absorbed the properties of glass while falling and was shattered into pieces. It took him months to finally reassemble himself in this issue. He's not a fast learner, as he absorbs the properties of glass again briefly this issue to cut through a net.
  • Absorbing Man, whose name is Carl "Crusher" Creel, has Thor as his main adversary. Thor's hammer is called Mjolnir, which translates into English as "Crusher."
  • Absorbing Man usually wields a ball and chain that absorbs the same properties of whatever he himself absorbs. He was carrying this item when he was given his powers by Loki because Creel was a prison inmate at the time.
  • When Hawkeye goes to the boat to see off Scarlet Witch, he gives her the dice game of Yahtzee to take on the trip.
  • Absorbing Man takes a cab trip with Sandy and pays the cabdriver $5.00. Unfortunately, the fare is $5.75.
  • The cabdriver is wearing a button on his hat that simply says, "WIN." This was part of a "Whip Inflation Now" campaign started in 1974 and spearheaded by President Gerald Ford. It was meant to inspire Americans to save money and spend it in a responsible manner to help curb inflation.
  • Future Avengers writer Kurt Busiek writes in a letter criticizing the current quality of the letters printed in all Marvel comics. He sends it to Avengers because he considers this series to be the "spiritual figurehead of Marvel Comics" more than any other series.

Avengers Vol 1 184
Avengers 184
Death on the Hudson!
June, 1979
Written by David Michelinie
Art by John Byrne, Joe Rubenstein, Terry Austin, Al Gordon, and Klaus Janson
Lettered by Diana Albers
Colored by Bob Sharen
The turbine-charged Absorbing Man engages the entire Avengers team on the scene. Iron Man absorbs excess energy from Absorbing Man's body into his armor and has to jet into outer space in order to release the energy safely. Captain America and Falcon report to the Mansion, find out about the rampage, and fly to the docks to assist the team. A powered-down Absorbing Man is briefly dizzied by Beast hoisting him into the air and spinning him, but he absorbs Beast's abilities and regains control of himself in time to take on the metallic properties of Captain America's shield. The Absorbing Man's hostage, Sandy, dashes off the boat and tries to find the Avengers, but she ends up getting grabbed by the Absorbing Man again. He rushes with her to the boat, but it had already left port during the battle. He shoves Sandy away from him in order to grapple with Vision, but Absorbing Man cannot control the Vision's density powers that he absorbs, and he falls through the dock while in an insubstantial form. He tries to swim to the ship, but seeing the futility of escape, he chooses to absorb the water around him and dissipate himself into the ocean. Sandy wonders if perhaps he should have been allowed to escape so he could perhaps find peace.
Wasp: "Hi, Falcon. I like your bird."
Absorbing Man: "All ya hadda do was lemme alone an'I'd have been outta yer hair forever!"
Vision: "No, Crusher Creel. That would merely have been passing our responsibilities onto the shoulders of others. Now...will you surrender?"
Beast: "Say, this ball and chain'll make a swell trophy for =unf=...for =ung=...someone else."
  • Notice there is a black bar printed over the bar code. This was around the time that the direct market, i.e. comic retailers versus grocery stores and newsstands, were getting their own copies. This is an early way to differentiate the two versions, as it cannot be scanned by the bar code readers, which these specialty stores were not assumed to have. This black-bar practice is short-lived and will be replaced by other graphics for direct editions.
  • The issue is credited to inker "D. Hands," short for "Diverse hands." Later credit was given to Joe Rubenstein, Terry Austin, Al Gordon, and Klaus Janson as the inking team.
  • This is Terry Austin's first issue inking the interior art. He had been doing many of the covers since issue 167, though.
  • Beast is portrayed as having some difficulty swimming, but back in issue 156, he managed to dive into the open ocean, follow Attuma to a sub, and get aboard it with no difficulty. Maybe he had just eaten this issue and got a cramp.
  • Iron Man mentions his suit has been malfunctioning recently. In his own series, rival Justin Hammer has been using a machine to take remote control of the armor, but Stark doesn't know that yet.
