Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Avengers #150

TITLE: The Avengers #150

PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics

COVER DATE: August 1976


18 pages


As I mentioned on the last post, I just recently reread this issue so the events are pretty fresh in my mind. It doesn't help, that this issue serves as a vehicle for reprinting bits and pieces of stories that any Avengers or Marvel fan should know by heart. And honestly, if you don't know what happened in Avengers #4, you should probably just hang it up.

I'll cut the non-Avenger reader some slack if they're unfamiliar with Wonder Man's introduction in #9, and I might even be lenient about ignorance with the first big wholesale line-up change in issue #16 if you catch me on a good day.

And you know what? Today is a good day, because this issue reprints those exact issues. So while we don't get a new Avengers line-up until the next issue, we are treated to some highlights of the first year and half of Avengers history, courtesy of Messrs. Lee and Kirby. If that wasn't enough, we also get a framing sequence by Steve Englehart and George Perez.

Let's get right to it, and in the interest of still having something to say when and if the Randomizer picks issue #9 or 16, I'm going to forgo the full on review and just geek out for the remainder of this issue and soak up all that Lee, Kirby and Perez have to offer.

Since this was the anniversary of 150 issues of The Avengers, let's see if I can find 150 things to geek out about in these eighteen pages. Everybody synchronize your watches, and we're off...

  1. Awesome cover by Ron Wilson and Frank Giacoia! That right there is just about the perfect Avengers line-up. Swap out Hawkeye for Hellcat, and I could read about these guys all day long.

  2. It only cost two bits!

  3. Great issue title. Avengers Assemble! It's also a great catch-phrase, but why does it work as well as it does? It's not like assemble is the most action-packed verb around, and it definitely doesn't translate to other super-hero teams nearly as well. Champions Congregate! Fantastic Four Forgather! Metal Men Muster! It's a true mystery for the ages.

  4. Stan Lee

  5. Jack Kirby

  6. George Perez

  7. I'm probably cheating by listing the creative team separately, but I gotta get to 150 somehow. Besides, those guys are legends and deserve the honor. And while I've acknowledged that I'm playing fast and loose with the rules, these guys ain't nothing to sneeze at either...

  8. Steve Englehart

  9. John Tartag

  10. Duffy Vohland

  11. Dick Ayers

  12. Denise Wohl

  13. Artie Simek

  14. I love time travelling villains

  15. Irene Vartanoff

  16. Archie Goodwin

  17. Avengers Trope #41: The assembled mass of people and reporters outside of Avengers Mansion. I love this visual, as it really drives home the accessibility of these heroes. You couldn't do this with a moon base.

  18. Yellowjacket. You can keep your Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Wasp, Scientist Supreme, or Dr. Pym identities. To me, Hank Pym will always be Yellowjacket (although I do kinda like the sound of that Scientist Supreme one).

  19. Crazy wild coincidence! That just happens to be the 150th different costume that the Wasp has worn in her tenure with the Avengers so far.

  20. Another crazy wild coincidence! I think I may have just made that last fact up out of thin air.

  21. It's not named here, but one can only wonder if that is Korr that Yellowjacket is riding on.

  22. The Wasp's fiery streak! She's come a long way in the past 118 issues.

  23. A bonus shout out for referencing continuity from the previous year...and in a Marvel book, no less. Those were the days.

  24. Jarvis' striped pants and tails. There's a butler who dresses for success.

  25. Avengers Trope #81: Monogrammed chairs! Nothing says super-hero headquarters like monogrammed chairs.

  26. Although, for each of them supposedly having chairs "especially reserved for them", it would appear that the Beasts and Hellcats are pretty interchangeable. One can only assume that their decals are waiting if they make the cut into the new line-up.

  27. Appropriate that Iron Man's symbol is that of both iron and man.

  28. Avengers Trope #68: Overly dramatic resignations!

    But I guess when you're dealing with the god of thunder, you should expect a little bluster every now and again.

  29. Thor's abrupt announcement leads us to our first flashback to Avengers #1 and the formation of the team, helpfully recapped by the local newscaster reporting from outside. It was pretty awesome that the news station had Kirby on staff to provide some artist's renderings of the action.

  30. It turns out, it's actually George Perez that they had on staff. I just checked the panels that I assumed were reprinted from Avengers #1 with the actual issue, but they're not the same. So there you go, a little Perez after Kirby for you. Here's another...

