Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Avengers 16 to 25 (5/65 to 2/66)

Cap’s Kooky Quartet
finds giant shoes tough to fill.
Outlaws, now heroes.

 Captain America; Steve Rogers
Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Quicksilver; Pietro Maximoff
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff

Giant-Man; Henry “Hank” Pym
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Thor; Dr. Donald Blake
Wasp; Janet Van Dyne
Rick Jones (honorary member)

Member due to fraud:
Swordsman; Jacques Duquesne

                 “The Old Order Changeth” was the first of many wholesale membership changes that occurred in the history of the Avengers. New writers weren’t shy about making radical changes in who was an Avenger, but in this case, Stan was still the writer, and he took out the core members of the group. He has since said that it was getting difficult to keep stories straight at this point, even though he was writing almost the entire Marvel line himself. Since Thor, Iron Man, and Giant-Man and Wasp had their own series that could interfere with Avengers stories, they all left. Captain America had a series as well, but at this time, most of his adventures were from World War II, so they didn’t conflict.
                Growing up before the Internet, these issues were an event. You didn’t know who was in and who was out, and if you had favorite characters, you felt some nervousness about whether they would still be in the series. There was often surprise with the characters that came out of left field to join the team. With previews so prevalent now, I could find the new team roster from the upcoming Uncanny Avengers title with a couple of clicks of the mouse, but I’m restraining myself, and I still already know most of them. And, hey, there’s Scarlet Witch and Captain America again.
                And so was formed “Cap’s Kooky Quartet.” Both in the stories and from the fan community, a lot of people viewed this team as too weak. They forget that the answer to the immortal question, “Who would win in a fight between…” is always answered, “Whoever the writer (or rarely the fan vote) wants to win.” These new Avengers acquit themselves well. Scarlet Witch seems very weak compared to other heroes in these pages, but nowadays she has since destroyed the entire team of Avengers once and was able to depower most of the mutant population of Earth on a whim. In the current Avengers vs. X-Men, the X-Men, even empowered with the Phoenix Force, get frantic about her whereabouts. She’s sure not weak now.
                It’s interesting to see the early portrayal of Hawkeye as well. After many years, he’s led several teams of heroes, both Avengers and non-Avengers, and is called upon when a team is rowdy and needs to be put in line, such as the Thunderbolts. In these issues, he’s surly and combative, just like the malcontents he routinely handles now. He was eager to be a leader then, but he’s learned a lot about leadership since, mostly from Captain America, who he snaps at constantly in these stories. The saving grace for him is that after his snide verbal comments, he often follows up with a private thought balloon where he himself wonders why he’s such a jerk.
                Captain America’s leadership is not the same here as it will be later. He’s often barking threats and insults at the team, especially Hawkeye. Cap seems to have very little patience. Of course, he was just out of the military lifestyle, so I suppose this group who always questions his orders and tries to ignore him could be infuriating to someone used to military chain of command. He also suffers a lot of personal grief about finding his place in this new world. Today’s Captain America is viewed by his peers as unshakeable, and they treat him with such reverence and respect, it’s strange to see these Avengers in his face at every turn like they don’t want him around. Well, except Scarlet Witch, who has a bit of a crush on him.
                Also a surprise was how relatively calm Quicksilver is on the team. He also wants to be leader, and he’s an infamous hothead, but next to the others, he doesn’t come off that badly. It’s strange seeing him often stepping between the Alpha-male antics of Hawkeye and Captain America to be the voice of reason. In the future, his quirks explode into out-and-out villainy and madness, and I suppose that’s how I remember him the most. In the present, very few people like him. After the recent Skrull infiltration, he was so ashamed of many of his actions that he is falsely claiming that many of his felonious actions were actually performed by a Skrull impersonating him, a claim most people are willing to believe.
                Though all this team are still active, Hawkeye has been the break-out character. He was voted the most popular Avenger in a 1989 fan poll and is one of the select few to be featured in the motion picture. He even starts as a “villain” in the film, just as he did in his comic book history. He has a lot of growing to do in these early tales to become the fan favorite he is, but some of his quirks are here. He starts a short flirtation with the Scarlet Witch, even though he claims to love the Black Widow, who he just left behind in a hospital and then never checks up on. Hawkeye’s flirtations and relationships with the ladies on his different teams continue over and over again. If he hadn’t been married for so long, I’m sure it would have been much worse. He’s currently hooked up with Spider-Woman, for now. Ah, well. I’m not ashamed to admit Hawkeye is my favorite Avenger as well.