  • When introduced to Gyrich, Falcon is still annoyed about being the token black member, so he speaks like the Stepin Fetchit character "the Laziest Man in the World."  Falcon feels bad about it soon after and apologizes to Captain America. Though Fetchit, whose real name was Lincoln Perry, is now looked upon as exploiting negative racial stereotypes in his acting career, he was the first black screen actor to become a millionaire and receive screen credit on a film. Many modern audiences are so put off by his performances that his movies are rarely released or screened any longer.
  • Although Falcon does not spend enough time at the Mansion to fill out the proper forms before going into battle, this issue is regarded as the issue that Falcon joins the team.
  • The Falcon's falcon Redwing is not considered a member, but he will later be part of the Pet Avengers in the 2009 all-ages series Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers and its sequels. Those adventures are not part of the main Marvel continuity, however, according to Avengers editor Tom Brevoort.
  • Captain America rides a smaller version of the sky-scooter that only seats one, This is the first appearance of the "sky cycle" in the series, but not quite the one that Hawkeye will soon begin to ride in his own series. This design is more similar to the Fantastic Four's Airjet-Cycles and may be a version provided by Mister Fantastic for their use.

Early evolution of sky cycles
  • Absorbing Man absorbs the properties of Captain America's shield. When asked what the shield is made of, Captain America says it's a top-secret, super-strong alloy. The actual vibranium-adamantium composition hadn't been revealed yet.
  • We find out Sandy's full name is Sandy Herkowitz. This is her final appearance.
  • Absorbing Man's boat has a destination of Punta Del Rey.
  • Beast is unable to lift Absorbing Man's ball and chain. He is normally able to lift one ton of weight, but Absorbing Man does not have super strength in his normal form, and Vision uses it as a weapon earlier in the issue, so it's unclear why it is depicted as being overly heavy. What is with all the Beast hate this issue?
  • Absorbing Man next appears in Incredible Hulk 261 on Easter Island. Being liquid for so long has left him unable to remember his own name, but he knows he is hiding from some unknown superheroes who were always beating him up.
  • A scene from this issue is featured in a story in Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 160. Time distortions allow the New Warriors member Turbo to see different events through time, and she sees the turbine-charged Absorbing Man fighting Ms. Marvel, Vision, Wasp, and Beast.
  • Also this month in Doctor Strange (1974) 35, Doctor Strange comes to Avengers Mansion to consult on the pieces of the Black Knight statue, which he reassembles with magic. When they see that it is still holding the Ebony Blade, Doctor Strange takes the statue back to his home to investigate it. After three issues of shenanigans, the statue ends up back in pieces at Dane Whitman's castle in England.

Avengers Vol 1 185
    Avengers 185
    The Yesterday Quest!
    July, 1979
    Written by David Michelinie, Mark Gruenwald, and Steven Grant
    Art by John Byrne and Dan Green
    Lettered by John Costanza
    Colored by Roger Slifer
    Hawkeye leaves the docks in a funk after being cut from the team, and Falcon feels that he didn't contribute anything in the battle against Absorbing Man. Several days later, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have returned to East Transia to find out the truth of Django's stories. While staying in an inn, Scarlet Witch is visited at night by Modred the mystic, who takes her to the peak of the nearby mountain, Wundagore. They get past the technological defenses of the High Evolutionary's base and discover a floating altar with a book upon it. Modred strikes the Scarlet Witch down with a mystic bolt, incapacitating her. Quicksilver awakens in the morning and finds his sister gone. A girl from the inn reveals to him that she saw two lights leave the inn last night and head to the mountain's peak. He rushes up the side of the mountain, but he slams into a mystic force field and is knocked forcibly down the slope. He is knocked unconscious, and when he wakes, he finds himself in a rustic cabin being tended to by Bova, the evolved cow who was his mother's midwife.
    Policeman: "Okay, Iron Man, care to explain? Or do we just send the bill directly to Avengers Mansion?"
    Iron Man: "Now wait a minute! You can't blame us for this destruction! It was the Absorbing Man!"
    Policeman: "Oh, yeah? I don't see no Absorbine Man."
    Iron Man: "But he jumped into the harbor! And then he absorbed the properties of the water and, um, dissipated...into...ah...Would a check from Tony Stark be all right, Officer?"
