Thursday, November 1, 2012

Avengers 53 to 60, including Avengers Special 2 (6/68 to 1/69)

Finally wedded.
Ultimate evil first born.
It will end in tears. 

Black Panther; T’Challa
Captain America; Steve Rogers
Goliath/Yellowjacket; Henry “Hank” Pym
Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Wasp; Janet Van Dyne 

Voting members:
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Thor; Donald Blake 

Alternate timeline member:
Hulk; Bruce Banner 

Featured Allies/Enemies:
Black Widow; Natasha Romanoff
Bucky; James Barnes
Black Knight; Dane Whitman
Quicksilver; Pietro Maximoff
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff

                In this next cycle of issues, Roy Thomas lays a lot of groundwork for future Avengers sagas, whether he knew it or not. The relationships between  Henry Pym, Janet Van Dyne, Ultron, and the Vision will form the basis of dozens of future storylines, some of them confusing and contradictory, but often very dramatic. Though the Avengers face many master villains, the fact that Pym created Ultron himself makes him thoroughly an Avengers foe first and foremost, unlike the other Marvel villains who are equal-opportunity offenders. Loki may be the best-known Avengers villain after the film, but he is really a Thor villain who sometimes bothers the Avengers. Ultron is the Avengers’ albatross, and they have been wholly unable to get rid of him.
                The creation of Vision is another milestone for the team. All the other members had lives and adventures of their own before being featured in this series. Roy Thomas may have based facets of this new character on the Golden Age Vision, but he is the first Avenger to be wholly created in this series and join the team before being seen elsewhere. In addition to providing a counterpart to the emotional human members of the team, Vision provided some much-needed muscle as well.  His variety of abilities and brute strength will make the team far more capable in the long run.
                For people familiar with Black Panther from the modern era, the character from this era must seem very subdued. Today he is outfitted with impressive technology to rival Iron Man’s, but then he merely had a regular costume and subdued his foes with speed, acrobatics, and combat ability. His intellect has become one of the most featured in the modern Marvel Universe, and his knowledge encompasses several areas of science. There are flashes of that here, but hardly anything past Hawkeye and Wasp stating they have no idea of what’s going on while Goliath and Black Panther put everything together.
                It appears that Black Panther is merely taking Captain America’s slot, even though Cap does return for an adventure or two. Later writers, who wrote Black Panther as being highly tactical and using extreme forethought, reflect back on this era differently and reveal that T’Challa was actually spying on the Avengers out of concern for his country’s well-being. He joined the group merely to see what they were capable of and if they would be any threat to his homeland. He comes to respect them and admire them and truly be an Avenger at heart, but it was interesting to me how his motives were changed later to not as noble as they first appear to be. This may be because modern notions of leaders leave no room for a fully altruistic man. He must have ulterior motives he keeps hidden to seem real to a jaded audience.
                It’s interesting to see how the “big brain” characters were handled back then versus today. Both Henry Pym and T’Challa are among the mental giants of the Marvel Universe now. The smart guys of yesterday where technically savvy. They could put together Doom’s Time Machine, of which they knew nothing, and jury-rig it to affect an entire room and send a specific person into a “timeless time,” which they probably didn’t even know about to start with. And this is all simply moving the right wires around. They didn’t have a computer software interface. If you were smart, you could build whatever you want, despite your background. The guy who used that time machine and built one of the most durable artificial intelligences ever in 1968, he was a biochemist whose speciality was insects. Doesn’t matter. He was smart, and smart means if it can be done, he can do it if he needs to by instinct. That’s how intelligence was perceived back then. Something could be invented to make life better.
                Let’s look at the Marvel big brains now. They can still invent wonderful devices, but in the 44 years since 1968, we’ve seen amazing inventions in the real world that have changed everything about our lives as never before. But do we feel overall safer and happier? Despite some statistics about crime safety, I would say our perception is we do not feel things have improved. Technology has solved many of our little problems, but the big problems remain, mostly because they stem from people’s actions toward one another and their lack of foresight, and no gadget has been shown to fix that. Today’s Marvel super brains show their intellect by outsmarting each other and the situation. They intuit the future based on data, just in their head, and have already thought of countermeasures to reach their objective. In the recent Avengers vs. X-Men event, Black Panther had a satellite set up to counteract his own wife Storm’s powers in the chance he ever had to fight her, and it had been in place for a long time. He was prepared for what should have been the unthinkable, but he is always shown as prepared. I think that’s what people want from their leaders now, not the smarts to build computers, but the smarts to stop problems cold no matter what and not be surprised by things like economic crises or housing bubbles or alien invasions.
                Hawkeye stays Hawkeye. God love him. He does mess up his relationship with the Black Widow by not being available for her. Of course, part of this may be the standards of the time. Their relationship rarely showed any signs of passion outside of dialogue. Nowadays Clint and his girl Spider-Woman are definitely having quality time in a variety of places, but that’s probably more a sign of what’s acceptable. Who today would think of Black Widow as the somewhat cold fish she’s shown to be here? Maybe she needs to get her red hair back first. And believe it or not, we still didn’t know Hawkeye’s real name. Soon, though.

