Issue(s): Avengers #299, Avengers #300
Ok, try to read this like it wasn't meant to be the forming of a new team of Avengers. It's just a fun team up for a specific crisis. The Captain has returned from helping Flag-Smasher in the Arctic to find Manhattan in even worse shape than he left it, with Manhattan now overrun with demons and not just animated objects.
Although there's still those, too, and one of them conveniently turns back into Cap's favorite mode of transport after he punches it.
Cap then comes across the New Mutants, fighting against demons. He doesn't recognize them, which i assume is due to their costume/appearance changes and his limited familiarity with them to begin with, and not because of any lingering effects of Secret Wars II, where the Beyonder erased the world's memories of them (he saw some of them in New Mutants #40, for example, and Wolfsbane's appearance, at least, remains the same, but surely Cap sees a lot of super-characters).
Walt Simonson slipping in a "no quarter" line is pretty funny.
Cap helps out, and the New Mutants don't recognize him at first either, thanks to his costume change (and the fact that Mirage initially thinks she summoned him with her powers).
Cap still doesn't recognize them even after the battle (not even Warlock?!).
Despite the fact that they're kids, Steve Rogers doesn't try to stop the New Mutants (as they introduce themselves, still to no recognition) from continuing the fight, but he also doesn't team up with them. Instead he decides to drive out to Connecticut to get Mr. Fantastic's help. Dr. Strange might have been a better choice, except everyone should think he's dead, so it does make sense to reach out to Reed Richards to try to actually stop the problem while (looking at it from Cap's point of view) the New Mutants deal with the symptoms.
Meanwhile, in far off Olympia, home of the Eternals, Thena sends the Forgotten One to investigate the disturbances reported in New York.
He forges himself a weird set of armor first.
And in Connecticut, Franklin dreams of the Bogeyman, which doesn't seem intended to be a warning about what's happening to his Power Pack friends during Inferno, but is about the fact that Nanny and Orphan-Maker are coming.
Orphan-Maker knocks out Franklin's parents with gas, but Franklin activates his mom's invisible force field before Orphan-Maker can shoot them. So Orphan-Maker is able to capture Franklin but has to lie to Nanny about having made him an orphan first. The Captain arrives to find the Richardses asleep underneath Sue's forcefield.
While the Captain brings Reed and Sue up to speed and tells them that the reason he came can wait while they look for Franklin, Nanny discovers that Franklin is a powerful mutant, and i like how she is dismayed to discover that Franklin is the son of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman.
Nanny scolds Orphan-Maker for lying to her.
She then goes to "the forge" to prep something. Reed, Sue, and Steve catch up with Nanny's ship in the Fantasticar, and Reed is able to drain its energy to force it to land in Central Park.
They have to engage Orphan-Maker first...
...before facing a new armored opponent that we haven't seen before (and there's no trace of the Lost Boys and Girls that we saw in Nanny's previous appearance).
The Forgotten One shows up to help out.
The others figure out that the second armored opponent is Franklin, but that's of little matter to the Forgotten One.
Issue #300 opens unexpectedly with Kang (or rather "a" Kang; the MCP says that it's the "Fred" version, which is probably confirmed in Simonson's FF run), lost in the timestream after the previous Avengers arc with Nebula. As he's shifting in and out of reality, he gets occasional glimpses into alternate dimensions, and realizes that they are converging on a point where the world is overrun with demons and there are no Avengers to stop them.
In order to escape, he has to enter our reality and time period, and to ensure that the future state that he is traveling from will continue to exist (please don't ask me to explain the metaphysics; it'll involve an in-depth review of the previous arc), he actually has to ensure that the Avengers reform once he's arrived.
In the meantime, our mish-mosh of heroes are still fighting against the armored Franklin, and Reed and Sue are already bickering.
But Reed takes the interesting tact of threatening Orphan-Maker.
And Nanny buys the bluff (if it was a bluff) and withdraws. He still leaves Franklin entranced, but his parents are able to get through to him. The Invisible Woman tries to stop Nanny's escape, but Nanny does manage to get away.
Of more immediate concern, Franklin's arrival in Manhattan has attracted the attention of N'astirh, and here's the Buscema/Palmer depictions of the Inferno villains.
So while the Captain is trying to convince the Forgotten One (who Reed suggests calling Gilgamesh) and Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman into the Avengers, N'astirh shows up personally to kidnap Franklin.
