Issue(s): Avengers #278
...the Wasp has been overloaded with responsibilities, including defending the Mansion from looters...
...and dealing with the red tape of getting the Mansion repaired. And having stressed-out dreams.
The good news is that she's temporarily leasing space in the Fantastic Four's new building, and when she mentions to She-Hulk that she needs a replacement for Hercules, She-Hulk is happy to volunteer herself (some of the art in this issue is looking a little wonky again).
Meanwhile, the Black Knight leaves the hospital. He's not fully well, but he's under the supervision of Dr. Druid, who claims to have come to the hospital to take a look at the Black Knight's sword, and convinced Dane to let him tag along when he headed to Hydrobase, in order to keep him from exerting himself.
The chance to do just that arises when Tyrak the Treacherous arrives at Hydrobase. He's really looking for Sub-Mariner, but is happy to attempt to stomp some Avengers. Despite still having a concussion, the Black Knight runs out to confront him. Tyrak is a lesser known villain, but he's actually really powerful, and he's more than the Knight can handle alone.
He's also not too susceptible to Dr. Druid's powers.
Luckily, Captain Marvel shows up to dry him out, and she's soon followed by the Wasp and She-Hulk. Tyrak soon wakes up again, and proves his strength by stomping She-Hulk.
The Wasp engages next, and she notices something, but instead of acting on it, she holds back and lets the Black Knight make his move instead.
As she hoped, he noticed the same thing, and he cuts through Tyrak's costume, releasing the reserve water that he keeps inside his uniform to keep him hydrated. With that water gone, Captain Marvel speeds up the drying out period by hitting him with heat again, and then She-Hulk finishes him off.
If you're following along in this project chronologically, you'll note that the same basic idea was used against Tiger Shark in West Coast Avengers #16. I had some complaints about the way it was done there; the idea that Tiger Shark should have been weakened the minute the water poured out of his costume seemed wrong to me. Stern does it right here by having Captain Marvel use her flame form.
Considering the necessary lead time, i doubt that this scene was a reaction to Englehart's version. But it's nice to have that comparison. I think Roger Stern is a better writer on the characterization side of the equation too, and ultimately that's more important, but making the fights interesting and "realistic" (within the confines of everyone's super-powers) is a critical part of writing super-hero comics. I am surprised, though, that editor Mark Gruenwald allowed the same trick to be used in both books.
Getting back to the characterization, after confirming from the gargantuan Tyrak that he didn't have any specific agenda against the Avengers (he was actually looking to beat the Sub-Mariner as a way to get in with Attuma, in a nice touch acknowledging the current state of play in Atlantis)...
...the Wasp has a nice talk with Dr. Druid where she reveals that she was holding back. And Druid assumes that it was due to the Wasp's leadership abilities, that she was helping to restore Dane's confidence. But she says it's actually that after a long stint at leadership, she is tired of people relying on her and she wanted to show that she isn't "needed". Dr. Druid tells her that there's only one person who can relieve her of her responsibilities, and that is herself.
With that, "three days later" at the next official Avengers meeting, we see that Thor has rejoined the team as well. And they formally induct Dr. Druid onto the team. That would bring the group's number to seven, which (now that they don't get a security clearance from the government) would be ok, but the Wasp reveals that she's moving to reserve status. When the group objects, the Wasp notes that if her term hadn't been interrupted by the Vision's, it would have been over weeks ago anyway. So she says her goodbyes and heads off for a vacation, leaving Captain America as acting chairman.
During the Masters storyline i talked a little about how parts of that big loss could be attributed to failures of the Wasp's leadership, and the pros and cons of that, and i have a similar reaction to her resignation here. On the one hand, she's clearly been working hard and deserves the time off. But she's not ending on a high note, and is arguably reverting to her flighty former self, more interested in going on vacation than rebuilding the team. It's a fine line. If Stern had remained on the title forever, i'm sure it's a problem he would have resolved for me. But it leaves the Wasp in a state where she's more vulnerable to that latter interpretation by later writers.
I'm also suspicious of Dr. Druid, and half want to attribute the Wasp's weird dreams and Druid's bad advice to his manipulations. But that's a story that doesn't come into play until the Walt Simonson era, and i don't think it was supposed to have its roots here. Dr. Druid has always been a character who aroused suspicion in me. He was the first character, while i was reading in realtime, of whom i said, "Who is this guy? Does he belong on the Avengers?". But more on that next issue.
Update on this: Per Chris' link below, Stern definitely did not intend for Druid to be manipulative at this time, and the trick he plays on She-Hulk next issue really is just meant to be a prank. Since Chris' link is already half link-rotted, let me preserve the quote from Roger Stern here:
I always intended Druid to be the Charles Emerson Winchester of the group...pulling his own weight on the team, but often getting on other members' nerves.
Ok, now this is important. Here's She-Hulk explaining where the FF were during the Masters of Evil storyline.
It's very important that you notice that "and...". Because i have it on very good authority that before the Wasp cut her off, she was going to say "and then we got involved in that Comet Man business, and then we briefly talked to you guys while you were on the run from the government, and then we went off into space to look for Franklin, and then when we came back, it turned out that one of us had picked up some kind of flu while we were in the Pacific and we were all pretty sick so we went upstate to rest and recover. We ran into the Falcon at the airport, and i hope we didn't get him sick too."