Avengers Vol 1 16.jpg
Avengers 16
The Old Order Changeth
May, 1965
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers

To vanquish the villains without causing collateral damage, Thor creates a dimensional warp that takes Black Knight and Melter to another dimension, where they are easily defeated. Enchantress and Executioner are left by themselves in New York, and they slink away. Thor is called away to a trial in Asgard, and Iron Man, Wasp, and Giant-Man all decide to take a break from the Avengers. Before Captain America and Rick Jones can return from South America, Hawkeye breaks into Avengers Mansion and demands to be a new member. He claims he is just a misunderstood outlaw, and Iron Man vouches for him. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch see the team is looking for new members, and they travel to the United States to leave their villainous days behind. Captain America finally returns and discovers he’s now the leader of a brand-new team of Avengers.

Giant-Man, of Hawkeye: “I’m sold! How about you, Wasp?”
Wasp: “Va va voom!” Oh. Eh, I mean—He ought to do fine.”

Scarlet Witch: “How different is their comradeship from the fear and distrust of the evil mutants!”

·         Iron Man sends a message to Namor asking him to join the team, but Namor refuses.
·         Iron Man’s last piece of advice is to recruit the Hulk. Obviously, he believes every team needs a “strong guy.”
·         This issue states that the Federal Security Agency needs to approve new members. This is the first hint they are in any way beholden to federal authorities in their operation.
·         This issue is the first appearance of butler Edwin Jarvis in Avengers. He was already Tony Stark’s butler. He is tied up and shot at by Hawkeye so Hawkeye can prove his skill, and he stays on, proving his nerves of steel.
·         On returning to the mansion, everyone is overjoyed to see Captain America. Rick says, “What am I--a fever blister?” Fever blisters are caused by the herpes virus. Racy!
·         Dick Ayers did the finished art over Jack Kirby’s layouts. Layouts are usually far rougher than the usual pencil drawings, so Dick Ayers was credited as the artist. He had inked six previous issues, including issue 1.
·        Photographer Phil Sheldon is at this press conference in Marvels (1994) 2.
Marvel Heroes & Legends 1997
Avengers Assemble!
November, 1997
Written by  James Felder
Art by Sal Buscema, Dick Ayers, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane 

This special one-shot issue details the events immediately before and during Avengers 16 in greater detail with a series of vignettes featuring many of the individual heroes and civilians. 

Rick Jones, to Captain America: “I hate when a guy your age runs faster than me!” 

·         James Felder wrote and edited various other Marvel projects over the years. He is also a writer of the “Yellowjacket” episode of the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon that debuted ten days ago on 9/9/2012.
·         When the Teen Brigade sees Hawkeye has joined, they ask, “Who’ll they take next--Attila the Hun?!!” Rick Jones fought the actual Attila the Hun in Avengers 10, but the time paradox at the end of that issue means it never happened, so the Teen Brigade would not have known. Coincidence?
·         On his way to Avengers Mansion, Quicksilver gets lost and saves May Parker and Mary Jane Watson from being hit by a speeding car. The ladies are discussing Mary Jane being set up with Peter Parker on a blind date.
·         The Avengers are bothered by photographer Harris Hobbs, a reporter who was obsessed with Thor and Asgard in Thor’s own series.
·         This story shows that the Wasp licenses her image for pin-ups and modeling.
·         On returning to the mansion, everyone is overjoyed to see Captain America. Rick says, “And what am I--dandruff?” Less racy!
·         When Captain America bids Iron Man good-bye, he calls him “Tony.” At this point, Tony Stark’s identity was still secret, as was everyone’s on the team but Captain America.
·         The final page is a Gil Kane pin-up with some future Avengers in the background. One of them is Daredevil, who did not join the team until 2011, 14 years after this was published. Oops.
·         Dick Ayers had art duties on this special as well as the issue from 32 years earlier that it was based on.

