The Small Lebowski:
Issue(s): Avengers #190, Avengers #191
This is a pretty cool set of issues. It starts with the Avengers presenting their case to a Senate committee. Their lawyers Matt Murdock, Jeryn Hogarth (Heroes for Hire), and Emerson Bale (Champions) present the case that Gyrich's restrictions have been too strict.
Murdock thinks to himself that Hogarth and Bale are too showboaty ("Not that I mind Hogarth and Bale much, but I've always preferred practicing law -- and their idea of a good courtroom is a three-ring circus with themselves as ringmasters."). He also thinks that Gyrich's attitude towards the Avengers is dangerous, especially if applied to super-heroes in general.
As the case is presented, a strange and cool-looking creature crashes in from outer space and starts working its way through the outer borough subway stations towards Manhattan.
Gyrich is eventually forced to let the Avengers leave the hearing so they can stop the creature.
In a bizarre twist, the creature turns out to actually be a stone space-suit created by the Grey Gargoyle. Murdock changes into Daredevil to help out, but he and Iron Man quickly get turned to stone.
After a series of well-drawn battle sequences...
...the Avengers win when the Scarlet Witch is able to summon up a hex that turns the Gargoyle's stone body back to human flesh. Which is a little bit of a cop-out but that's ok.
Hinted at but not actually stated in these issues is that the Scarlet Witch is still rattled by the fact that her brother is going to have a baby.
After the fight, the Senate committee restores the Avengers' security clearance.
Overall, a good set of issues with some interesting politics, a fun fight, and great art.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Daredevil's appearance is context free.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBeast, Captain America, Carol Danvers, Daredevil, Dwight Stanford, Emerson Bale, Falcon, Grey Gargoyle, Henry Peter Gyrich, Iron Man, Jarvis, Jeryn Hogarth, Redwing, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wasp
great to see an old favourite villain like gray gargoyle getting some respect. he should be tough enough to take on a whole team of heroes.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 7, 2011 5:12 PM
It's kind of cool seeing the Grey Gargoyle look so tough in a lot of these old appearances. When I was a kid, I only knew of him from the Acts of Vengeance Hulk appearance where the Hulk regards him as an extremely minor leaguer. Now in fairness, Gargoyle wasn't briefed on the Hulk's powers (to resist the stone touch), but it still made him seem like a chump.
Posted by: Mike Cheyne | November 27, 2013 10:53 AM
It seems like Beast is getting used a little better and Falcon ends being helpful. Just read these at work and I was actually surprised by 'alien' being just a stone suit. It is really cool he takes on the team and does well.
I kind of wish we saw more of the trial and only weak spot is Gargoyle telling his origin out of the blue.
Posted by: David Banes | January 4, 2014 11:56 PM
These are two great issues - solid writing and great art. Two big things that fnord doesn't mention:
1 - The Falcon really does well here, following Gargoyle and keeping him busy until the other Avengers keep up. It's by far his most effective as an Avenger.
2 - Gyrich lets them go because of a great scene where Beast completely humiliates him. Truly fantastic and rather hilarious. A great use of Beast.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 18, 2015 7:32 AM
It's cool to see that a villain who can take on Thor by himself is a match for a whole roster of Avengers if Thor's not around. Heck, that was the premise of issue #1 back in 1963.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 26, 2017 6:08 PM
Hi. Just a comment that Daredevil's thoughts in # 190 are consistent with his position years later in Civil War-- he dislikes Gyrich's heavy-handed desire to shut down the Avengers because they don't play by his rules; DD notes, "That sort of thinking could be applied to superheroes in general-- and that's something I wouldn't like to see." Nice to see the parallels. Although counter for Iron Man with respect to his position under Millar's later story, in that here, he also chafes against Gyrich's rules. I suppose one could rationalize it by saying that Tony's view gradually changed over the years.
Posted by: intp | September 10, 2017 5:32 PM
I actually found it slightly odd that Grey Gargoyle does so well here against multiple Avengers including Vision and Ms. Marvel together, among others, but that may just be because I really liked the Peter David story in Hulk # 363 where grey Hulk handles GG pretty easily. Admittedly, GG's stoning power does take Iron Man out right off the bat here, which gave him a large edge, whereas it didn't work on Hulky due to his healing factor. GG has also credibly fought Thor in the past, as Omar Karindu notes, so there's that.
Really liked these stories by Grant, Michelinie, Stern and Byrne. Great period for the Avengers.
Posted by: intp | September 10, 2017 5:39 PM
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