Avengers Vol 1 53.jpg

Avengers 53
In Battle Joined!
June, 1968
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and George Tuska 

The issue opens with the Avengers arriving on Magneto’s island base. They see Quicksilver unconscious with Cyclops standing over him, and Cyclops attacks them. He delays them by bringing down some of the structure of the base and goes to find his X-Men teammates. A flashback shows how the X-Man Angel went to get the Avengers and bring them here to help free the X-Men and stop Magneto. The Avengers put on a pretense of not trusting Angel and leave him loosely tied up, thinking correctly that Magneto is spying on them.  Magneto reveals his mind-control plot to take over the world, and he has already preconditioned the X-Men to respond to his commands. Before the two teams can join forces, the X-Men feel the overwhelming urge to kill the Avengers, and the two teams battle. Angel has avoided the melee and sneak-attacks Magneto and Toad, destroying the machinery that gives Magneto control over the X-Men. In retreat, Magneto orders Toad to blow up the section of the base with the heroes in it. Toad has become resentful of Magneto’s treatment of him and instead blows up the entire base with Magneto stranded there. Everyone but Magneto escapes and goes their own way, but Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are with Toad and do not return with the Avengers. 

Goliath, thinking: “The Avengers can’t be beaten by a bunch of Mutant turncoats! They can’t be!” 

·         This issue directly follows X-Men (1963) 45, where the Avengers appear in the last panel. Hawkeye’s camera arrow is also shown in the background spying on events.
·         George Tuska inks this issue. He also penciled the backup story in X-Men 45, making him part of the creative team on both issues. X-Men regularly featured a 15-page main story and a 5-page backup story at this time.
·         Hawkeye says the Avengers are “not Strawberry Alarm Clock.” This was a psychedelic rock band active when the issue was published.
·         At first, Cyclops thinks the Avengers are imposters. Hercules is no longer with the team, and Black Panther is a stranger to him.
·         Magneto mockingly calls Toad by the name of Caliban, a monstrous character from Shakespeare’s The Tempest who resided on an island and was slave to a sorcerer, paralleling Magneto’s island base and Magneto himself.
·         It appears Scarlet Witch has lost her powers as well as her memory from being grazed by the bullet in issue 51.
·         Of the combatants in this issue, the only ones who don’t take part in the recent Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover in 2012 are the two women, Wasp and Jean Grey, who were both thought dead at the time. All the men were still active. It’s tough being a superheroine.