Thunderbolts Vol 1 9.jpg

Thunderbolts 9, pages 6 through 20
December, 1997
Life Lessons
Written by Roger Stern
Art by Ron Frenz

This flashback sequence from immediately after Avengers 16 is recounted by the Black Widow to two Thunderbolts members, Mach-One and Songbird, to show how that classic group of Avengers, who were mostly reformed villains, handled the disdain and disrespect of the public to become champions of good. She relates how Radioactive Man saw the new team and lured them to his Chinatown hideout by faking a Hulk sighting. The New York Mayor’s Office didn’t even want the new Avengers to go out in public, so Captain America went alone to investigate and was captured. Radioactive Man boasted about it and promised to make future ransom demands, but the new team tracked down his hideout and rescued Captain America. Even with this success, the public still didn’t like or trust them. 

Hawkeye: “Teen Brigade?! What decade is this?!” 

·         Protestors of the new lineup leak footage from Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s attempted takeover of Santo Marco from X-Men 4.
·         The new team’s status is questioned by Harrington Byrd, a senator who also investigated Tony Stark for being a communist.
·         The Daily Bugle is shown to vilify the new Avengers members, treatment much like Spider-Man usually gets from that paper.
·         A sarcastic reporter calls Quicksilver “Dagwood,” due to his hairstyle’s resemblance to the Dagwood Bumstead character from the Blondie comic strip. Hmm...

·         This story shows retroactively why Radioactive Man was not involved in the events of Avengers 15 and 16. He was not in jail to be rescued.
·         Though Black Widow tells this story, she was left comatose in the hospital by Hawkeye right before it happened and was not present for any of it.
·         Black Widow tells this story to Songbird. In the 1998 series Avengers Forever, it’s implied that Songbird will become an Avenger in the future. She hasn’t. We’re still waiting.
·         At this point, the Thunderbolts had kept it secret from the public that they were secretly members of the Masters of Evil. Black Widow’s story involves a founding member of the Masters of Evil and a future Thunderbolt--Radioactive Man.
·         Featured Avenger Hawkeye will also go on to become leader of the Thunderbolts.
·         Coincidentally, this flashback was printed a month after Marvel Heroes & Legends 1997, and the stories they were based on took place within a month of each other in 1965.

Avengers Vol 1 17.jpg

Avengers 17
Four Against the Minotaur
June, 1965
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and Dick Ayers 

Following Iron Man’s advice, the Avengers are seeking out the Hulk. During a training session, a robot breaks into the mansion and announces that the Hulk is in the desert. The Avengers go the American Southwest and are caught in a trap by the Mole Man, who sent the robot. They are separated in a rock slide, and Quicksilver is captured by Moloids. The others defeat a large creature called the Minotaur and leave it with its horns embedded in solid rock. After they free Quicksilver, the overwhelmed Mole Man sends them back to the surface. After their victory, the Avengers decide they are strong enough without the Hulk and choose not to pursue him for membership.

Quicksilver, to Mole Man: “There once was a man…named Magneto! I thought he spoke like an old-time movie villain! But, you outdo even him!” 

Hawkeye, to Scarlet Witch: “You don’t have to do anything, gorgeous! Just stand there and let us look at you!” 

·         This issue is the first to feature the expansive sub-basement training and equipment levels hidden under Avengers Mansion. When Hawkeye sees it, he says it’s not as impressive as Disneyland. Disney now owns Marvel Comics.
·         With just the clue of “the desert,” Captain America guides the team to the spot the Avengers fought the Lava Men in issue 5, and it is exactly where the Mole Man’s trap lies.
·         Ironically, the Hulk was really less than a mile from this location, fighting in the Leader’s hidden lab. Scenes from a Hulk story in Tales to Astonish 69 are shown in this issue.
·         The Avengers surmise that if the Minotaur where to free himself from the solid rock, his horns would be severed and he would die from the wound. This beast was never seen again…
·         Rick Jones appears at the beginning of the training sequence, but feeling he will never be a full Avenger, he goes to track the Hulk on his own and also appears in Tales to Astonish 69. He won’t return to the pages of Avengers for several years.
·         In the same Tales to Astonish 69, former Avenger Giant-Man decides his health is being negatively affected by his size-changing, so he retires from superheroics and his series ends.

