That Avengers Week Back in the 80s

AVENGERS #275, Marvel Comics, January 1987
Candy strippers of DOOM!So now that we've been teased with the possibility of an Avengers movie in 2011, starring various big guns each to have their own movie before then, I should really do an Avengers Week. You know, for people who don't know very much about Marvel's premiere super-team. The problem is that I don't read any of the Avengers titles currently on the market. Maybe if I ever see one without a crossover logo on it... So let's go back to the 1980s when I WAS reading the Avengers and their members' solo titles. It's 80s Avengers Week!

Random pick: Avengers #275. Ok, not the Avengers' greatest triumph. Sometimes, the bad guys have to win one I guess. That's the crux of this story arc of the Avengers by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer (one of the best teams to work on this book) as the most recent version of the Masters of Evil, led by the most recent version of Baron Zemo, attack and take over Avengers Mansion. Never have villains been so bold, and they very much catch our heroes with their tights down!

Here's the set-up: In the previous couple of issues, the villains have captured the mansion, tied Jarvis up, and set an ambush for arriving Avengers. The Black Knight is beaten up first, followed by Captain Marvel being sent to the darkforce dimension. Then, Captain America is captured. And to top it all off, the mighty Hercules is beaten to a pulp by more than half-a-dozen super-strengthers. Cut him some slack, he was drunk out of his gourd at the time. Who's left? Oh... just the Wasp. Start worrying.

So Hercules has just been ejected from the Mansion, left for dead. But he's not really dead, is he? Well, the Wasp can't feel a pulse! And then the doctors can't resuscitate him! You will believe even a god can die!
That's right, keep your hands up thereBelieve it? Well, we got you, cuz a couple pages later, they discover his heart beating once every ten minutes. I guess his real problem is now filling out his insurance papers. Next of kin: Zeus?!? (No kidding, this is a scene in the comic!)

Back at the Mansion, Baron Zemo's lording it over Cap, ripping his favorite pictures of Bucky and having Mr. Hyde crush his original WWII vintage shield:
There should be a law against this"I'll remember this, Zemo." You don't destroy Captain America's keepsakes, dude. That is just uncalled for! In fact, I peeked ahead a few issues, and these actions made Cap cry. Awww. And just to make things worse, Zemo has Hyde beat poor ol' Jarvis to a bloody pulp (this does not, however, make Cap cry). Zemo is one cold mo-fo, I tell ya.

He's also sent Absorbing Man and his girlfriend Titania to the hospital to take care of Hercules and the Wasp. As seen in one of the panels above, Ant-Man (not her ex-husband, but the guy that replaced him) has joined her. 1987 ALERT: Here's what Ant-Man has to say about their chances against these two heavy hitters...
Ant-Man and Wasp... At the Movies"We have as much chance of stopping those two as Spielberg had of winning an Oscar." He will wind up eating those words. (Ant-Man must be a solid movie nut though, since he later compares himself to Burt Reynolds in "Hooper" and Titania's "no Sally Field".) Anyway, a battle ensues and the tiny duo has some surprisingly effective tricks. The Wasp starts things out by shooting the Absorbing Man... in the eyes!!!
Just like a dragonflyAnt-Man later shrinks Titania to his size and the Wasp blows her through a wall (stands to reason that if a gas can shrink you, it can shrink others - good shot, Ant-Man). If you still think the Wasp is a lame Avenger who was only given chairwomanship to have her do all the paperwork (much like Wonder Woman's secretarial duties in the Justice Society), she gets big and zaps the hell out of Absorbing Man.
One thing the Wasp hates: FrumpinessThat's right. Same guy that's taken down Thor. Now THAT's how you write the Wasp. And that's why she was one of the founding Avengers. And now she's coming after the Masters of Evil. They should start worrying. Cuz guess what. Ant-Man was right about those odds... and Spielberg won 2 Oscars.
And then the mansion blew up

4 comments:

Matthew Turnage said...

This is one of my favorite issues of Avengers ever. I got to meet Roger Stern at the only comic convention I ever went to, and had the opportunity to tell him that. His whole run of Avengers is great, and the Mansion Siege storyline is truly a classic.

Plus Buscema and Palmer! Tough to beat!

Siskoid said...

Before I got used to it, I found Buscerma and Palmer's style to be offputtingly dirty, but the more I read, the more it grew on me.

Unknown said...

Buscema and Palmer's artwork was awesome during that run. And Roger Stern is so underrated it is criminal.

I really need to track down a few dollars so I can get the Avengers collection DVD.

Austin Gorton said...

This is probably my all time favorite Avengers run. As awesome as the Under Siege story was, there's a certain old school charm to the following one (in which the Avengers battle the Greek gods over their role in Hercules's injuries) that I really enjoy.

This was, I think, one of the first runs to really show what Wasp was capable of in a variety of ways. She was shown to be not only a great Avenger, but a great leader, too.

 

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