Meanwhile, Kang is fading out of existence due to the lack of an Avengers team, so to focus them, he activates the Growing Man.
The Growing Man is accosted along the way, but of course that's exactly what he wants.
But his mission includes not alerting the Avengers to Kang's involvement, so he disguises himself in demon goo from the Empire State building.
In his "disguise", the Growing Man looks vaguely familiar to me. Not quite the Man-Thing (or the Swamp Thing or the Glob) but something along those lines that i'm not putting my finger on. Maybe it's the Man-Thing while he was possessed by Unnthinnk in Defenders #98.
Meanwhile, N'astirh realizes that Franklin's power is beyond just using him as a simple pawn against the Goblin Queen.
The plan is to use him to increase the power of the pentagram that is opening the portal between Limbo and Earth.
Also meanwhile, the Captain recognizes a signature lightning strike.
And indeed it's Thor, along with a paralyzed Black Knight.
Thor puts the Black Knight in a time-preserving vortex (no footnote, but see Journey Into Mystery #110 if you're not familiar with that particular power of his).
I mentioned earlier that the Captain probably didn't go to Dr. Strange because he's supposed to be dead, but notice that Thor says that he may have to reach out to Strange for help with the Knight. Does this mean that Strange's spell didn't work on the godly Thor (and no one else bothers to "correct" him at the moment), or is he just forgetting since all that went on, or did Simonson just not know about Dr. Strange's spell and he had the Captain go to Mr. Fantastic because it's what the plot required and/or because Cap is more comfortable with a science-based solution to the Inferno problem?
Anyway, the group considers splitting up so that they can help the city while also rescuing Franklin, and that would have meant that this group of "Avengers" never really formed, so it's "good" that the Growing Man shows up to keep them together (and also show that the two plots are actually related anyway).
Recognizing that it's probably a trap, Gilgamesh responds with an almost child-like "if he leads us to monsters, so much the better!". The Growing Man leads them to the World Trade Center, where N'astirh is headquartered.
And so, big demon fight.
N'astirh is not present at the moment (he left to settle things with S'ym), and the Invisible Woman is able to locate and rescue Franklin. And, perhaps not coincidentally (although we'll see the primary reason in X-Terminators #3 and New Mutants #72), that's when the Pentagram is broken.
If you're upset that the Invisible Woman sits out the final demon fight to rescue her son, consider that all Mr. Fantastic can do is "sweep" the demons towards the heavy hitters.
That said, it would have been cool if Sue actually used her invisibility powers to infiltrate the demon lair unseen. That might have made it less about her having a maternal instinct and more about the fact that her power set made her the logical choice. But that actually isn't how it plays out.
After the pentagram is destroyed and all of the demons disintegrate, Sue starts talking about rushing Franklin home. So the Growing Man returns to again ensure that the group stays together. At this point, Thor recognizes the creature as the Growing Man despite the demon goo...
... and only Mr. Fantastic's super-genius can counteract its defenses. He rigs up the Fantasticar with a device that makes the Growing Man grow smaller with every hit, and Thor and Gilgamesh take it from there.
Reed and Sue agree to join the Avengers because it's clear that they can't just withdraw from the world to keep Franklin safe (Gilgamesh joins just on the promise that he can fight more monsters). Franklin was kidnapped twice in these issues alone, after all. But they left the Fantastic Four not just to keep Franklin safe, but more because they wanted to spend more time with Franklin. The point was made at the end of Byrne's run and also at the beginning of Englehart's that Reed felt like he was losing touch with his kid. So the safety concern seems almost beside the point. It's possible that Walt Simonson might have addressed this if he was able to go further. It would have been interesting if Louise Simonson had also stayed on Power Pack, perhaps allowing an integration of the two parts of Franklin's life.
But of course none of that was to be. The Marvel editors had decided that Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman ought to go back to the Fantastic Four, and it's hard to argue with that. And i'm certainly not going to defend this Avengers line-up. I can't think of anyone less suited to be an Avenger than the eponymous leader of the Fantastic Four. It's something that you can imagine coming up in a spitballing session, but it should have been nixed by the editor. Instead, very similar to what happened to Steve Englehart on West Coast Avengers with Mantis, Walt Simonson was allowed to get as far as seeing his developments make it into print before being told he couldn't go further with it. Bringing up Englehart is also relevant since it's his FF book that the Richardses are being forced back into.