Avengers Vol 1 18.jpg
Avengers 18
When the Commissar Commands!
July, 1965
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and Dick Ayers 

In the land of Sin-Cong, the Communist leader The Commissar seeks to prove his might to his people. He sends a message to the Avengers, pretending it is from a group of rebels to his own regime. When the Avengers arrive in Sin-Cong, they fight through a wave of soldiers. Scarlet Witch falls into a pitfall trap and is taken to the dungeons. The other Avengers are gassed when they seek to free her, leaving all in captivity. The Commissar challenges each Avenger in turn to one-on-one combat and proves he is more than a normal human. He defeats all three men and declares himself superior. He had overlooked the Scarlet Witch since she was a woman, but he is coerced into battling her. She uses her hex power to reveal that the Commissar is really a robot and destroys his control panel, humiliating the Communist regime. 

Captain America: “Stand by, while I tackle him!”
Hawkeye: “How come it’s always you?? What do you want—a team of Avengers, or a cheering gallery??”

·         Before the mission, Hawkeye shows he has technical and scientific expertise by creating his own ultra-sonic arrow, which causes its target to levitate.
·         The country of Sin-Cong is here a puppet of the Chinese government. It will be seen again as the place Swordsman grew up and is also the homeland of Wong Chu, the villain that captured Tony Stark when he created his Iron Man armor.
·         This issue shows that the Avengers have small radios hidden in their civilian clothes. Hawkeye’s is in his ring, Scarlet Witch has one in a brooch, and Quicksilver’s is in a watch.
·         When the Scarlet Witch is blindfolded, she claims she “cannot use her powers.” She may just mean it would not be safe.
·         This is the ninth issue which Don Heck was credited as the penciler, meaning he had now penciled the majority of the issues of the series.

Avengers Vol 1 19.jpg

Avengers 19
The Coming of the Swordsman!
August, 1965
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and Dick Ayers 

The mysterious Swordsman wants to join the Avengers, and he tries to prove himself against them in battle, but he is defeated by Captain America, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Captain America researches the intruder and finds he has been exiled from a dozen countries. When Hawkeye arrives on the scene, he tells the others that the Swordsman is someone from Hawkeye’s own past, a mentor from Hawkeye’s circus days who ended up being a criminal. The letter Captain America wrote to Nick Fury in issue 15 ends up in Swordsman’s hands, and he drafts a fake response to lure Cap to a warehouse for a showdown. By chance, Hawkeye finds out about the ruse on patrol, and the rest of the team goes to intercept Captain America. When they arrive, Swordsman has Captain America dangling over the edge of high roof, and he demands to be made leader of the Avengers. Rather than let his team be swayed, Captain America jumps himself. 

Scarlet Witch: “As for the last word, that is a woman’s prerogative—as you shall see!”

Scarlet Witch: “There is an aura of subtle evil about him—I can sense it!” 

·         This is the first appearance of the first Swordsman, Jacques Duquesne.
·         Swordsman wants to be a member because he thinks he can get away with anything once he is. He really wants an Avengers ID card, though no such item has been seen yet.
·         Hawkeye’s origin from this issue is retold and expanded upon many times in future years. Although he says here Swordsman trained him in archery, he was really trained by another man, Trickshot. Hawkeye may have been covering up most of the details and just focusing on his relationship with the Swordsman so the Avengers knew what they were up against.
·         Hawkeye finds Captain America by tracking a hidden disc that is on all the members. Cap’s is in his belt.
·         Starting this month, the cover has a graphic that this is a “Pop Art Production.” Stan Lee was trying to rebrand comics as being in the same arena as fine art and culture. The pop art movement in the United States sometimes borrowed graphics and imagery from comic strips, such as in the work of Roy Lichtenstein.

