The Small Lebowski:
Issue(s): Avengers #262
Hercules' mood is humorous now, but it also feels like foreshadowing of his insubordination during the Masters of Evil plotline.
The Avengers settle on Hydrobase, currently owned by Stingray and Diane Arliss, "thanks to an obscure maritime salvage law".
The Sub-Mariner is a friend of both, and now that he is without a home, he has been living at Hydrobase as well.
Roger Stern is so great. He ensures that Namor and the Black Knight show some recognition of each other; a nod to their days as Defenders.
But Namor is of course in low spirits due to his ouster from Atlantis' throne. Hercules does not approve of Prince Namor's mood, and he sets about solving the problem as only Hercules can.
Later, Captain America and Namor get to do some bonding. Despite the Invaders retcon, there's been very little interaction between these two in modern comics, and Stern does a good job making up for lost time. Cap also reveals that Namor was responsible for his revival. In the end, Cap offers the Sub-Mariner a spot on the Avengers.
Well, i should say that Cap offers to sponsor Namor's membership. The Wasp is still chairperson, but as of next issue the Wasp will be on board with the decision.
The Black Knight has set up the Beyonder-detection device at Project Pegasus, but so far they are not getting a reading. The fact that the Beyonder might simply prevent himself from being detected is raised as a possibility. I'm not letting this dictate placement in any way.
There's a scene in the beginning with the Wasp reacting to a newspaper column speculating that Captain America is quitting the Avengers, based on the FAA/Security Clearance issue and the fact that Captain America is setting up his own hotline. This issue was published the same month as the Cap issue establishing the hotline, and Cap writer Mark Gruenwald is the editor here, so i don't think this is meant to be commentary on the dumb idea to set up a call line for Captain America instead of the Avengers, but it sure feels like one.
I've always wanted to be able to be able to hold myself up on a ring like Cap is there, but it's a lot harder than it looks! I don't know what Herc is doing in this exercise, though.
We also get a glimpse of the Enclave, who, after a string of failures over the years, are operating on a shoe-string budget (as compared to their Beehive complex in their first appearance).
This is actually just setting up a red-herring for next issue.
As always, Stern/Buscema/Palmer greatness.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Knight (Dane Whitman), Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Carlo Zota, Diane Arliss, Hercules, Jarvis, Maris Morlak, Stingray, Sub-Mariner, Wasp, Wladyslav Shinski
Herc was just so much fun as an avenger
Posted by: kveto from prague | July 8, 2012 5:39 PM
Stern is really hitting his stride on this series. Excellent characterization all around even with minor characters like Stingray and his wife.
Posted by: Chris | July 8, 2012 9:20 PM
This made me so excited when I found out I was getting an Avengers subscription. I had been hoping for years that Namor would finally join, ever since the days of The Invaders being published. This just felt long overdue.
I was never a big Hercules fan, but Stern absolutely writes him better than anyone else - but the lows and highs.
I do wish, however, that Stern had made more use of Stingray. I really thought it was a big set-up for him to be an auxiliary member of the Avengers and he really didn't show up much - heck, it'll be over two years before he makes another appearance in Avengers.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 4, 2015 6:00 PM
I think this issue is the first time Hercules refers to battle with him as "the gift".
Posted by: Andrew | July 31, 2016 6:29 PM
I thought he was already doing that in his limited series... couldn't swear by it though as I don't have the 2 limited series to hand.
Also I think when Herc first meets Wonder Man, he starts a fight with him saying he's heard Simon's strong and wants to give him the gift. Can't remember what issue that is though.
I'd never thought about where he first used it before, but if we can identify the first appearance of "the gift", surely that's an increase of the Historical Significance Rating? :)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | August 1, 2016 7:33 AM
You're thinking of Avengers #211, and Hercules does refer to his punch as a "gift" there. Not sure if that even that is the first time though. I don't think it would merit a rating change, but it would be fun if someone did confirm the first use of it.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 1, 2016 9:06 AM
Hercules did refer to battle as a gift in the Bob Layton mini-series, now that I reread it, but that's from 1982 (and, I think, in an alternate future, so out of scope for this site, sadly), while Avengers 211 is from 1981, so that's the winner as far as I can tell. Seriously, though, that catchphrase is one of the reasons I love Hercules.
Posted by: Andrew | August 1, 2016 1:09 PM
This is one of the best Avengers teams ever. Hercules and Black Knight work surprisingly well as teammates, and Namor is a great addition. Are the Enclave guys ever used again in following comics?
Posted by: Nate Wolf | November 6, 2016 3:17 PM
Yes, they appear in Quasar, and then Claremont uses them in a horrible Fantastic Four story. (Notably, they steal Read's intelligence- and somehow he gets it back at the end of the story but it's not clear how or where.)
Posted by: Michael | November 6, 2016 3:20 PM
Hey, that's my handle. It's taken already.
Posted by: Andrew | May 16, 2017 6:12 PM
When the team (pre-Namor) are sifting through the pile of potential locations for their new headquarters, Captain Marvel questions who would want to go to Detroit ! It took me 30 years to realise that this was possibly a dig at the mid-80s Justice League team who relocated there.
Posted by: Mike Teague | October 31, 2017 2:57 PM
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