As i said at the top, though, if you ignore the weird decision to make this a permanent team, this is definitely a fun story. And i have no objection to the Forgotten Gilgamesh becoming an Avenger, except for that unwieldy armor he's wearing.
These issues are also the last by the great art team of John Buscema and Tom Palmer. Palmer will remain on the title (skipping next issue) for a while longer, but the art team that defined the Avengers look for me and kept things consistent after Roger Stern's departure, through bad fill-ins and Simonson's mixed run, ends along with Simonson. As for the writers, we'll have some emergency editor-written fill-ins similar to the situation after Stern was fired, and then John Byrne comes on board.
It's worth noting that while Editorial seems to be asleep at the wheel in terms of approving plots, the coordination between titles is very tight, with the ins and outs of both Cap and Thor (and the Black Knight) being very specifically arranged. The story also fits nicely with Inferno, with the added power Franklin was providing to the pentagram being an additional layer to the story that is nice if you know about it but isn't critical if you are only reading the X-books.
A back-up story in #300 has Loki angrily retelling the origin of the Avengers (which he's responsible for). It's drawn by Walt Simonson (and scripted by Ralph Macchio), and it's very nice.
His mention of returning "next annum" to get revenge on the Avengers shows that Acts of Vengeance was already being planned.
Issue #300 also has a few other special features, including a map of Avengers Park (the former location of the Mansion), a handbook entry for Jarvis, and a list of everyone who was ever an Avenger. The latter has some inconsistencies, like listing Avengers annual #13 as an Avengers appearance for Hulk, and not including any West Coast Avengers appearances even though it shows a picture of characters like the Thing and Moon Knight, who have only appeared on the West Coast team. The issue also includes a section that says:
With his assumption of command, Captain America has decided to increase the Avengers' staff of full-time support personnel in order to expand the scope and efficiency of the peace-keeping organization's activities and to maintain the Avengers' organizational integrity during crisis situations (such as the recent membership walkout). In the past, maintenance activities were performed by one man, Edwin Jarvis. Jarvis, primarily the butler, would be obliged to hire caterers, groundskeepers, and special telephone operators as the need arose. The members of the Avengers themselves handled various operational functions such as information gathering and processing, the assessment of priorities, the briefing of military and law enforcement officials, the paperwork involved in criminal prosecutions, public relations coordination, etc.. In Captain America's new plan, all these functions will be handled by full-time staff people under Edwin Jarvis's coordination. The following chart depicts those persons Captain America and Edwin Jarvis have hired or will hire in the next few months.
I think "will hire" must be applicable for most of these people, since the Captain (note that they're calling him Captain America again already in the text; Cap #350 came out the same month as Avengers #300) couldn't really have had any time to set any of this up since we saw him last issue.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Captain America appears here after Captain America #349. Thor and Black Knight appear here after Thor #400 (although the MCP also has Thor in a back-up story from Thor annual #15 in between). Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman appear here after Silver Surfer #15-19. This begins after X-Terminators #3/New Mutants #71, and it ends concurrently with X-Terminators #4/New Mutants #72. The real Kang does not appear in this story, but he appears in Fantastic Four #323, and in that book he's aware of Fred Kang trying to break into this dimension, meaning that FF #323 takes place concurrently with Avengers #300, too. It's worth repeating that if you click on the Growing Man's Character Appearance link, the list is not necessarily chronological or even necessarily a representation of the same character. The last Growing Man appearance was in Roger Stern's run, and that was in Limbo. His appearance prior to that was in Iron Man #108, which took place at Stark Industries (and the Rigellians had beamed him in from an unspecified location). This appearance has him activated from an abandoned tenement in Alphabet City (part of Manhattan), and that may actually be where he had been lying since his defeat way back in Avengers #69. Finally, since we see the pentagram in this issue, i've included the Inferno babies as Appearing here, even though we don't see any of them individually.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (13): show
I thought Gilgamesh's armor was unique enough to be remembered.
Posted by: clyde | August 26, 2014 7:39 PM
When this came out I was actually excited about the book's new direction. I don't really remember why. I do remember my immense disappointment at John Buscema being off the book. The Buscema/Palmer team was irreplaceable to me back then. I stuck with the book for a few more issues before dropping it into the "check back every few months" category and eventually "check back every other year."