Avengers Vol 1 20.jpg

Avengers 20
Vengeance is Ours!
September, 1965
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and Wallace Wood 

Captain America is in free fall, but the team is able to save him from a fatal landing. Swordsman disappears when the Mandarin, an foe of Iron Man, teleports him away. Mandarin’s plan is to await Iron Man’s return to the mansion and destroy both the Avengers and Iron Man with Swordsman as his pawn. Mandarin sends an image of Iron Man to the Avengers, which tells them Iron Man is backing Swordman’s membership, so the Avengers admit Swordsman as a member. Swordsman plants a bomb, but after several days, Iron Man has not returned to the mansion, mostly because he’s not an active member. Mandarin grows impatient and sets the bomb to detonate. Instead of leaving the mansion, Swordsman has  a change of heart and goes to deactivate it. The Avengers catch him removing the bomb and assume he was planting it. A fight breaks out, and the Swordsman escapes, detonating the bomb safely in midair. 

Mandarin: “Witless Occidental fool! Do you think to impress the Mandarin with such savage, unthinking tactics??!” 

Hawkeye: “Next thing y’know we’ll be swearin’ in Dr. Doom!” 

·         Swordsman taunts Mandarin by calling him “Fu Manchu,” a villain from the pulp stories of Sax Rohmer which started in 1912. In 1973, Marvel would introduce Fu Manchu as an actual character in their universe. Fu Manchu was the father of the heroic Shang-Chi, who would go on to become a Avenger. Due to licensing issues, Marvel can no longer use the Fu Manchu name, so he goes by the alias Zheng Zu. Zheng Zu was recently killed (again) in Secret Avengers (2010) 10.
·         Swordsman’s sword is upgraded in this issue by the Mandarin with new weapons like a flamethrower, gas jet, electric beam, force beam and disintegration beam.
·         Swordsman is a member of the Avengers for about three pages, possibly the shortest membership in their history. Narration says a few days passes in those pages, so he may have lasted longer chronologically as a member than the Hulk did between issues 1 and 2.
·         Wallace Wood begins a short inking stint with this issue. He has a large catalog of work and was one of the original artists for Mad magazine in 1952. In 1989, he was the first inductee into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame, part of the Harvey Awards given out for comic book excellence. He also designed the modern red costume of Daredevil and the often-mocked costume for DC’s Power Girl character.

Avengers Vol 1 21.jpg

Avengers 21
The Bitter Taste of Defeat
October, 1965
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and Wallace Wood 

We discover that one of Baron Zemo’s mercenaries, Erik Josten, is still hanging around his fortress in the Amazon. He finally unearths the machine that was used to create Wonder Man. The Enchantress was monitoring him and arrives there to help him activate the machine and empowers Josten to become Power Man. Her newest plot involves framing the Avengers. Using her magic, she creates false emergencies that trick the Avengers into destroying public property, so the public gets angry at the Avengers. Later, Captain America witnesses Power Man attacking police officers and battles him. Enchantress uses magic to dull Cap’s reactions, so Power Man wins the battle. It is revealed that the cops were disguised robbers, so Power Man is hailed as a hero and Captain America is further disgraced. The Avengers, each in turn, track down Power Man to his home and are defeated. When the Scarlet Witch arrives, she and the other Avengers are arrested for trespassing on Power Man’s property. The city forces the team to disband.

Quicksilver: “Don’t do it, Hawkeye! Cap has humbled better men than you before!”
Hawkeye: “Correction, Whitey! There aren’t any better men than me!” 

