Issue(s): Avengers #214
Captain America, who led the charge to dismiss Yellowjacket from the Avengers, is nonetheless shaken up over it. This results in an odd conversation between Jarvis and Cap that is out of character for both. I assume it's more Shooter's political viewpoint than anything.
Jarvis says to Cap: "Years ago, people spoke with reverence about something called 'The American Dream'! They believed that any man was free to go as far and high as his wits, courage and determination might carry him... They knew that, as with any dream, there was a risk! A man might fail! These days many people want to eliminate the risk! They think some 'big brother' should ensure that everyone succeeds!".
Cap responds: "I know. That's foolish."
This somehow convinces Cap that he should stop worrying about whether he was right to pursue the charges against Hank. But i think it's an odd philosophy for Captain America to agree with. He's someone who grew up poor in the city during the Great Depression. His family probably relied heavily on government programs. And Cap himself has dedicated his life to helping those too weak to defend themselves. Maybe Jarvis has these sorts of views. Surely Tony Stark does. But i don't see Cap believing that.
Anyway, out west, the Ghost Rider sees a young guy in a nice car with a nice girl speeding around in the desert and decides to attack him.
Ghost Rider's series and various guest appearances recently have shown that he's becoming more and more demonic and Johnny Blaze basically has no control any more. Which is quite interesting. Well, it turns out that the guy in the car is actually the Angel, with his long-time girlfriend Candy Southern.
Despite being fellow ex-Champions, the Ghost Rider fries Angel with his hellfire.
Candy tries to contact the Beast, but he's no longer an Avenger. Cap receives the message and calls in the team: Tigra, Thor, and Iron Man (the Wasp obviously needs some time off)(and look at the computer games Cap plays while he's supposed to be on monitor duty).
The Avengers show up to confront the Ghost Rider...
...and Cap, Tigra, and Iron Man are all hit with hellfire (Thor too, but he's immune).
Cap and Iron Man are able to recover but Tigra is particularly shaken by it. Cap talks her through it (and in a thought balloon, Iron Man gushes about Cap's ability to push past the soul-searing effects of the fire, thinking "What a man!").
The Angel pulls himself out of his hospital bed to stop the fight, trying to talk to Johnny Blaze, and gets through to him. The Avengers leave when the Ghost Rider transforms back into Johnny Blaze, since "Johnny Blaze has committed no crime". No, he's just harboring a demonic spirit that goes around blasting people with hellfire.
Interestingly, Thor claims that the Ghost Rider is not really a servant of Satan, but just a magical creature from a mystical realm, like he is. Odd that Thor thinks of himself that way.
The situation is meant to be symbolic of Henry Pym's problems, with the Ghost Rider manifestation of Blaze's personal problems being similar to Hank's rage.
Meanwhile, Janet tells Hank that she's divorcing him. And it looks like she's getting serious about doing fashion designs.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Pushed back in publication time to make room for Avengers #215-216, which include a pre-Fantastic Four #238 version of the Thing. Ghost Rider's appearance is context free; he's overly demonic but this appearance is deliberately designed to show that he's like that now in his own book, so this can fit into any gap. Angel wasn't appearing in a book at this time.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showAngel, Candy Southern, Captain America, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Henry Pym, Iron Man, Jarvis, Thor, Tigra, Wasp
Sounds like you have trouble understanding why Cap would share Jarvis' views due to your own prejudices. Not every person who grows up poor is a Liberal and certainly not every person who grew up during the Great Depression relied on government handouts. Moreover, alot of FDR Liberals would be considered moderate to conservative by the 1970s. The actor Henry Fonda is a prime example. A staunch liberal Democrat in the 1930s/40s who was disgusted by his daughter Jane's generation of liberalism, something more along your personal belief system if seems.
Posted by: Anonymous | April 23, 2013 3:40 AM
Even though you're coming in a little hostile i want to respond because your view is a valid one, and this is a debate that raged in Cap's lettercols during the late 60s & early 70s.