Posted by: Robert | August 26, 2014 7:40 PM
I think Simonson deserves more blame for the Reed and Sue debacle than you're giving him. If he didn't think that the editors would yank Reed and Sue back to the FF if sales collapsed on the FF, then he probably fell for people offering to sell him bridges.
Posted by: Michael | August 26, 2014 7:49 PM
Creators starting plot threads that see print, but then get axed a few issues in becomes a hallmark of the DeFalco era. Many great runs are prematurely aborted under DeFalco's tutelage.
Posted by: Chris | August 26, 2014 11:33 PM
I really enjoyed the run from 297-300 (including Annual 13) and was likewise excited for the new line-up. (I had no particular associations with Reed & Sue with the FF, since they left that team on my first issue of that title that I read.) I was not too aware of artists and writers at the tie, but I knew the quality took a swift downward turn from here. And now I know why.
I hated how they tossed aside the Forgotten One, though. I guess nobody else knew what to do with him. (I imagine Byrne felt something like "If I'm going to be stuck with an Eternal, I want a more interesting one like Sersi, not one so similar to Thor or Hercules")
Posted by: Erik Robbins | August 27, 2014 1:16 AM
Someone should give Nanny and Orphan Maker an overhaul. Their shtick of making children orphans to "save" them should be increadibly creepy, but in practice it just doesn't work. Nanny just has the stupidest design. Even the sexy-nanny-robot Magneto would later makes looks less stupid! and seeing these pictures of Orphan Maker just sitting there crying just make it impossible to take him seriously as a threat.
Posted by: Berend | August 27, 2014 10:16 AM
You say that Cap doesn't recognise any of the New Mutants, but doesn't the line "I don't recognise you all" imply that he does recognise some of them?
Posted by: Stephen | August 27, 2014 11:29 AM
I think that's just like a colloquialism, a slightly more formal version of "y'all". It means "all of you". It may not be appropriate for Steve Rogers, who grew up around New York, but we've seen Louise Simonson throw in the occasional Southern US phrasing, and perhaps that rubbed off on Walt. And Cap has traveled the country so it's not impossible that he'd picked something like that up.
When Cap first sees the New Mutants he says "It's some costumed kids I've never seen before!" and then a little later thinks to himself "But who are they? There're so many super heroes around, I can't even keep them straight anymore!". So i don't think he recognizes any of them. I'd think if he recognized some of them he could put the pieces together about the others.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 27, 2014 11:40 AM
There is another named goblin servant of N'astirh here that calls himself Klytus. I wonder if he was meant to be Crotus? This appears to be his only known appearance.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 28, 2014 4:25 PM
I figured it was just another demon. I assume they all have names! ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | August 28, 2014 5:04 PM
Gilgamesh, or as I used to call him, Cow-Man. Yes, I know it technically should be Bull-Man, but mine is funnier.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 28, 2014 8:28 PM
Even though she's not shown on panel, Gosamyr would be with the New Mutants here. Would that be enough to add her to the Characters Appearing?
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | September 26, 2014 2:27 PM
I remember reading on John Byrne's site once about his original plans for his Immortus story on Avengers West Coast. IIRC, it was a post-apocalyptic future story, sort of a 'Days of Future Past' for the Avengers. Black Knight's being placed in the time vortex here wound up playing a significant role in that story. He's basically the hero of it. Sadly, we never got that story due to, as Chris mentioned above, Tom DeFalco mucking things up after a writer had already started a storyline.
Posted by: Robert | September 26, 2014 2:42 PM
@Robert, another user (Walter Lawson) speaks on that in the comments here:
Posted by: Cullen | September 26, 2014 2:58 PM
@Jay, I don't like to do that. This way if someone writes a continuity insert featuring Gosamyr having tea with Typhoid Mary during Infero while the rest of the New Mutants are meeting the Captain, i won't think it's a conflict.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 26, 2014 3:08 PM
@Mark Drummond that reminds me of a hilarious supervillain from Ralph Bakshi's 'Mighty Mouse' cartoon - contemporaneous to these stories, in fact!
(See him here, in battle with Bat-Bat:
Posted by: Cullen | September 26, 2014 3:16 PM
Some fanzines ran the first version of #300's cover, which had Gilgamesh in his shirtless outfit rather than his armor.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 2, 2015 6:40 PM
Tom Morgan got a special inking credit - he did a great job on Big John's pencils.