  • The cover of this issue won the Eagle Award for Best Cover in 1980.
  • This is Mark Gruenwald's first plotting credit on Avengers. He will have a long association with the team and later be editor of the series.
  • This is also Steven Grant's first Avengers credit. The future Avenger Moon Knight's real name is Marc Spector, but he uses various aliases, and one of them is Steven Grant. In addition, Captain America's full name is Steven Grant Rogers.
  • The image of Vision in the upper left corner is replaced by the seven faces of the current active Avengers lineup. In this case, it helps the reader identify who's on the team since none of them appear on the cover's image itself.
  • A police officer mistakenly calls last issue's villain "Absorbine Man." Absorbine is a liniment that was concocted for use on horses, but the weaker version for humans is Absorbine Jr. I don't know if Absorbing Man has ever absorbed the properties of liniment.
  • Captain America calls Ms. Marvel "the woman in black," even though her uniform is typically colored a dark blue. Solid blacks don't always translate well visually, so dark blue is used.
  • Hawkeye tells Iron Man that he's going to feel awful when Tony Stark fires the man using the Iron Man suit. This sounds strange since Tony Stark is Iron Man, but he really will "fire" himself due to his problems with alcohol and hand over the Iron Man identity to James Rhodes in 1983.
  • East Transia is the name of the major town in the nation of Transia.
  • The innkeeper in East Transia recognizes Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as Wanda and Pietro Frank, showing that the world at large is aware they've changed their last name to Frank.
  • Scarlet Witch sleeps in the nude while in the inn, or at least topless. She is European, after all.
  • Wundagore is the mountain that Whizzer spoke about in Giant-Size Avengers 1. It also figures into the backgrounds of other Marvel characters, such as the High Evolutionary, the Puppet Master, the Werewolf (by night!), and future Avenger Spider-Woman.
  • Modred carries Scarlet Witch through the air in a "carrier nimbus." It does not resemble a cloud, but two glowing spheres. In this case, "nimbus" refers to the glowing sphere depicted around the heads of gods or saints, not the raincloud. Sorry, Dragonball fans.
  • When falling down the mountain, Quicksilver's head hits a rock, making a "CHUD" sound effect. Transians are a Slavic people, and the Slavic word "chud" is a term used to refer to some foreigners, but it literally translates to "strange people" or "wonderous people," which certainly refers to Quicksilver. (You thought I would talk about the C.H.U.D. film, eh? It didn't come out until 1984.)

Marvel Two-in-One 51
Full House..Dragons High!
May, 1979
Written by Peter Gillis
Art by Frank Miller and Bob McLeod
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by Glynis Wein

Thing arrives at Avengers Mansion for a poker game, but finds that Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man have been invited to take the place of Iron Man and Captain America. After a few hands, Ms. Marvel is ahead, and the Thing is complaining about the Avengers bringing in ringers. The game is cut short by an alert to Nick Fury that SHIELD's Arsenal Six is being assaulted. The attackers are rogue U.S. Army soldiers led by General Pollock, and they steal the Yellow Claw's Sky Dragon, a floating fortress that is being housed there. Fury responds to the alert, and the heroes at the card game tag along. Despite their having a craft nearly the equal of SHIELD's Helicarrier, the heroes manage to defeat the enemy forces and infiltrate the Sky Dragon. General Pollock is attempting to assemble a weapon called the Ultimate Annihilator, but he is captured before he can complete the weapon. The heroes return to continue their card game, but when Wonder Man returns from the kitchen with a tray of coffees, everyone else is exhausted from the battle and has fallen asleep.
Thing: "A woman! Ya brung a woman in! An' she does the worst possible thing a woman kin do in poker...she wins!"

General Pollock: "I gambled and lost...and it's all the Avengers' fault!"
Thing (not an Avenger): "Whaddaya mean, all the Avengers' fault?"
  • Writer Peter Gillis had a letter printed in the Avengers letter column back in issue 144.
  • Although Wonder Man shouts "Avengers Assemble" on the cover, he isn't and has not yet been a member of the team. Only Ms. Marvel and Beast are currently active members.