·         The Enchantress has left her partner Executioner before this issue because, as she says, “He was a fool!”
·         This is the first appearance of Power Man, who after other aliases, ends up as Atlas, a member of the Thunderbolts. He currently appeared as a member of the Revengers, led by Wonder Man, who also received his powers from the same ionic machine.
·         Several of Zemo’s mercenaries appear in the background of issue 15, but this is the official first appearance of Erik Josten, so supposedly he was not one of them. It’s later told that his primary duties were smuggling in the equipment Zemo used to build the ionic device.
·         When Wonder Man received his powers, he had the threat of death looming over him. No mention is made that Power Man will also die from his powers. In the letter column in issue 27, a fan writes in that maybe Enchantress cast a spell on Power Man to protect him. Stan Lee, answering the letter, said that sounded reasonable enough.
·         The Power Man name was taken over by Luke Cage in later years. Neither man really liked the alias that much.
·         Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are seen attending a performance of Hello, Dolly!, starring Carol Channing. That Broadway show won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It ran till 1970. Channing won a Tony for Best Actress for her performance in 1964, beating Barbra Streisand's performance in Funny Girl. Streisand would go on to play the same character in the movie version of Hello, Dolly! in 1969 instead of Channing.
·         In Journey Into Mystery Annual 1, future Avenger Hercules makes his debut this month.
·         Patsy Walker, future Avenger Hellcat, debuts this month in Fantastic Four Annual 3.

Avengers Vol 1 22.jpg

Avengers 22
The Road Back!
November, 1965
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and Wallace Wood

The team disbands as ordered and must look for work, but their reputations are so poor, they can’t get jobs. The Circus of Crime, posing as a legitimate circus, is ready to employ Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch, but once the ex-Avengers find out the circus plans to rob patrons, a fight breaks out. When the police arrive, the Ringmaster says that the Avengers are trying to rob him, so the Avengers retreat and are disgraced again. Captain America disguises himself as a talent agent and gets Power Man to reveal the plan that discredited the Avengers, but his disguise fails, and Power Man defeats him in battle. Cap’s emergency signal had been activated during the fight, so the other Avengers show up and battle Power Man to a standstill after the Enchantress flees the scene. With the plot public knowledge, the Avengers are cleared, but Captain America decides to quit!

Captain America: “Take off—all of you! I never could stomach a bunch of quitters!” 

Captain America: “Don’t threaten me, big man! I’ve been threatened by experts!” 

·         Hawkeye tries to book a gig on the Ed Sullivan Show, a popular variety television program that ran from 1948 to 1971. He doesn’t get on.
·         The issue gives an update about what is going on with Iron Man and Thor in their own series, but claims ignorance as to what Giant-Man is doing. His series was no longer being published. Namor, the Sub-Mariner took over his spot in Tales to Astonish.
·          Some government officials are shown getting ready to put on an Avengers Day the following Sunday in order to celebrate the fact that the team has been cleared of wrongdoing. It is not seen until Marvels (1994) 3, however. The Avengers Day in issue 45 is a bit too far in the future to be the same one.

Avengers Vol 1 23.jpg

Avengers 23
Once an Avenger…
December, 1965
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and John Romita 

Kang plots to kidnap the Avengers, so he sends a ship back in time. The ship disguises itself as the top floor of mansion and takes Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver to the future. Captain America returns to the mansion after he hears they are missing. In the future, Kang is trying to win the love of Ravonna, a princess of a city-state of that time period. He has summoned the Avengers to prove his worth in battle in front of her and captures Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch. Captain America has discovered Kang is behind the abduction and figures that he is still being monitored. He yells out a challenge to Kang, and Kang is obliged to bring him to the future as well, but Cap and Quicksilver are also defeated. Ravonna does not respect Kang’s warlike ways and says she prefers tenderness and gallantry. Sensing his cause with her is lost, he orders his army to attack the city and complete his conquest through force rather than marriage. 

Kang: “Though Captain America possessed no super-power…he was the spark that lit their flame of glory!” 

·         The letterer of this issue is credited as Sherigail, a pen name of Ray Holloway. It’s the first issue not lettered by Art Simek or Sam Rosen, who had switched off lettering duties back and forth up to this point. Letterers create the word balloons, text, and sound effects that are placed on the artwork and usually design the logos and title graphics for each series as well.
·         Captain America uses a device called a “recreater” to see the recent past and discover what happened to the team. A footnote says the editor, Stan, can’t remember when it was last used by Iron Man. It must have been in another series, because wasn’t used in Avengers.
·         This is the first appearance of Ravonna, who will play a large part in the continuing story of Kang.
·         Although Kang often spoke of his vast armies, this is the first time they actually appear in Avengers. Previous to this, he was always alone when monitoring or encountering the Avengers.
·         The story is said to take place in the 40th century of Earth. This is probably Earth-6311, Kang’s home dimension.
·         With this issue, the “Pop Art Productions” experiment ended, so that graphic is not on the cover.
·         Future Avenger Crystal first appears in Fantastic Four 45 this month.

