Thursday, April 14, 2005

THE AVENGERS #186 Marvel Comics, 1979

Hey, look what I found.

Here’s a 70’s issue of The Avengers written by David Micheline (who would go on to become the Iron Man writer) and with art by John Byrne and Dan Green. The Avengers aren’t really in this issue a lot – mostly they argue with their government liaison Henry Gyrich, a McCarthyite wet blanket who they were stuck with for a while. Hey, Gyrich, Scott Summers called - he wants his old sunglasses back.* This issue focuses on the Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver, who as we all know are the mutant offspring of Magneto, the X-Men’s arch-enemy. Scarlet Witch has mutant “probability altering” powers which simulate magic, and Quicksilver runs really fast and has a chip on his shoulder.

The villain in this issue is Who Cares. This issue features Bova, the half-cow, half-woman nanny who raised our mutant siblings. That’s right, Bova. I don’t know who at the House of Ideas thought that a cow/woman was cool (Roy Thomas?), but there she is. Even as a kid, I thought that was dumb as hell. This issue also features a time-honored tradition in Avengers comics: The Scarlet Witch in bondage. Next issue we get another time-honored tradition: Evil Scarlet Witch. I think we all know how this particular meta-story turns out: BENDIS KILLS HAWKEYE! Damn you, Bendisss!!!

The roster of this particular Avengers team is Captain America, The Vision, The Wasp, The Falcon, Iron Man, Ms Marvel (who would adopt the stoopid name Warbird later), and The Beast, one of the original X-Men.

I really dig the art by penciller John Byrne and inker Dan Green – I think this era is some of Byrne's best work, primarily because he worked with good inkers like Terry Austin and Dan Green. Say what you want about Byrne, but... ah, just say what you want about him. Also, there are cool ads for Battlestar Galactica merchandise, and on the back cover – a Star Trek: The Motion Picture full color ad! God, I was so psyched to see that when I was a kid. Then I saw it, and I fell asleep. They lost me after the Klingon ships get destroyed.



Anonymous said...

Lord that comic scared me when I was wee. Particularly what happens to Wanda's chest when she's possessed by the force of evil in the last panel.
--Mr Ripley

Anonymous said...

The force of evil can have a more dramatic effect on a woman's chest than a Wonderbra. Yay force of evil!

I remember reading this issue while sitting in the barber shop as a kid. Good times. Michelinie's work on Avengers was just a consistently fun read. That was back when you had the real blue furry Beast, not that farce they have now. Wonder Man was a decent guy just back from the dead, not the Hollywood asshole he became later. I always liked Jocasta too, who like Wonder Man was just trying to find her place in the world. Unfortunately Marvel never did jack to explore any of her potential, but if the Wasp could become a very capable leader of the Avengers, what could they have done with a robot that copied her brain patterns? Something, at least. Other fun things from Michelinie's run were "Red Ronin on a Rampage!" (giant unstoppable Japanese robot wrecking stuff!), and the first appearance of the Taskmaster, one of my favorite Marvel villains ever, and like Jocasta, sorely underused.

For the record, it was the High Evolutionary who thought that "Bova" was a good name, but then he has a long record of sucking at naming things. This is the guy that also gave us Count Tagar (tiger), Sir Porga (pig), and Porcupinus. Then again, we're talking about a guy who named himself the "High" Evolutionary. Maybe he did all his naming when he was baked, which would explain a lot.

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