Just Can’t Get Enough – Another Post On Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!
“It’s almost time! I’m not going to enjoy conducting this Membership Review – but I really have no choice! I’m the leader of this outfit! It’s my job – my responsibility to make the Avengers the most effective fighting force possible!” – Captain America.
First of all, apologies for the yawning gap since my last Post, but really, how do you follow Thanos?!
Seriously though, that Review fell flat; none of the fiction is working; and the less said about that hi-brow essay on transdimensional engineering the better… sheesh!
My writing reached such a low point that over the four-day Easter weekend, my creative faculties switched instead to sketching. Might as well have carried on with all that incessant partying throughout the week following my birthday if one knew how lousy the upkeep of this blog would turn out!
Sheer bally exhaustion.
Nothing else can explain how – over this past few weeks – half a dozen posts were worked on before being discarded, falling unbelievably weeeell below the usual Bradtastic standard you have come to expect here. Even this little concoction – an easy-peasy piece that should only have taken a few hours to compile – ended up in development-hell for several days; where oh where can you get the stamina these days…?!
Anyways, will spare you the torrid tales of mishaps and miseries. Just reckoned it best to escape into the myriad majesties of Marveldom.
Thought this topic might be quite timely…
Read on, True Believers!
“It’s some sort of unearthly inhuman vision-! And that voice… like something from beyond the grave…!” – Wasp.
Ever since catching sight of that supercool yellow and green fella on the cover of Marvel UK’s first issue of Marvel Superheroes (September 1979) The Vision has been my favourite Avenger. Naturally, the tale of his origins became much sought after.
This synthozoid made his debut in The Avengers #57 “Behold… The Vision!” (October 1968) – a veritable star-studded super-saga! As these Silver Age ishs are so hard to come by – especially at affordable rates – the ultracheap Marvel UK reprints make suitable alternatives. The Avengers Weekly #84-85 (April-May 1975) carries this epic.
This story also featured Hank Pym in one of his most decisive roles as he fought his errant creation, that classic antagonist: Ultron.
Despite The Vision being used by the mad robot to lure The Avengers into his trap, the team still accept him as a new member, hence that iconic panel (see below!)
Written by the irrepressible Roy Thomas, this ish turned out to be a John Buscema masterclass.
The Vision: “You accept me… though I’m not truly a human being?”
Hank Pym: “Is a man any less human because he has an artificial leg… or a transplanted heart? The five original Avengers included an Asgardian immortal… and a hreen-skinned, tormented behemoth! We ask merely a man’s worth… not the accident of his condition!”
“The Grey Gargoyle turned my armor into stone, but not the man inside it. Other than a heck of an itch on my nose, I’m as good as new. DD and I’ll be fine… so long as Central Park’s pigeon population doesn’t find us!” – Iron Man.
The Avengers: drawn by John Byrne?!
What a delectable proposition!
Indeed, The Avengers #191 (January 1980) – written by then-regular scripter: David Michelinie – proves to be an irresistible ish.
Iron Man and Daredevil have been turned to stone by the Grey Gargoyle, who has wrought havoc in downtown Manhattan; he fights The Avengers and WINS! He returns to his old apartment, to collect chemicals to augment his powers, only to discover that the new tenant has thrown them out!
Thank goodness The Falcon turns up to battle the wrath of the Gargoyle, holding him off until the regrouped Avengers can show up. Scarlet Witch uses her hex power to turn him back into flesh and blood.
And the title of this Bronze Age extravaganza?
“Back To The Stone Age.”
“Hah! It’s at times like this that I wonder how people can call you the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!” – The Grey Gargoyle.
The Avengers #194 “Interlude!” (April 1980) makes it into this survey ‘cos of George Perez’s art.
Having done such an impressive job on Man-Wolf, a stint on this series sounded too cool to miss!
Just before an official meeting, a frightened and dishevelled man named Selbe turns up at Avengers Mansion pleading for protection. Shady officials arrive, claiming the man has escaped from the “Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane,” so have to turn him over.