Too bad Uncle Walt got pushed off this book.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | April 7, 2015 8:32 PM
@fnord12: Have you figured out who the "Inferno"-ised Growing Man reminded you of?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 7, 2015 9:39 PM
Thanks for pointing out the Tom Morgan credit, Vin. I've added him.
Nathan, no, it still looks vaguely familiar but nothing specific. It's kind of like a Hanna-Barbara version of the Man-Thing or something.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 8, 2015 7:39 AM
@fnord12: HB rings a bell, perhaps a Scooby-Doo creature!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 8, 2015 7:50 AM
I never thought this was a particularly good idea and was surprised at the team I was left with after this big anniversary issue. Kind of thought it might not last long. At least the conflict of having Reed on the team is handled better than the ridiculously unsubtle pushing out of Monica.
Walt was have inked his bit at the end as well - his Loki in the shadows reminds me of his awesome Thor with the shadow across him in the first issue of his run on Thor.
So ready to be done with Nanny, but first, of course, she has to go to the X-Men and kill Storm.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 18, 2015 11:48 AM
Also, forgot to mention - the Toll House thing could be a double meaning.
First, it's perfectly in line with Steve Rogers and the way that he has been portrayed for the last few years as the ultimate boy scout. It's just seems so traditional.
But second, it might also be a nod to DC's Martian Manhunter, who had become addicted to Oreos not that long before this.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 18, 2015 9:45 PM
I had been reading Avengers for nearly 200 consecutive issues when these issues were published, and I felt (and still do) that the new line up showed a lack of understanding about what the Avengers concept was about, which really surprised me give the track records of the creative team and the editors involved.
Avengers really should be a showcase 1.) for the essential Marvel heroes who have established roots in the Marvel Universe before joining the team, 2.) for heroes whose abilities and concept do not completely duplicate another character's, and 3.) for heroes who have not had the majority of their career as a member with another contemporary team -- like The Defenders or the Fantastic Four, for instance, but not the 1940s Invaders.
Certainly there have been successful exceptions to my own guidelines, such as the Vision or the Beast, but even then the Vision's lack of a backstory outside the Avengers has created numerous continuity problems which damaged the character's viability at times, and the Beast has been involved in editorial politics between the Avenger and X-Men offices in the past.
Read and Sue obviously are better served having their sole group affiliation be the Fantastic Four, and the Forgotten One really shouldn't be a member at the same time as Thor, given the overlap in concepts.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 19, 2015 12:49 AM
The "Mark's Remarks" editorial by Mark Gruenwald of Avengers #300 is a curiosity: http://michaelsidney.thehoskincentre.com/8902.html
In it he says: "Cap! Thor! Mr. Fantastic! Invisible Woman! and Gilgamesh! How long can this mighty amalgamation of heroes last as a fighting team? We hope you'll be surprised." Well, yes, ultimately we readers were indeed surprised!
Gruenwald's comment makes it sound as if Marvel editorial had no plans to remove Mr. Fantastic or the Invisble Woman from the team, but then Gruenwald, in the next paragraph, mentions that Walt Simonson is leaving the series -- which only occurred because Simonson was told that he could no longer have Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman on the Avengers. Knowing that this part of the editorial is spin control certainly undermines some of the trust that the company -- and Gruenwald in particular -- had built in the past.
In the same editorial, Gruenwald mentions that he is leaving the book as its editor, not on a high note, which is unfortunate, as he oversaw a very successful run on the series. It also emphasizes how bold Gruenwald is in establishing the Avengers support team in a handbook entry, considering that this team will be used after he leaves the book, essentially dictating who the supporting cast will be to future writers, without them having any say in it.
And Gruenwald also mentions that Byrne is taking over the writing duties, which does indicate that "Acts of Vengeance" might have been in the planning stages, like Fnord suggests.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 26, 2015 11:11 PM
Captain America restores the team here, and becomes the dominant character in the book. He hasn't been this much in charge since the Kooky Quartet issues until his departure in Avengers #47. He will remain the dominant character until he steps down as chairman at the end of Operation Galactic Storm.