  • There is no "Avengers" logo on the cover, but the header of the first page does say, "Stan Lee Presents: The Thing and the Avengers!"
  • This story probably takes place in the middle of Avengers 185, after the scene at the docks and before the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver's adventure in Transia. Narration says there is a period of one week that passes in that middle of that issue.
  • The Thing uses a light beam in his belt buckle to identify himself to the Avengers' auto sentries. He usually uses this beam to activate the elevator in the Fantastic Four's headquarters at the Baxter Building.
  • A superhero poker game, usually hosted by the Thing, becomes a bit of a tradition in the Marvel universe. This is its first appearance.
  • Nick Fury claims that Iron Man and Captain America had to bow out of the game because Fury is not currently on good terms with them. Iron Man is wanted for the murder of a Carnelian ambassador in Iron Man (1968) 124. Captain America tussled with some SHIELD agents in Captain America (1968) 231 and was called a "security hazard" by a SHIELD officer, so he is currently on a break from working with SHIELD
  • When introduced to Wonder Man, Thing makes a comment about Lynda Carter, who played DC Comics' Wonder Woman in the TV series of the same name. That series was still running its last season of new episodes in 1979. Stan Lee has claimed in interviews that DC sued Marvel when they introduced Woman Man because of the similar name, so Marvel didn't use Wonder Man or the name for many years.
  • The Avengers' butler Jarvis plays in the poker game as well. He says he used to play cards back in his days with the Royal Air Force in World War II.
  • General Pollock last appeared in Avengers Annual 6 with the Living Laser. This is Pollock's last appearance.
  • The Avengers haven't crossed paths with the evil scientist, the Yellow Claw, but they will face him in the upcoming issue 204. Only his confiscated equipment appears here.
  • SHIELD agent Dum-Dum Dugan talks about how he's on a break from Godzilla duty. The Marvel Godzilla series had ended. SHIELD was usually trying to stop Godzilla and the other monsters in the series, and Dugan was the head of the team responsible for doing so.
  • Nick Fury says he got his bulletproof jacket from an agent named Boothroyd. There is a SHIELD agent named Boothroyd who is said to have transferred from MI-6. The character of Q in the James Bond films, who gave Bond his equipment, also had the name of Major Boothroyd.
Avengers Vol 1 186
Avengers 186
Nights of Wundagore!
August, 1979
Written by David Michelinie, Mark Gruenwald, and Steven Grant
Art by John Byrne and Dan Green
Lettered by Jim Novak
Colored by Roger Slifer
Quicksilver recovers under the care of Bova, the evolved cow who delivered him and his sister as babies. She tells the true story of their parentage, how a pregnant woman arrived at Wundagore in fear of her husband, who had gained strange powers and become a man to be feared. The stranger gave birth to the twins and then left abruptly, trying to keep the children hidden from their father. This was around the same time that Bob and Madeline Frank were at Wundagore, but they had no knowledge of it. When Madeline and her baby died in childbirth, Bova lied to Bob Frank and said the twins were his children so he would take them home. Whizzer instead fled and had an emotional breakdown, but this explains why he had claimed to be their father in error. Back in the present, Scarlet Witch is the prisoner of Modred, but she is able to use her mutant ability to counter the sorcery that binds her, and she battles Modred. He manages to subdue her and complete the ritual from the Darkhold book. A twisted vision of the Scarlet Witch appears to Quicksilver and warns him that he should leave the area. Bova convinces him to heed the warning. He encounters Django in the woods on his way down the mountain, and the two of them are shortly attacked by nature itself. Quicksilver gets Django safely to East Wundagore and places a phone call to the Avengers. His former teammates ready for action, but Henry Gyrich forbids them from rushing into a foreign country. Captain America leaves the room, and moments later the President of the United States makes a call to Gyrich and demands the Avengers leave on a "good-will tour of Bulgaria," clearing the way for the Avengers to visit the area. Meanwhile, Quicksilver and Django are attacked and incapacitated in the Transian post office by the body of the Scarlet Witch, which has been possessed by the demon Chthon.
Bova: "What matters is that now you know all."
Quicksilver: "'All'? But I still haven't a clue as to my father's identity!"
Bova: "Then take my word that you know enough! Please!" 