Avengers Vol 1 54.jpg

Avengers 54
...And Deliver Us from the Masters of Evil!
July, 1968
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and George Tuska 

The Avengers are testing their new security systems, and they brief their butler Jarvis on the location of the new traps. It is Jarvis’ day off, and when he leaves the mansion, he goes straight to the hidden layer of a new Masters of Evil group. Jarvis gives the floor plans to the Crimson Cowl and reveals that he needs money for his sick mother. Instead of paying him, the Crimson Cowl gases Jarvis. Among the Masters is the new Black Knight, taking his uncle’s place in the old group. This heroic Knight is really spying on them and has no intention of taking part in their plan to attack the Avengers. Black Knight sneaks away to warn the Avengers before the planned raid, but the Crimson Cowl had foreseen his treachery, and the Masters of Evil are waiting for Black Knight at Avengers Mansion. He is subdued, but his winged steed gets away and attracts the attention of Hawkeye. Despite the brief warning something is up, the Avengers are defeated one by one by the individual Masters of Evil and are left prisoners. Crimson Cowl reveals that he is really Edwin Jarvis! 

Klaw: “Bah! A mere wisp of a girl is no opponent for me—as I protested to him who is our nominal leader! There is no need even for me to waste a sonic blast on you--!” 

·         This is the first appearance of a Crimson Cowl. Each time this alias was used, it was by the leader of the Masters of Evil or someone framed by the true Crimson Cowl to cause confusion.
·         This is the first appearance of master villain Ultron, though he is disguised. The cloaked Jarvis pulls back a hood to reveal Ultron’s real face, but falsely claims it is a simple robot serving him.
·         Klaw is a Black Panther villain. He joined the Masters of Evil primarily to face him again. He does call him by the full name, “Black Panther,” ending the use of simply “Panther.” Despite their rivalry, Klaw is assigned the capture of Wasp instead of Black Panther.
·         Black Knight’s winged steed is called by his name, Aragorn, for the first time in this issue.
·         Radioactive Man expects Goliath to still be using capsules to change size and is surprised to see he doesn’t need them any longer. He also uses a gun that sprays Adhesive X, a leftover weapon from Baron Zemo.
·         Although Goliath mentioned that he could keep his 25-foot size for up to 15 minutes again, he changes size rapidly in this issue, so it seems he does not have to stay that size for the full 15 minutes any longer.
·         Bill Foster is working at the mansion and bravely attacks Radioactive Man to give Goliath a chance to plan his attack, but he is quickly glued up and not seen again.
·         When this tale was reprinted, artist Steve Ditko created a new cover that showed the reverse angle of the Avengers 54 cover. The Masters of Evil are in the wrong order, though.

Marvel Triple Action Vol 1 47.jpg

Avengers Vol 1 55.jpg
Avengers 55
Mayhem Over Manhattan!
August, 1968
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and George Klein 

The imprisoned Avengers are placed in a hydrogen bomb which will be dropped on Manhattan unless a ransom is paid. Ultron-5 reveals his true identity, though no one knows who he is, and strikes Jarvis down. The Melter is tasked with disposing of Jarvis, but Jarvis revives and barely escapes after the Melter brings a building down on him. A wounded Jarvis limps back to the Mansion after no bystanders will help him and runs into the forgotten Black Knight, to whom he reveals Ultron’s plot. The Black Knight manages to find the airship carrying the bomb and blast a hole in the side of the bomb, freeing the Avengers. Though the Masters of Evil are defeated, Whirlwind and Ultron-5 manage to escape. The Black Knight goes his own way as well. Based on his part on helping free them, Jarvis is forgiven and returns to his post. 

Melter: “You can’t exactly capture the Avengers just by scattering around some flypaper, Cowl!” 

Black Panther: “I must admit, my glowing friend, that I do prefer the company of lions and leopards! They’re much more trustworthy than the predators one finds in so-called civilization!”
Radioactive Man: “That did it! It’s not bad enough that jungle-come-lately knocks us around...but, if he’s gonna start making with the social comments as well..!” 

Goliath: “You may have betrayed us...but then you risked your life for us! If that doesn’t square accounts, we’re not worthy of the name Avengers!” 