Avengers Vol 1 24.jpg

Avengers 24
From the Ashes of Defeat--!
January, 1966
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and Dick Ayers 

During the attack by Kang’s army on the city, Quicksilver is separated from the others and knocked out, and the other Avengers are captured. One of Kang’s generals, Baltag, senses weakness in Kang because of his emotions about Ravonna, so he plans a coup and takes over the city with the aid of other generals. Kang turns to the Avengers for aid, and with a revived Quicksilver, they defeat Baltag. Seeing Kang ally himself with noble warriors, Ravonna declares her warm feelings for him. The Avengers are returned to the present, but in that moment, Baltag shoots Ravonna in the back, and the Avengers fade away, not knowing what has happened/will happen in the future. 

Hawkeye, of Captain America: “Sonuvagun! He’s getting drunk with power! But I kinda like ‘im this way!” 

Future solider: “Were twentieth-century men so foolhardy as to allow powerless women to join them in battle? No wonder we now call their century The Age of Unreason!” 
  • When the Avengers ally with Kang, Hawkeye wonders (as he did with Swordsman in issue 20) if they’ll next swear in Doctor Doom. Unknown to Hawkeye, Doctor Doom is Kang’s ancestor, and he appears in the last panel of this very issue and next issue.
  • Two panels from this issue were used for the Marvel Mash-Up feature in Ultimate Spider-Man issue 4.

Avengers Vol 1 25.jpg

Avengers 25
Enter…Dr. Doom!
February, 1966
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck and Dick Ayers 

Doctor Doom seeks to capture the Avengers in order to lure in the Fantastic Four. He sends a false message to Quicksilver, claiming he and Scarlet Witch have a biological aunt living in Latveria. The whole team goes there to meet her and are trapped inside a giant dome that covers the entire capital city. The Fantastic Four hear about this and leap into action, but their flight clearance is denied by the United States government because Latveria is a friendly nation to the United States. The Avengers manage to get past Doom’s defenses and destroy the dome’s controls, and they leave Latveria unharmed.
Hawkeye, thinking: “What’s the matter with me? Everything I say seems to come out wrong! I’m beginning to sound like the heavy in a grade-B movie! Rogers is right! I’ve got a big mouth!” 

Doctor Doom, thinking: “Someday I must rule all mankind as I rule this remote, comic-opera kingdom!” 

·         Doctor Doom respects Mr. Fantastic, but he also claims to fear Kang as well. He seems to think that Kang may be Doctor Doom's future self. On his first meeting with Kang (who was Rama-Tut then) Doctor Doom was spared by Kang, who bought the same argument and didn’t want to take a chance he was killing himself.
·         When Quicksilver rejoins the group, Hawkeye tells him “Welcome back to 77 Sunset Strip.” He’s referring to a detective television show that ran from 1958 to 1964, 77 Sunset Strip. Hawkeye also calls Doctor Doom’s castle “where the Munsters spend their vacation.” In a recent issue of Avenging Spider-Man, Hawkeye claims, “I don’t watch much TV,” because he has to train so extensively.
·        In Marvels (1994) 3, a short scene celebrating the first Avengers Day and the clearing of the Avengers’ name is shown. The city apologizes for disbanding them and thinking they were criminals. Since Captain America left the team immediately at the end of issue 22, the start of this issue would be the first time all four heroes are available for that event.
·        Thor (2007) 600 has a backup story written by Stan Lee that tells a tale from this time period. Thor assists the Avengers in defeating robots from the Raggador Galaxy as part of his normal routine, even though he wasn’t part of the team. There are a few places this story could take place, but this is the last chance before Wasp and Goliath become get involved with the team again.

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