  31. I like how Iron Man keeps his options open. You know, just in case this whole Avengers thing doesn't pan out.

  32. This was obviously the Hulk from his more verbose, catch-phrase spewing youth.

  33. Overly officious membership by-laws.

  34. Wait a minute...isn't everyone here? Couldn't you just do a show of hands and get the new chairman installed with an actual mandate behind him? We all know what happens when a leader gets appointed, rather than elected.

  35. Here's Perez' take on Kirby's classic scene of a frozen cap from Avengers #4.

  36. Followed shortly by a nice Perez ala Heck re-imagining.

  37. There's something right about George Perez drawing Wonder Man. He's one of the few that can make his myriad of questionable costumes seem not quite so questionable.

  38. With the flashbacks coming this quickly, it's only a matter of time until we're at the formation of the new Avengers in Avengers #16. And with it, our first glimpse of actual Kirby art.

    And not a moment too soon, as the old Avengers seem to be in a spot of trouble!

  39. Avengers Trope #92: Nothing says let me onto your team more than an "I just kicked your teams ass" introduction!

  40. Hawkeye!

  41. Flashbacks within flashbacks. Were there no editors back then. But it's Hawkeye, so we'll give him a pass.

  42. And what of old Jarvis tied up in the corner? No hard feelings I'm sure, but we'll see how quickly your tea and biscuits gets delivered the next time your feeling a bit peckish, eh Hawkeye?




  46. Three arrows loosed from the same bow at the same time, and only one of them sounds like an actual arrow. Although in all fairness, I think that last sound effect is actually coming from the snake that Hawkeye used to tie up Jarvis' legs with, so we're all good. It's probably a good thing he was around to get that snake before something drastic happened, eh?

  47. More by-laws! Good thing there's an employee manual to get the new members up to speed.

  48. Watch that wandering eye, Jan! You know your man is a bit of a loose cannon, right?

  49. One reformed villain joined up, so why not offer a spot to Namor, The Sub-Mariner?

  50. Denied!

  51. He'd come around in about a hundred issues or so, and end up palling around with the Avengers for a good few years. I actually have a lot of love for Namor in the Avengers as his arrival came right around the time I started reading the books on a regular basis.

  52. Don't fret Iron Man, there's plenty of b-list villains hanging around that are just dying to join up.

  53. Old-timey social networking at its finest. I long for the days when you could have a membership drive using the want ads.

  54. Quicksilver's hair, the beta-testing for Logan's hairdo.

  55. Self-deprecating Stan.

    I guess even Stan gets tired of Magneto boasting in those early issues, as we have yet another flashback in a flashback dealing with the origin of Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch.

  56. Old-timey social networking at its finest, part two.

    I guess the equivalent today would be tweeting your request for membership to #avengersmemberdrive.

  57. Quicksilver has lovely penmanship for someone who, and I'm only assuming here, writes really fast.

  58. Captain America fighting jungle beasts! Why? Who cares, as we've had a real lack of action in this issue.

  59. If only he would've fought a gorilla, we would've come full circle from our last post.

  60. I guess this is still early in Cap's career, as he hasn't mastered the art of ricocheting his shield back to him with every throw. There's nothing more foolish than a super-hero picking his shield up off the ground.

  61. Back in the states, Cap is still on his jungle high and looks to avoid the assembled reporters in true, man of action style.

    Surely there has to be a secret door somewhere, eh?

  62. Reunions!

    Just because the other Avengers are kid-sized to Giant-Man, shouldn't give him permission to treat them as such.

  63. Time-travelling villains! Although isn't there some sort of paradox being violated by having two disparate versions of the same character commenting about the same thing in real time?

  64. Did I mention that I love time-travelling villains? Maybe I'll go back in time and mention it there too!

  65. The drama...oh, the drama!

  66. Really Rick Jones? I mean really? (with apologies to Seth and Amy)

  67. Tip for Rick Jones on getting into the Avengers. Try robbing a bank or subjugating mankind first. It seemed to work out all right for the new line-up.

  68. I think Tony Stark is the poster child for personal reasons.

  69. Overly dramatic exits...

  70. ...and new beginnings!

And that brings the 150th issue extravaganza to a close. Let's see how we did on our quest to find 150 interesting things about Avengers #150. After totaling up the judges scores, it looks like we got to close, so close.

Lucky for you, you won't be going home empty-handed. That's right, along with the home version of the Random Longbox board game, every reader will also be going home with the identity of the new line-up that was teased in this very issue, but never revealed.

Here it is, enjoy...

(oh, and spoilers I suppose, for those of you not up on your 34 year old continuity)

As far as line-ups go, it doesn't get much better than that.

All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) Marvel Comics

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