·         This is the first issue inked by George Klein. He had worked almost exclusively for DC Comics, but began work for Marvel in 1968. He had worked on the Golden Age Timely books that were Marvel Comics’ precursors in the forties.
·         Goliath is able to recover quickly because of superhuman endurance. He claims that years of being a giant give him this fortitude even at his normal height.
·         Wasp calls Hawkeye, “tall, dark, and handsome.” Hawkeye is hardly dark, being a blond with blue eyes.
·         Ultron designates himself Ultron-5, as he is the fourth upgrade from the original.
·         It is revealed that Jarvis’ actions were due to hypnotism on the part of Ultron. Jarvis still feels terrible guilt about it and takes responsibility for his weakness. He also states that he wrongly assumed the Avengers would still defeat the Masters of Evil despite his treachery.
·         Throughout this adventure, the Avengers continue to think Black Knight is the same man they faced before, even after he aids them a second time here. Though given a chance to explain, Dane Whitman keeps his identity secret.
·         In the letter column, Stan reveals that they dropped the “Black” from “Black Panther” not because of racial sensitivity, but to keep readers from getting confused with Black Knight, Black Widow, Black Bolt, etc. After many complaints, they returned to Black Panther.
·         Hawkeye has no bow or arrow in the final battle, but he quickly improvises one with machine parts and cable.
·         A letter writer suggest the Avengers get their own island base called Avengers Island. They will eventually have a base with such a name, but not until the late eighties.

Avengers Vol 1 56.jpg

Avengers 56
Death Be Not Proud!
September, 1968
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and George Klein 

A message from Captain America leads the Avengers to a deserted castle. The castle’s traps still function, for this is Doctor Doom’s castle, which houses his time platform device. Captain America wants to travel back in time to when his former partner Bucky supposedly died. Captain America has a gut feeling Bucky may have survived and wants to verify it. The Avengers, minus Wasp, travel back to that date and observe as ghostly versions of themselves. They witness the 1945 Captain America and Bucky battle Baron Zemo and his Humanoid robot, and the heroes of the past are knocked out. Wasp becomes drowsy and hits a button in 1968, and the Avengers become solid, attacking Zemo and his forces. The effect is temporary, and the team begins to fade for a trip to the present. As his last act, Captain America frees his past self, and events occur as he remembered them. In the present, he claims that his doubts have been put to rest and that he believes Bucky truly died. 

Goliath: “You’ve always accepted the fact of Bucky’s matter how guilty you felt about it! What suddenly changed your mind...filled you with gnawing doubts?”
Captain America: “I don’t know! I just...don’t know! But I called you here...because I must find out!” 

·         Black Panther returns to wearing his full facemask. Readers didn’t like the new design that showed his mouth.
·         Avengers 4 showed Captain America and Bucky fighting Baron Zemo while in their army uniforms like civilians, and Captain America was found on ice in tattered army clothing with his costume and shield underneath. This issue shows that Baron Zemo dressed them up with those uniforms in order to cover the heroic costumes he could not bear to look on.
·         In Avengers 4, Captain America claimed the drone plane was Zemo’s and filled with explosives. In this story, Zemo is sending the Allies’ own experimental plane to Berlin so the Germans may analyze it, and he ties Captain America and Bucky to it to send them as trophies back to Hitler. No explosives. To be fair, Cap had just been unfrozen when he first recalled this.
·         Doctor Doom’s time machine was not used to send back “ghostly” time travelers before. This is a new use for it. Mr. Fantastic advised the Avengers that they would be invisible to those in the past. In the next story, Hawkeye does bring up the fact that the Avengers already existed as children or adults in the era they were going to. The Fantastic Four’s former adventures with the time machine were far in the past, and they would have no alternate self there, which may account for the different results, but this is conjecture. It’s not explained why the machine was left sitting there in Doom’s castle.
·         Wasp stays behind in a “parallel time continuum.” This may point to the past being that of a different universe. It may also be a way to explain that time is moving forward for Wasp in a parallel way it is moving forward for the Avengers in the past, so her pressing a button in the future must take effect in a specific moment during their trip, not any other.
·         This issue has a letter written in by Peter Sanderson Jr. After many years of corresponding to Marvel and DC comics, he would later become an archivist for both Marvel and DC, with the task of reading all their comics and cataloguing their fictional histories.
·         The World War II soldiers speak of reporting these events to G-2. Under the Continental Staff System, started in France in the late 18th Century, G stands for “general,” and 2 stands for the intelligence and security branch.