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's said to have been one week since the raid on Avengers Mansion. That gives some time for Captain America and Thor to have some events in their solo books, especially Thor getting his armor in Thor #378.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Knight (Dane Whitman), Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Dr. Druid, Hercules, Jarvis, Raymond Sikorski, She-Hulk, Thor, Tyrak, Wasp
Dr. Druid used his powers the same way that Moondragon did. I would think that after these two, the Avengers would steer clear of anyone with mind-control abilities.
Posted by: clyde | March 10, 2014 6:09 PM
To be fair to Jan, this is the difference between her and Hank- she knows when to take time off when she's under a lot of stress so that she doesn't go nuts and sic killer robots on the Avengers.
Posted by: Michael | March 10, 2014 8:15 PM
Also in fairness to Jan, she isn't being flighty and abandoning her responsibilities. As stated on-panel, she has rebuilt the roster to its full 6-person strength as well as established the plans for the reconstruction of Avengers Mansion. She's taken care of everything for the next person in office.
Posted by: Dermie | March 11, 2014 12:17 AM
It's been a long time for me to remember Stern's issues with Dr Druid, so I may be wrong, but after some initial confusion (should the Avengers have a telepath, isn't that the X-Men's schtick?), I embraced him. I don't think Stern intended Druid to be a bad guy. I remember him stating on his forum (SternTalk) that he intended him to be someone like Charles Winchester on MASH, a sardonic wit that clashes with the main cast, but isn't ultimately a fool/foil/villain like Frank Burns, Hotlips, or Flagg.
I actually liked Dr Druid a lot and felt he added a lot to the team.
I also never felt this reflected poorly on Jan. I thought she showed wonderful leadership and gave everything she could. When she needed to rise to the occasion, she did.
Posted by: Chris | March 12, 2014 9:27 PM
I think the intention with Druid has always been that he's very flawed.
There was a great Druid series by Warren Ellis that'll be coming up for review here in the 1990s.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 12, 2014 9:37 PM
Dr. Druid maybe wasn't a villain, but he did tend to have sphincterish tendencies as far back as when Shooter revived him in Ghost Rider.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 13, 2014 3:23 PM
Oh, Ellis showed him as a real....we'll say jerk and keep this PG. he he
I didn't know that Druid was in GR, but he was brought back earlier than that. I'm pretty sure it was during the Len We in run on Hulk that he returned from 1961-Limbo.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 13, 2014 7:00 PM
I found that quote from Stern on Dr Druid. It took awhile because the old SternTalk forum on IMWAN is gone, but there is an archive.
Posted by: Chris | March 23, 2014 1:59 PM
Thanks, Chris. This is great info. Since the original forum is gone, i've reproduced the quote in the entry above just in case this archive goes away too.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 23, 2014 2:30 PM
Everybody (and by everybody, I'm not only including fnord, but also the characters in the MU) acts at this point like the 6 person limit went away when the government took away their clearance after the Vision-takes-over-the-world problem. Jan even tells Clint that at one point.
But, first of all, the 6 person limit was established by Cap back at the end of #210 because he thought the team was too unwieldy (there were 9 of them at that point), not by the government, and, at the end of #191, when the Avengers won in the committee hearing it was established that the government couldn't enforce the original 7 member limit, but Iron Man said they probably would have shrunk the team anyway.
I don't blame fnord for thinking it was after the Vision thing that the limit went away, since Jan flat out says it, but I don't know what writer confused it up in the first place.
As for Druid, I was really intrigued when he came in during the Under Siege storyline, and I had already read his initial appearance with the team in #225-226. I wanted to see more of him, but then was really disappointed by what was done to him after Stern left the book. In fact, every character comes off badly after Stern leaves the book. That was one of Marvel's dumber decisions, forcing him off.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 13, 2015 7:05 AM
Erik, in the same scene where Jan says that they are no longer bound by the government's edicts, she also specifically says it was Cap who made the 6-member rule (and that it had started with Gyrich making a 7-member rule).
I think the confusion comes in since it *started* as a government rule, but the Avengers adopted it themselves afterward. But the rules also change depending on who is writing the team. During Stern's run the book was operating under the 6-member guideline (whether it was an 'official' rule or not), but when Hama took over he made it a 7 person roster again (as well as a designated group of 7 reserves, which was a new concept). When Harras took over, the formal roster pretty much dissolved and people came and went more loosely. Then Busiek's run brought structure back with a solid 7 person roster with 2 reserves (although towards the end of his run he expanded the operation).
Posted by: Dermie | July 13, 2015 11:21 AM
Was Wasp ever a proper member of the team after this? She certainly never regained the prominence she had in the 200s anyway.
Posted by: Hugh Sheridan | March 22, 2018 6:03 PM
Well, she was a member of the WEST Coast Avengers from issues 32-74, minus a few. Assuming you mean the main team, yeah, she does become a member again from issues 391-402 and later in Busiek's run. She does get another turn as leader during Kurt Busiek's run, and co-leads the team through Kang War.
Posted by: Michael | March 22, 2018 7:58 PM
And she remained an active member past Busiek's run as well, through Geoff Johns, Chuck Austen and Bendis up until "Disassembled".
And since then Bendis also had her as a member of his MIGHTY AVENGERS run. And more recently she was an active Avenger again in the UNCANNY AVENGERS series, as well as the current weekly AVENGERS series.
So yeah, Wasp has remained a mainstay of the team fairly consistently throughout the years, with just a few extended breaks during the Bendis years.
Posted by: Dermie | March 24, 2018 12:29 AM
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