First, my political views aren't really a secret and there's no doubt that they are an influence on me when i'm giving my opinion on political topics that are brought up in the comics. That said, as i wrote here, i wouldn't have had a problem with, say, Tony Stark agreeing with Jarvis on this topic. Or a different Golden Age character like the Angel or the Patriot. But i do think it's out of character for Cap based on my reading of him.
I also think it's pretty clear that Cap is not just a social safety net liberal that was turned off by the civil rights & anti-war protestors. See here for example where Cap comes down pretty firmly on the side of the protestors. And of course we have Englehart's run where the socially conservative 1950s Cap is brought in as a contrast to the real Cap.
But Cap & Jarvis' conversation is (seemingly) more on the topic of the social safety net anyway, so i think the Henry/Jane Fonda distinction isn't as relevant. Jarvis says that America is about giving you the freedom to pursue your dreams, and if you succeed, great, and if you fail, the government shouldn't be there to support you. And that gets back to the Great Depression era politics issue (which, i should have said in my post, wasn't an original thought of mine. I believe i got the idea from something Roger Stern wrote on a usenet forum years ago.). We can get into a really nuanced historical political debate here, but generally people from that time were more accepting of the need for a social safety net. I think there's room for disagreement - it's not like this is a topic that comes up much in Marvel comics! - but everything i've read of Cap makes me believe he's a big softie when it comes to this sort of thing.
Finally, the other thing that i'm reacting to in this post is the fact that the whole conversation seems to be a non sequitur. Cap is upset about having pursued charges against Henry Pym. Jarvis' speech is seemingly irrelevant to that, and yet the conversation somehow helps console Cap, which i found odd. It felt like Jim Shooter was inserting his own opinion into a comic (which is fine) but doing it in a way that didn't serve the story or the characters.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 23, 2013 10:24 AM
Cap's politics have long been a matter for debate. It could be argued that because Cap grew up poor he'd support a social safety net. But it also should be noted that Cap grew up poor because his father was a drunk- I'm sure his father wasted some relief funds on booze. It should be noted that in Cap 323, Bernie gets into a discussion with a classmate about Cap's politics- the
Posted by: Michael | April 23, 2013 7:56 PM
I haven't read this issue in question, but limited to the Jarvis/Cap quotes you copied, it's obvious they are not making a commentary on the social safety net. It's very obvious to me Jarvis is saying that Hank was responsible for his own actions, and that even though ultimately being a superhero was too much for Henry Pym that it was his choice to do so, and that Cap shouldn't want to excuse Pym's crimes. Maybe it was a bit clunky, but I think it was Shooter's way to tie in Cap's championship of the American Dream to his choice about the trial of Pym.
I think comments is a good reason why it's never a good idea to go into Cap's own beliefs. As the moral guardian in the Marvel Universe, everyone wants to believe Cap believes in what they do.
The only thing I would say is that it's a bit inaccurate to describe older liberals who became neo-conservatives in the 1970s that they did it because they were turned off by "civil rights and anti-war protestors". That is being very ungenerous. That may be true for some, such as certain southern Democrats. What turned others off though was the huge increase in crime, economic disaster (stagflation), the consequences of defeat in Vietnam (genocide in Cambodia, hostage crisis in Iran, Soviets invading Afghanistan), and the radical left (Weathermen setting off bombs; SLA robbing banks) usurping the protest movements. Charlton Heston was an outspoken liberal and supporter of the civil rights movement who appeared at the March on Washington. When he became a conservative, he never repudiated that earlier stance. It's back to the old comment you used to hear: "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me." To imply they stopped being safety net liberals because blacks got civil rights is offensive. That's not that inaccurate because the Democratic Party really changed from being the party of Cold War liberals to being heavily influenced by SDS types after 1972.
Ultimately I think it best that Cap be portrayed as a man of strong integrity and character who keeps his politics secret. It's best in the Marvel Universe and in the real world for readers that Cap's actual political beliefs and election votes be not revealed.