Posted by: Steven | December 29, 2016 11:28 AM
I'm curious about the Avengers staff list - how many of these characters did we see in a definitive Avengers staff role? O'Brien, Fabian, Jarvis, Peggy, M'Daka, Sikorsky, Walter Newell/Stingray, Kincaid, Nuklo/Robert Frank, John Jameson all made appearances as Avengers staff. Gilbert Vaughn and Arnold Roth did not. I'm not sure about Puentes, Diane Newell, Genji, Talia, or Inger Sullivan. Anyone know about those folks?
Posted by: Mark Black | December 29, 2016 12:25 PM
Donna Maria appears during the Capwolf issues as a receptionist. She does nothing but provide a girl for Moonhunter to hit on unsuccessfully.
You'd think Cap could find a receptionist from closer to home. It smacks of favouritism, Cap taking care of his friends.
Posted by: kveto | December 29, 2016 3:22 PM
Donna Maria also appeared as receptionist in some issues of QUASAR.
I think Arnie Roth might have made a single appearance as a support staff member in AVENGERS #311, during the assault on Avengers Island--but it is hard to tell, since it is a very tiny view in the background of a single panel. But I think its him--there weren't many other options in the staff for people of his height and hairline.
Posted by: Dermie | December 30, 2016 4:17 PM
I feel as if they could have relaxed on getting across how impressive Cap is to the other characters once Monica was off the team. But here I notice Gilgamesh making an (to me, anyway) oddly placed observation about "probably the tone of voice" when Cap yells Avengers Assemble. But that's a minor quibble- while I miss Stern, the art team really makes this so utterly wonderful. Just seeing body language stuff Buscema/Palmer do in passing makes me love comics all over again.
Posted by: Wis | December 31, 2016 3:34 AM
Arnie doesn't appear in any Avengers issues - nor does he ever appear as a member of the Avengers Crew. He does however become a member of Captain America's little personal support crew in the last 20 or so issues of Gruenwald's run.
Donna Maria does appear as a receptionist in Captain America - in one of the back-ups when Crossbones forces Diamondback to go to Avengers Mansion and steal some of Cap's blood samples and again later in the issue when Cap and Falcon go to rescue Diamondback from Crossbones and Red Skull. And Dermie is right - again in Quasar in the issue with the evil Marvel Boy trying to join the Avengers.
Inger Sullivan (Cap's legal representation when the Commission were going to fire him) doesn't have a single appearance after her appearance in Cap #332.
Diane Newell doesn't have any appearances as an actual Crew member, but she did appear in #262 where she was clearly primed to be a sort of proto-Crew member alongside Stingray.
Posted by: AF | December 31, 2016 7:00 AM
I may be the only one to actually like FF members being Avengers (after all, we had the Beast for a long time) but even then, I see obvious problems with that. Yes, Reed and Sue are cool and their powers would be pretty useful for the team (especially Sue's). But as many people said, having the founder and leader of the FF as an Avenger is rather illogical. (even if Ben is currently in charge of the team) That'd be like making Xavier or Cyclops an Avenger. You can't just make the leader figure of a team a simple member of another team. That sounds like character dilution.
Now, Sue on her own could have been great, but if she isn't in a break-up phase like it happened in the 70s, it doesn't make sense for her to be away from Reed.
Ben is actually the best option if you really want a FF member in your Avengers team, but he was currently leading the Fantastic Three. And we all know how long he stayed in the Whackos. Which is a shame, btw, because he has a lot of potential when away from the FF. But it looks like some people saw the potential since he becomes an Avenger again around 2010.
(Nowadays Johnny is part of the Unity Squad in Uncanny Avengers, but that works way better now than 30 years ago. There isn't even a FF team right now, and Johnny is a bit more independent and mature than before.)
I still think Byrne's idea of making the FF live with the Avengers after their building was destroyed, while not making them part of the team, was probably the best situation.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | March 15, 2017 5:54 AM
RE the Growing Man's inferno disguise: I don't know if this is what fnord is thinking of, but it reminds me of the aliens from the 3-part series premiere of the Justice League cartoon ("Secret Origins"), which were inspired by the science fiction art of Richard Powers.
Posted by: Andrew | July 12, 2017 2:08 PM
That specific panel FNORD12 mentioned (but not any others) is reminiscent of Cthulhu with some of the sludge looking like mouth tentacles.