Avengers Annual Vol 1 2.jpg

Avengers Special 2
...And Time, The Rushing River
September, 1968
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Don Heck, Werner Roth, and Vince Colletta 

After returning from the time trip to World War II, the Avengers find their aero-car has disappeared, and citizens eye them with suspicion. Their own mansion’s defenses attack them, and they find another team of Avengers, this one made up of the original lineup, in their meeting room. Overmatched by the raw power of the “imposter” Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man, Captain America’s Avengers flee and seek out the Herodotron, a computer that has all of history easily accessible, for answers. They discover history changed at the point the Hulk left the team. Instead of leaving, the Scarlet Centurion intervened, convincing the Hulk to stay. He then told his Avengers that the ills of the world, such as hunger and poverty, could be solved if only all the superpowered people were eliminated. The Centurion’s Avengers took him at his word and imprisoned all other heroes and villains in an undisclosed manner. The Scarlet Centurion’s true motive is to take over himself, and he used his Avengers to remove all competition. The Centurion feared he would be unable to defeat his own Avenger team, so he manipulated the timeline to bring Captain America’s team of Avengers into conflict with them. Though they are physically weaker, the Centurion thinks their inside knowledge of their opponent Avengers will allow them to be victorious. This theory proves to be correct, and Captain America’s Avengers manage to defeat their stronger opponents and reassemble Doctor Doom’s time machine in this new history. Once this is done, the Scarlet Centurion attacks and defeats Captain America’s Avengers, except for Goliath, who shrinks into the time machine and manipulates it to send Scarlet Centurion back to his “timeless time.” The Watcher appears on the scene and narrates how all these changes in the timeline will be forgotten by everyone after things are returned to normal. 

Hulk (Earth-689): “Hunnh! You all put too much trust in the one who comes! You should be like Hulk...and trust nobody!” 

Iron Man (Earth-689):  “ matter how noble our matter what the outcome...I can’t feel any sense of triumph in this sneak attack!” 

Black Panther: “Time is like a river! Dam it up at any one point...and it has no choice but to flow elsewhere along other easier routes!” 

·         This is the first appearance of the Scarlet Centurion identity. This is the same character as has appeared before as Rama-Tut, Kang, and Immortus. This story takes place after the Rama-Tut identity and before the Kang identity, um, probably. I’ll trust the Watcher this time.
·         Another Earth, Earth 712, which is home to the Squadron Supreme, also has a Scarlet Centurion villain. Since Kang can travel between parallel Earths, it could be the same one or an alternate. The Squadron Supreme, similarly to the second team of Avengers here, tries to cure their Earth of all its mundane problems through their strong, if questionable rule.
·         The son of Kang, Marcus Kang, will later take on the Scarlet Centurion identity.
·         This alternate Earth is designated Earth-689, as debuting in September (9) of ’68.
·         The computer called the Herodotron is named after Herodotus, whose Histories, written from 450 to 420 B.C., related events from the Trojan War through to the Greco-Persian wars. He is one of the fathers of the modern historical tradition.
·         Scarlet Centurion reveals how he mentally influenced Captain America to have doubts about Bucky’s death and Wasp to become drowsy during their time travel in Avengers 56.
·         When the mainstream Wasp sees that that her Earth-689 counterpart is still wearing the same outfit as in Avengers 1, she mocks her  for it.
·         Uatu the Watcher appeared back in Avengers 14 to explain the ramifications of events in that issue as well.
·         This issue features of pin-up of every “full-fledged” Avenger. Swordsman is omitted, so perhaps I have been hasty calling him a member.

