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.

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