  • The cover again makes use of character heads to showcase the current team, since they aren't on the main image. Ms. Marvel's head is missing, but there's room for it under the bar code, so perhaps it was on the full image.
  • Bova makes a milk soup for the recovering Quicksilver. She is a cow. I don't want to know where she got the milk, but since she doesn't have any children of her own on record, it's unlikely she is lactating herself.
  • Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver's mother is only called a visitor in Bova's story, not given a name. It's later confirmed she was Magda Lehnsherr, the wife of Magneto. This is her first appearance. In this story, she leaves Wundagore and is only assumed to be dead from exposure. So far, this has not been contradicted.
  • Jonathan Drew also appears in the tale as a scientist on Wudgagore. He is the father of future Avenger Spider-Woman. Small world.
  • Bova reveals that Ana and Matéo were children of Django Maximoff that had died before he adopted Wanda and Pietro.
  • It is mentioned that Iron Man is on leave this issue. He is still wanted for murder and has stepped down as chairman of the Avengers during the investigation. In reality, Justin Hammer used the armor by remote control while Tony Stark was in it to cause the death. In Iron Man 125 this month, Tony Stark also comes to Captain America at the Mansion after turning in the armor to the authorities. Stark gets hand-to-hand combat training so that Stark can operate more effectively without his armor while seeking answers to the frame-up.
  • In Captain America 237, which takes place around this time, Falcon gets concerned that he can't find Captain America, who has moved out of his apartment. Steve Rogers walks into Avengers Mansion just as Falcon is rallying the team to go look for Cap. Rogers give them a business card that shows he is now seeking work as a commercial artist and with the address of his new apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Nick Fury also apologizes to Captain America in that issue, and they start to mend their relationship.
  • Gyrich tells Beast to "go play Johnny Weissmuller." Weissmuller is best remembered now as having played the role of Tarzan in films from 1932 and 1948. These films originated the "Tarzan yell" associated with the character today. Before acting, he also won six Olympic medals for swimming and water polo.
  • Vision does not appear at all in the next issue, even though it's his wife in danger. Gyrich requires that one Avenger stay on monitor duty, and Vision's name was next on the assignment list. Vision nearly punches Gyrich for keeping him from his wife, but Captain America calms down the situation.
  • Although it's not stated, the President that give the Avengers permission to fly to Transia is Jimmy Carter.
  • Gyrich refers to Quicksilver's phone call as trouble in Bulgaria. The relationship of Marvel countries is sometimes sketchy, but the 2007 Marvel Atlas entry for Latveria shows where Transia is. I highlighted it with a scarlet hex. Iron Man was currently wanted for killing an ambassador to Carnelia, which is also on the map north of Latveria and Romania. Since the current Eastern Europe has changed a great deal, a 1984 map of our Eastern Europe is on the right for comparison. Those comic book writers sure like making up fictitious, though soon unnecessary countries.

2007 Marvel Eastern Europe and 1984 real Eastern Europe

Avengers Vol 1 187
 Avengers 187
The Call of the Mountain Thing!