On the point of resuming their meeting, The Avengers realise that Wasp is missing, having followed the officials back to this alleged institute…
This ish featured in one of my Bronze Age Bonanzas – lookee here:
And, yes yes yes, it’s another showcase to present The Vision’s extraordinary powers. That double spread on pages 12-13 is quite stupendous.
Did you know he’s my fave Avenger? 😉
Actually, #195 looks live a real jaw-dropper, as it features a guest-star appearance by The Taskmaster! (Not surprisingly, this is one of the most difficult ishs to find – Brad‘s not gonna give up any time yet!)
“They didn’t even notice me… didn’t count me! Was it an oversight? Or had everyone already made up their minds that I would be one of those eliminated…? I am nothing to them! They do not want me here!” – Jocasta.
“Bah! That the Son of Odin must so proclaim himself-! Are there no heralds about? Nay… never when thou needest one! Still, I wonder… if chosen to remain will I choose to do so?” – Thor.
The Avengers #211 “…By Force Of Mind!” (September 1981) is integral to this survey.
Originally picked up @ a Comics Fair in 1990, this happened to be my very first Avengers ish. Moreover, it marks my introduction to the astonishing artistic talent that was Gene Colan.
Now, it does not contain a particularly dramatic story – it is, however, the ish in which the Cap decrees that there can only be SIX members on the team, not eight. There are guest-stars aplenty: Hawkeye, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Dazzler, Iceman, Tigra et al, all brought to the Avengers Mansion at the dodgy hypnotic instigation of Moondragon, to test their suitability to join.
Thus, The Vision and his wife: The Scarlet Witch decide to leave the Mansion; even The Beast and Wonder Man decided to call it quits!
Moreover, Page 3 of this ish has always been one of my favourites:
“…I’m leaving! Wondy and I had a talk this morning… You know, I used to be a scientist! I used to habe a future besides my next gag and tomorrow night’s date! I want to see if there’s anything left of Hank McCoy besides a “blue-furred buffoon”!” – The Beast.
“I remembered that a human being can survive for a few seconds in the vacuum of space, so I turned physical… and cut loose with my power blast! The reaction force sent me flying backward… but I managed to regain light form, just as the torpedo slammed into another orbital generator!” – Captain Marvel.
“Understand, our once-proud empire now lies in shambles. Several of your months ago, the world devourer Galactus came to the imperial throneworld.
“And on the heels of this shocking news, chaos and rebellion spread throughout the galaxy.
“Amid this insanity rose a great mercenary army. Its warriors were outcasts of a thousand worlds from this galaxy and others. And its leader is a she-demon who calls herself Nebula.
“World after world fell before Nebula’s forces. She knew no defeat…”
The Avengers #259!
Look at that cover! “On the side of… the Skrulls!”?
Nevertheless, this startling cover did direct me to one of the most stiking ishs of John Buscema’s second classic stint on this series.
“Duty Over All” (Septamber 1985) continues the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – in this case: the Cap, Wasp, Captain Marvel, Hercules, the Black Knight and Starfox – opposition to Nebula: treacherous she-devil daughter of dreaded Thanos – only introduced in ish #257.
She poses such a gargantuan threat to the galaxy that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must band together with their sworn enemies: the Skrulls – yes! The Skrulls! Even Firelord couldn’t believe/accept that monstrous fact either!!
Scintillating! Exciting! Nebula is sooo awesome here – makes you realise how wasted her character has been in the MCU thus far…
This list may yet change as other classic ishs permeate the Bradscribe Collection.
But come ON, friends! This Post has been completed. And Published!
Surely – after all this writer’s been through this past month – this simple feat calls for a celebration, albeit a textured-sponge-with-a-creamy-filling one. 😉
“No one tells me what I “must” do…! Have all stations made battle-ready! And make certain that everyone knows… we will take no prisoners!” – Nebula.