Posted by: Chris | April 24, 2013 12:01 AM
"To imply they stopped being safety net liberals because blacks got civil rights is offensive."
Posted by: Paul | April 24, 2013 9:42 PM
Also, Cap, like Superman and all really heroic heroes (ie, all heroes worthy of the name), would not necessarily be liberal, per se, but would find conservative politics and policies abhorrent. Believe it or not, not all political philosophies are morally neutral or morally equal. Steve Rogers would no more be a Reagan guy because it's the "mood of the country" than he would have been a Hitler guy in 30s Germany. Heroes are heroes all the time - they don't change their values and their principles to match up with public opinion, even if those writing them over the decades may fail of their duty and portray them that way.
Posted by: Paul | April 24, 2013 9:50 PM
Paul, you go keep fighting the straw man. He's dangerous. Very flammable I hear. Keep him away from children.
Posted by: Chris | April 24, 2013 11:01 PM
And you keep on spouting dishonest nonsense.
But hey, maybe you're right; maybe it was a big coincidence that the entire South went Republican forever at the exact same time the civil rights movement occurred.
Posted by: Paul | April 25, 2013 5:20 AM
I think we're past the point where anyone's going to "win" this thread or convince anyone, so please let it drop. I'm especially directing this to anyone new that comes along; i don't think there's anything more that can be added here and there's plenty of other places on the internet to debate politics.
But, boy, that scene with Thor emerging from the Ghost Rider's hellfire sure is cool, huh?
Posted by: fnord12 | April 25, 2013 10:05 AM
I'm not sure if Shooter overdid making the Ghost Rider evil. On the one hand, we'd never seen him do stuff like leaving a child to die and zapping Warren with hellfire unprovoked leaving him comatose before this issue. OTOH, we had seen him burn down a town, cause the accident that injured Gina's driver and endanger people on numerous occasions.
Posted by: Michael | February 23, 2015 9:27 PM
The computer game Cap's wasting time with looks either fairly sophisticated for 1981, or extremely retro for "several years ago."
Posted by: Mortificator | February 19, 2017 5:40 PM
"That man is playing "World War II Battle game". He thought we wouldn't notice, but we did."
Posted by: Urban Commando | February 22, 2017 3:45 AM
At the risk of starting the debate again, historically there was a consensus that the philosophy Jarvis espouses wouldn't work during the New Deal and afterward. Even IKE said the matter was settled. This was because of the Depression and the War. The revival of classical liberalism was engineered by propaganda efforts of the very rich, this is just history. It's unlikely in the extreme that Cap would be radically out of step, especially given his liberal views that show up frequently in the comics as others have mentioned.
Posted by: OrangeDuke | December 11, 2017 11:11 PM
Dear God, let's not go there. Wherever "there" is...
Posted by: Andrew | December 12, 2017 12:50 PM
Odd but interesting little story here. It somehow intrigued me from the first time I learned of it, for any of several reasons.
There is the juxtaposition of Ghost Rider, perhaps the most oddball Marvel character with a regular book at the time, with the Avengers, which I like but are sort of a contractual obligation. There is the cover feature of Angel, who has history with Blaze and Ghost Rider but almost feels like he lack such history (as lampshaded here). There are the wild contrasts in power level as GR faces Angel and then Thor.
In a sense it is an unlikely, problematic history. Somewhat like the classic Hulk, this version of Ghost Rider can't very convincingly cross paths with the classic Avengers and then simply return to his status quo. All the reasons why Johnny and the Avengers would call it a day and resume their regular storylines are metatextual in nature. For that matter, it strains credibility that Warren and Johnny would act as guest stars in someone else's book with no interest whatsoever in further developing their troubled history somehow. Those are two people who saved each other's life several times and disbanded in circunstances that were painful for both. Now they are putting each other's life in otherwise avoidable danger and we have barely any glimpse of how they feel about it.
Interesting plot elements and intriguing, original situations, but very poor characterization.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | December 14, 2017 5:23 AM
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