September, 1979
Written by David Michelinie, Mark Gruenwald, and Steven Grant
Art by John Byrne and Dan Green
Lettered by Jim Novak
Colored by George Roussos
The Avengers and Wonder Man fly a Quinjet to Transia, but an unnaturally strong storm batters the craft and damages its engines. Most of the team exits the Quinjet, but Wonder Man stays behind to pilot it through the crash and minimize the damage. Wonder Man gives Beast his rocket belt, but since Beast is unfamiliar with its use, he pinwheels through the air and is separated from the team. Once the other four heroes are on the ground, Modred attacks them with various magic spells. Beast crashes on a snowy peak and ponders a humanoid animal skeleton in the snow that died wearing armor. Wonder Man leaves the Quinjet's wreckage and is paralyzed by Chthon in Scarlet Witch's body. Nearby, Wasp is the only combatant still conscious, but Chthon arrives there and captures all the Avengers except for the absent Beast. While the captives, including Quicksilver and Django, float helplessly, Chthon relates how he wrote the Darkhold book eons ago and how it has touched various nations from the dawn of humanity to the present. Chthon prepares a final ceremony that will seal him within the Scarlet Witch and start his subjugation of humanity. An armored knight appears on a flying mechanical steed and lances the Darkhold book. In shock, Chthon's concentration lapses, and the spell holding the captives is broken. The knight is revealed to be Beast with the equipment he found on the mountaintop. Django still possesses the doll he used to trap the Scarlet Witch's soul, and the doll begins to speak to him in the Scarlet Witch's voice. Quicksilver intuits that it is the wood of the doll, carved from trees on Wundagore, that still retains some of the magic power, and he tries to use the doll to switch Chthon's soul with that of the Scarlet Witch. Alone, he fails, but the rest of heroes focus their wills as well, and together that is enough to ensure success. Quicksilver rushes the doll containing the essence of Chthon away and throws it off a cliff. The recovering Scarlet Witch, now in control of her own body, causes an avalanche that buries the doll and ends the threat. Sadly, Django's weak heart fails him, and he dies. The heroes bury him in the Transian forest and leave Modred, whose mind has been reduced to that of an infant, in the care of Bova.
Narration:  "...Chthon gloats--but it is an exultation short-lived, for he had underestimated that force which some humans call 'good' and others call 'love.'"
  • The Quinjet used in this issue is designated A3701. Although it crashes, Quinjets have survived crashes before, and this one stays mostly in one piece.
  • Ms. Marvel could have easily carried Beast to the ground instead of him using Wonder Man's rocket belt. This occurred because Beast was trying to argue about who should remain behind as pilot, and Wonder Man didn't want to debate, so he forcibly gave Beast the belt and activated it, taking Beast out of the Quinjet against his will.
  • Wasp uses the mocking name "Chiffon" for Chthon, helping nail down the actual pronunciation of the demon's name.
  • Chthon claims its "sister" is Mother Earth, also known as Gaea. This is Thor's mother, so Chthon, in godly terms, is Thor's uncle.
  • Part of the history of the Darkhold includes a medieval sorcerer Magnus, trying to protect it from evil sorcerers. Coincidentally Magnus is also a name sometimes used by Magneto, the real father of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver that has yet to be revealed.
  • Among the past owners of the Darkhold, chief among them is Morgan Le Fey of Arthurian legend. She is a character in the Marvel Universe that survives to the modern day and will later battle the Avengers in 1984 in Avengers 240.
  • Chthon reveals that it empowered Scarlet Witch with magical potential at her birth, so her ease with using sorcery comes from this action, not her mutant abilities. Later writers will make the type of magic very specific, calling it "chaos magic," of which the Scarlet Witch and Chthon are the principal users.
  • The Avengers leave with the Darkhold book. It is next seen in Doctor Strange 60. There, the Avengers had stashed it in a camouflaged vault adjacent to their meeting room. Although Beast had run it through with a lance in this story, the large hole is missing when it is next seen. Magic!
  • Beast also takes the Atomic Steed that he finds in the snow back to the Mansion. Black Knight begins using it 1985 when he is with the Avengers.
  • The letters page returns to the middle of story again. One letter is from Cat Yronwode, who would later, among a variety of credits, be editor-in-chief of Eclipse Comics, which produced comics and graphic novels.
  • Another letter writer is credited as "Bruce McCokindale." This is comics creator Bruce McCorkindale, who I worked with briefly at Malibu Comics. Since the letter column says that they lost his address, they probably "lost" the "R" from his last name as well. His first credited inking project in 1988 was coincidentally a series titled "The Twilight Avenger" for Eternity Comics. He is still active in the industry, currently inking and coloring Green Hornet covers for Dynamite Entertainment and reworking his 1998 graphic novel The Falling Man.
  • Anthony Mackie, who plays the Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier film, was born in this month.
  • This month featured the debut of the Spider-Woman animated series. It would only air until January of 1980 for 16 episodes. This is still the only female Marvel character to have her own cartoon.
  • This month an Avenger novel was published, titled The Avengers: The Man Who Stole Tomorrow. It was written by David Michelinie and dealt with the Avengers fighting Kang. Prose novels of Marvel characters are usually not considered part of the main continuity, however.