Avengers Vol 1 57.jpg

Avengers 57
Behold...the Vision!
October, 1968
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and George Klein 

A mysterious figure attacks Wasp in her apartment. It shows the ability to move through objects and fire a thermoscopic blast from its eyes. Though it nearly overpowers her, it suddenly collapses. Wasp summons the other Avengers, and they take the intruder to the Mansion. Scans show it is almost exactly like a human being, but synthetic in every way. It revives and attacks again. When questioned about who it is, it takes the name Vision and states that its mission is to destroy the Avengers. Its actions seems conflicted, as if it does not want to complete its given task, and eventually it stops even trying. Vision decides to instead lead the Avengers to its creator, Ultron-5, for answers. They all return to Ultron’s base, and all the Avengers are trapped or defeated by other androids. The Vision uses its power to pass through objects to escape the traps, and it defeats Ultron-5 in single combat and frees the Avengers. 

Goliath: “Ultron-5 has more kinds of androids than Andy Warhol has soup cans!” 

·         This is the first appearance of the Vision as an identity. He was designed using the artificial body of the original Human Torch, which had previously been seen in Timely Comics of the Golden Age and in Fantastic Four Annual 4. Due to the actions of the time-traveling Immortus, there are actually two duplicate bodies of this Human Torch, so Vision and Human Torch will later both be active at the same time. Various other reasons they could both appear, such as that Vision is made of the Human Torch’s spare parts, have also been thrown around over the years, some contradicting the others.
·         In a way, this is also a reappearance of Wonder Man, whose brain patterns were used to create Vision’s mind. Both Wonder Man and Vision were tasked with killing the Avengers, and both could not follow through, siding with the Avengers instead.
·         Vision is identified as being a synthozoid, a term which appears to have been coined here first. It refers to a being with artificial organs and tissues, but has mind based on a real human, not adaptive computer-programming.
·         Originally Roy Thomas wanted to bring the Golden Age Vision into the Marvel Universe. Stan Lee convinced him to make a new character that was an android instead, but visually they are similar. The idea to base Vision’s body off the Human Torch, another Golden Age character comes about later, not from Roy Thomas’ stories.

·         Vision names himself based off Wasp’s statement that he appears as a “unearthly, inhuman vision.”  We later learn that Ultron refused to give him a name, as he would have no need for one as an inhuman slave. In the “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” cartoon, Ultron names him Vision because he is Ultron’s “vision of the future.”
·         We see that Black Widow has given up retirement to go back to work for SHIELD. She is upset that Hawkeye spends no time with her and is always off on some emergency.
·         The final scene with a boy playing with Ultron’s deactivated head amidst demolished buildings is narrated with the poem “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. It describes a shattered statue that is the sole marker of what, possibly, was once a great empire ruled by an accomplished leader, but since nothing else remains of it, no one will ever know. Ozymandias will later be a character in X-Men, a servant to Apocalypse who is made of living stone and remains immortal, even in pieces. Here, we are to see how Ultron’s plans have left only a small piece of himself on a junk heap.
·         This issue was voted by fans as the 50th best Marvel comic from the first 75 years of Marvel's publication.

Avengers Vol 1 58.jpg

Avengers 58
Even an Android Can Cry
November, 1968
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and George Klein 

Vision has expressed a desire to join the Avengers, so Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor are brought in to vote on it. The Vision’s memory clears somewhat, and he remembers his “creation” at the hands of Ultron-5 and being sent on his mission to destroy the Avengers. Goliath now realizes he has missing memories of some of his own experiments on synthozoids, so he and the other Avengers go to his suburban lab to look for answers. He uses a Memory Bank device to remember that he had created the artificial life form that would be called Ultron. It had turned on Goliath, overpowered him, and hypnotized him to forget its existence. The Avengers also discover that the copy of Wonder Man’s brain patterns are missing from the lab, and they assume they were used in the creation of Vision. When these events come to light, the team decides to admit Vision as a member to the Avengers. Finding himself accepted, Vision sheds a tear during a private moment.

Vision: “Why have you called me to life?”
Ultron-5: “Not to ask such human-like questions, android! I was created to command...and you to obey!”
Vision: “I somehow sense you speak the truth...master! And yet I am consumed with curiosity...”
Ultron-5: “Such emotions are for human fools! You and I were born for better things!”

