Avengers annual #13
Issue(s): Avengers annual #13
It's in the faces where you see the blending of the two artists' styles most clearly.
As for the story, it's a great use of continuity from Roger Stern. In the Hulk book, the Bruce Banner Hulk built Northwind Observatory and created all manner of technology for his experiments. Now that Banner has lost control of the Hulk and is banished to the crossroads of reality, what will become of his lab?
Well, we start with Captain America stopping the Fixer from looting it.
Fixer's dialogue is surprisingly old-school. I double checked the credits to see if Ditko might have been scripting as well when i first read it.
The Fixer's attempt was the sixth in as many days, so Captain America makes a call to the Vision, who is already in video conference with Raymond Sikorsky. The Vision sends a group of Avengers to guard the lab while a group of scientists are sent in to review and remove the technology.
The Avengers include Cap, Thor, Wasp, and Captain Marvel. The scientists include Mr. Fantastic, Henry Pym, the Beast, and a guy from Cross Technological Enterprises named Douglas Arthur Cartland. She-Hulk accompanies Mr. Fantastic.
It's nice to see Beast included.
The Beast's scientific abilities have been downplayed since the late seventies, but they're an important part of his character. He mentions in this issue that he's a bit rusty.
The main bad guy of this issue is that awesome creation of Jack Kirby, Arnim Zola.
He's supported by a wave of Hulk clones (80% the strength of the real Hulk and easily destroyed if you hit them with a two part variety attack; e.g., one hit of Thor's hammer followed by one sting from the Wasp, two different forms of Captain Marvel's energy, etc.).
But the main attack from Zola isn't the Hulk clones. It's their pants.
This was a really fun annual.
I also like the cover copy: "Hulk times a hundred equals holocaust!". That's a good rule of thumb.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place "six days" after the Hulk is banished in Hulk #300. The Beast appears here before he rejoins the other Defenders from his leave of absence (including his lecture circuit and time with Dazzler), so between Defenders #133-134. Takes place between Avengers #245-246 and between Fantastic Four #268-269.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showArnim Zola, Beast, Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Fixer, Henry Pym, Mr. Fantastic, Raymond Sikorski, She-Hulk, Thor, Vision, Wasp
Before returning to Marvel in 1984, Ditko had been working for Charlton(before it went blooey for good), Archie, and some independent comics.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 9, 2011 1:12 AM
This Annual was originally announced to show the Juggernaut busting out of his cement trap from Spider-Man, and the Avengers trying to contain him again. I'm guessing Claremont exercised veto power over Stern and chose to have him break out off-panel in the recent past in X-Men.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 17, 2013 4:07 PM
Byrne inking Ditko sounds like a horrible clash of styles to me, but it's really pretty enjoyable for the most part. Byrne supplies a lot more detail to the figures than we're used to seeing in a Ditko story, but he keeps the classic (and often bordering on bizarre) Ditko poses. Unless you HATE Ditko, the results are a lot of fun, especially as a one-off annual story.
Posted by: Dan H. | October 10, 2015 1:11 PM
I love this issue. Ditko drawing the Avengers ! What an amazing and unlikely concept, but here it is ! Inked sympathetically by Byrne and a great story from Stern. My favourite Avengers Annual and one of my favourite Avengers stories.
Posted by: Mike Teague | November 3, 2017 6:22 PM
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