I agree with the general comments here about the team makeup. Gilgamesh and Thor duplicate each other's powers/roles/personalities too much, and having FF members doesn't work out. It would have been better to hold onto some of the Evolutionary War's "team" into this (Falcon and a surviving Jocasta would have been fine) as a temporary fix and then reunited with Thor and Gilgamesh. Then the team could spend the next few issues finding more permanent members (since Quasar's membership was dictated by Gruenwald, he would have made a recruit) while others (like the Falcon) retired since they were no longer needed. It would have made an interesting half a year period as members join and leave as a new line up becomes established.
As others have mentioned, the new Avengers staff is seen in only bits and pieces with many members shown on this Handbook style page never seeming to appear in print. Regardless, it was a good concept - Jarvis can't be doing everything himself. Some of the choices are stronger than others (Robert Frank, Jr as groundskeeper is awesome as are any of the Wakandan members, but way too many minor Cap characters).
Posted by: Chris | July 12, 2017 3:19 PM
When I was reading this issue, a sniggling little voice in the back of my head kept saying things like, "Walt Simonson didn't write this," and "This reads more like something that the nostalgic, Silver Age-minded Tom DeFalco might have written." So then I flipped through the opening page credits for the past 11 Avengers issues. Avengers #289 lists Macchio as "scripter," Gruenwald as "editor," and DeFalco as "editor-in-chief." #290 lists Macchio as "script/co-plot," Gruenwald as "editor/co-plot," and DeFalco as "ed.-in-chief." Fine. But then, for #291-300, they all list Simonson as "writing," Gruenwald as "editing," and DeFalco as "editing in chief." No exceptions. I can't recall ever seeing a credit for "editing in chief" before, although I've seen plenty for "editor-in-chief."
My surmise is that DeFalco, and maybe Gruenwald too, was, or were, taking a more nostalgic approach to editing than what I've grown accustomed to thinking about over the years. Back in the Silver Age, sometimes editors like Stan Lee, and probably some of the DC editors, were known for rewriting dialog & narrative, and sometimes even rejecting entire pages-- actually dictating exactly what specific scenes and words they wanted to go on those pages.
Now I feel much better about Simonson. Maybe he didn't actually write very much of this-- dare-I-call it-- drek. Maybe he just submitted his writing for "editing" before finally and thankfully turning his back on the whole misbegotten project.
Posted by: Holt | November 17, 2017 10:26 PM
I really like the John Buscema & Tom Palmer depiction of the Limbo villains, especially N'astirh. That makes sense, since they did work on the Magik miniseries, which was set in Limbo, a few years earlier.
Considering that for a long time there was very little in the way of association between the Avengers and X-Men books, I did rather appreciate these issues because they had the Avengers (well, a rather odd incarnation of the Avengers, to be sure) briefly fighting several X-villains.
Avengers #298-300 are undoubtedly the best issues of Walter Simonson's short, troubled run. Part of me is curious as to how things would have gone if he had stayed longer. I wonder what he would have done with Gilgamesh, who was pretty much a blank slate. But, as I've mentioned before, I really think in the long run it worked out better for him to tell the stories he wanted on Fantastic Four, where there was less editorial interference and he was also able to draw them.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 17, 2017 11:56 PM
I would say Avengers Annual #17 is Simonson's best output on Avengers. He got to just tell an Avengers story.
I remember reading a long time ago that Simonson wanted to do a Avengers line-up made up almost entirely of X-characters which got nixed... something of an obvious precursor to when he does the New Fantastic Four... but I've honestly not heard a thing about this since when I first read that. Has anyone else heard this/is there any truth to it?
Posted by: AF | November 18, 2017 5:26 AM
(The assertion being that after that got nixed, he went for two of the FF instead.)
Posted by: AF | November 18, 2017 5:29 AM
@AF... Yes, the Avengers annual that Simonson wrote was also very good. Thanks for reminding me.
Simonson doesn't have much luck with Avengers, does he? His short run in the late 1980s was done under a cloud with lots of behind-the-scenes drama causing various problems. In the 1990s he had an opportunity to write Avengers again, except it was to finish off the second half of "Heroes Reborn" after Liefeld got fired. Then a few years ago he penciled six issues of Avengers, except these were part of the whole AvX mega-crossover, they were written by Bendis, and very few of the long-time team members showed up. I bought them solely because Simonson's penciling was as amazing as ever, but truthfully I was a underwhelmed by the writing.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 18, 2017 3:47 PM
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