·         Ultron-1 springs to life without even being turned on by Goliath. Its first word is “Da-da.”
·         Between the flashback of its creation and its appearance as the Crimson Cowl, Ultron upgraded itself four times to become Ultron-5, but we do not see these stages of its development. It will continue to upgrade itself, but after Ultron-18, it ceases using number designations of its versions. In a future limited series, The Last Avengers Story, there is a an Ultron-59 in the far future.
·         Another full-page picture in this issue shows all the Avengers who have served, in addition to allies like Black Widow and Spider-Man, who had not yet been members. Still no Swordsman, though.
·         The flashback reveals that Goliath got ideas for Ultron from his study of Dragon Man back in Avengers 41 and 42.
·         Ultron seems have named itself. It does not speak its own name, but it calls its attack an “Ultro-blast.”
·         Goliath claims Ultron-1 has an Oedipus Complex, meaning it wants to kill its father and have sex with its mother. Though the latter does not seem to directly be part of Ultron’s plans, it will later try to create its own artificial “wife” based off Wasp’s brain patterns. We will later learn that Ultron’s mind is based off Goliath’s own brain patterns, so his interest in Wasp may reflect that of his creator more directly.
·         This story is later reprinted in Marvel Treasury Edition 13, a holiday-themed compilation. The story has no holiday connection, but the wraparound story in the treasury has Wasp wearing the same red and white-fur-trimmed outfit that she wears in this story, which makes them recall the tale.

Avengers Vol 1 59.jpg
Avengers 59
The name is...Yellowjacket!
December, 1968
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and George Klein 

A new hero, Yellowjacket, debuts by breaking up a robbery of fur coats. At an Avengers meeting, Goliath has not shown up, but Yellowjacket breaks into the Mansion and demands to be made a member. He claims to have “polished off” Goliath. He tells the startled Avengers that he attacked Goliath in his lab and beat him in battle, then shrunk him down so a spider could finish him off. The Avengers attack him, but Yellowjacket manages to grab Wasp. To avoid hurting her, the Avengers stop their attack. At his miniature lair, the Hornet’s Nest, Yellowjacket continues boasting to Wasp and forces her to kiss him. Suddenly appearing dazed, he breaks off the kiss and lets her go. The Avengers discover her tracker’s beacon has been turned on, and it leads them to a courthouse, where Wasp surprises them with her intention to marry Yellowjacket. 

Hawkeye: “Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t total this creep called Yellowjacket!”
Wasp: “I’ll give you...the best reason in the world, Hawkeye...I’m going to marry him!”

·         Vision’s face is added to the corner box starting this issue.
·         This is the first appearance of a Yellowjacket. The identity will mostly be used by Henry Pym, but there will be another Yellowjacket, Rita DeMara, a future Master of Evil who reforms and becomes an honorary member of the Avengers.
·         When Yellowjacket brags to the cops, he makes it clear they should spell his name as one word, no hyphen. Spider-Man should take a tip from this guy. His name is misspelled a lot.
·         J. Jonah Jameson puts his full support behind Yellowjacket publicly in the Daily Bugle. One of his reporters claims that Jonah happens to own half-interest in the furrier that Yellowjacket saved from robbery.
·         Hawkeye claims he wants to wrap up the meeting to watch the World Series. This would place the story between October 2 and October 10, assuming it is 1968.
·         Hawkeye imagines Black Widow’s assignment for SHIELD is testing nerve gas on herself. This is probably a flight of his imagination.
·         In a parallel to Hawkeye’s initiation in Avengers 14, Yellowjacket breaks into the Mansion and ties up Jarvis before he brazenly tells the team to make him a member.
·         Yellowjacket claims he can’t be prosecuted for the death of Hank Pym without a “corpus delicti.” This Latin phrase translates to “body of crime” in English, although a list of evidence can take the place of an actual corpse.

Avengers Vol 1 60.jpg

Avengers 60
...Till Death Do Us Part
January, 1969
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and Mike Esposito 

Preparations for the wedding are being made at Avengers Mansion. Despite their misgivings, Wasp’s teammates have promised not to object to the wedding or mention Goliath’s apparent demise, but many of the guests are uneasy. When Jarvis lets in the caterers, they attack him and reveal themselves to be old Avengers foes the Circus of Crime. After the wedding itself, Hawkeye stumbles upon them preparing to set explosives that will kill the assembled heroes, and they overpower him. They place Princess Python’s pet python in the wedding cake, and it springs out and wraps around Wasp. The snake is subdued, and despite this attack, the Avengers turn down help from their hero friends, and the rest of the guests leave. The Circus of Crime attack the Avengers. During the melee, Yellowjacket grows out of his costume and reveals he is truly Goliath. The Circus is easily defeated. Wasp reveals she suspected all along he was Hank Pym. Now that he faces the truth, he remembers that a mixture of experimental gases caused his personality to be altered, making him more aggressive and more eager to marry his longtime love Wasp. 

Wasp: “Whether you married me as Hank Pym...Yellowjacket...or as Wyatt’s equally legal! Need I add that I looked it up?” 

·         The mask of Goliath serves as a placeholder in the corner box for a few issues while Hank Pym figures out his identity.
·         Writer Roy Thomas wrote the script for this wedding issue while he was on his own honeymoon in the Caribbean.
·         The lettering duties had been back and forth between Art Simek and Sam Rosen for most of the run. With this issue, Sam Rosen has lettered the book for six issues in a row, the longest continuous run for a letterer.
·         The printed wedding invitation on the first page sets the date as Tuesday, November 21. In 1968, November 21 was on a Thursday. It was on a Tuesday in 1967, however. Captain America  states that the world hasn’t known of Yellowjacket beyond a few days. Per Hawkeye’s World Series comment last issue, the games would have been several weeks before the wedding, not a few days. Perhaps Hawkeye’s been so busy Avenging, he had to watch a recording? Maybe it’s the World Series of Archery? Continuity is tough!
·         In the 1998 mini-series, Avengers Forever, it is shown that Yellowjacket is summoned through time in the middle of this issue before his wedding. His adventures in the future take place, and he returns here to continue with his wedding after having his memory wiped of events in that series.
·         A policeman compares the couple of Wasp and Yellowjacket to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as another famous couple. The actors were still in the middle of their first marriage and hadn’t yet been divorced in 1969, but both couples would break up and then get back together and then break up yet again.
·         The priest officiating the wedding is the same one that married Reed Richards and Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four.
·         Among the wedding guests are Crystal and the Black Knight. They will later become a couple as active Avengers. This is the first time Crystal appears in the Avengers series. Her romance with Black Knight will take place after her marriage to another Avenger, Quicksilver.
·         The Circus of Crime want revenge primarily on Thor. They are disappointed he doesn’t attend the wedding.
·         Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, claims Wasp looks like a picture out of Millie the Model. This was another Marvel publication about the romances of a model named Millie. Roy Thomas’ first work for Marvel was a story in Modeling With Millie. Millie is also a real model in the Marvel Universe. She attended Sue Storm’s wedding and will become a modeling agent for several superheroines, including future Avengers Hellcat and She-Hulk.
·         The Black Knight cuts the wedding cake with his sword, but he mentions it is only a replica of his enchanted blade. This is the first time his ownership of a magical weapon is mentioned. In his last appearance in Avengers, Melter easily melted the sword he was using, so it was probably another replica.
·         Circus of Crime member Clown states he should have “listened to Emmett Kelly” after being advised by the Vision to surrender. Emmett Kelly was a famous clown who was later inducted into the International Circus Hall of Fame. He was known for playing a dour, sorrowful clown, so he may actually be referring to the emotionless Vision’s advice.
·         During the battle, Vision first mentions that he is powered by solar power.
·         Jarvis is tied up by the Circus of Crime. He was also tied up last issue by Yellowjacket. Hawkeye is likewise tied up, and both he and Jarvis are hung up side by side on hooks. Though Hawkeye frees himself, he leaves Jarvis tied up to rush off to the battle. Poor Jarvis.
·         The story of mind-altering experimental gases is only vouched for by Henry Pym himself. Since this episode occurs right after Ultron tampered with his mind, who knows if this reason is legitimate?

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