Issue(s): Avengers #1, Avengers Classic #1
Avengers Classic #1
Loki wants to fight Thor but Thor is currently Don Blake so Loki looks for a reason to have him turn into Thor.
He scans the Earth and finds the Hulk, who he tricks into destroying some train tracks. The Teen Brigade try to contact the FF to either clear the Hulk's name or stop him if he is guilty, but Loki directs the radio waves so that Don Blake hears the message instead. He becomes Thor and flies off. Ant-Man and the Wasp also hear the message and launch themselves in their double catapult to a "flying ant relay". Iron Man receives the message, too.
Somehow the FF also get the message but Reed says the FF can't be bothered to help right now. The other heroes show up and impress the hell out of the Teen Brigade.
Loki lures Thor away from the group using a Hulk illusion, and the rest fly off to a circus where one of Ant-Man's ants has spotted the Hulk, who is pretending to be an elephant-juggling robot.
If you haven't been reading reprints and flashbacks of this issue since you were a kid, you might think the idea that the Hulk has disguised himself as an elephant juggling robot to be pretty bizarre, but you're just showing your own ignorance.
Ant-Man, Wasp, and Iron Man keep attacking the Hulk while telling him that they are his friend. Actually, it's Iron Man who does the fighting...
...while Ant-Man rattles on about his ant army. Love Iron Man's expression in this picture. "Army of ants? What kind of freaks have i gotten myself involved with?"
Meanwhile Thor travels to the Isle of Silence in Asgard to face Loki. On the Isle, Thor first fights some awesome looking Kirby-trolls (i love that troll's expression in that second panel. He's winning, pulling Thor down, but he still looks confused and scared.)...
...but then defeats Loki by magnetizing his hammer (whatever!).
Meanwhile the Hulk has fled to an automobile manufacturing plant in Detroit (see, this is why the floating 10 year rule doesn't work. This story has to take place in 1963 because there are no automoblie manufacturing plants in Detroit anymore). Thor shows up with Loki and convinces Hulk and Iron Man to stop fighting. Then Loki becomes radioactive so Ant-Man locks him in a lead-lined tank that "even Loki can't escape from". Thor says he will take Loki back to Asgard after he's done being radioactive. Before they separate, though, Ant-Man, seeing an opportunity out of obscurity hell, appeals to the group, suggesting they form a team. They all agree, including the Hulk, who is tired of being hounded. The Wasp suggests the name the Avengers, which everyone agrees to because it is colorful and dramatic.
In 2007, Marvel began reprinting the original Avengers issues in a format explicitly designed to replicate the Classic X-Men issues from the 1980s. The creative team for the back-ups starts as Dwayne McDuffie and Michael Avon Oeming, two creators that i like, but they won't remain on the series for the full twelve issues that the reprints lasted. This first one takes place after the formation of the team, while they are trying to have their first meeting but are instead fighting amongst themselves. There's an unnecessary amount of sexual innuendo in the banter.
McDuffie also makes overt the subtext of Pym deciding to become Giant-Man to compete with the more powerful members of the team.
There is a lot of squabbling over who gets to be the chairman of the team. A compromise is reached when the Wasp is secretly made the chairwoman.
Some of these back-ups will add some nice characterization to the early Avengers stories, but this one is just trying too hard to be clever.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP and the Indexes place this between Journey Into Mystery #96-97, Tales of Suspense #44-45, and Tales to Astonish #47-48. For Thor, Jane Foster leaves Donald Blake's office for awhile in Jim #97 and she's shown working for him here. For Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp, there's no specific context.
All of the reprint back-ups are designed to take place between the current issue and the next one (if not during the current issue).
Continuity Insert? P - reprint back-up story is continuity insert
My Reprint: Main story is an original, back-up is from Avengers: First to Last TPB
Inbound References (31): show
quite enjoyed Loki taking the time to explain the origin of the Old Man of the Sea myth while Thor's wrestling that troll.
about that lead-lined tank:
set aside for the moment the wtf-ery of how ok everyone must have been with this practice in the 60s for it to be used in this plot. I want to know how come every sea-dwelling creature in the Marvel universe doesn't have super powers? the rules of comic book super science are pretty clear - exposure to radioactivity = super powers.
Posted by: min | December 9, 2011 9:29 AM
Have you seen the things Namor calls out of the ocean whenever he attacks the surface world? ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | December 9, 2011 10:00 AM
it doesn't count if they don't also wear spandex briefs to show they've got super powers and aren't just your normal, everyday monster from below.
Posted by: min | December 9, 2011 11:03 AM
I invisionment of the Avengers include Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and Hawkeye. The Wasp could die for all I care.lol
Posted by: doomsday | October 27, 2013 12:57 AM
Hank Pym peaks here. I think it is mostly downhill for him afterwards.
Posted by: Steven Printz | January 12, 2014 8:00 AM
I take back what I said. My version of the avengers would be Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Yellow Jacket(it's a cool costume) ,Wasp, Hulk, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Panther, Hercules, and Ms.Marvel. Any objections?
Posted by: doomsday | June 24, 2014 10:17 PM
Yes, needs Wonderman and Beast.
Posted by: david banes | June 25, 2014 1:42 AM
I forgot about them.
Posted by: doomsday | June 25, 2014 10:08 AM
I loved hearing the Hulk talk in his early appearances. None of the "Hulk Smash" stuff yet.
Posted by: clyde | June 25, 2014 12:51 PM
Anything over 7 members at one time is overkill, IMO.
Posted by: Robert | June 25, 2014 2:18 PM
It really depends on the 7 members. If they are mostly low-level powered or a mix of low-level powered & non-powered, it shouldn't be an issue.
Posted by: clyde | June 25, 2014 2:41 PM
Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Hawkeye, Vision, and Scarlet Witch, the perfect roster.
Posted by: doomsday | June 25, 2014 2:54 PM
"I want to know how come every sea-dwelling creature in the Marvel universe doesn't have super powers? the rules of comic book super science are pretty clear - exposure to radioactivity = super powers."
There's actually an answer to this. It's established in the Marvel universe that the main reason humans are so susceptible to mutation via radiation is because of the genetic tinkering the Celestials did way back in the dim and misty. But since they only tamper with the dominant species on the planet at the time, humans are the only species on Marvel Earth that possess that added potential.
So essentially, mutation (in the sense of the X-gene) is a direct naturally-occurring manifestation of their alterations to the "mainline" DNA (with Eternals and Deviants being the more extreme result), and characters like the Hulk, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man are basically cases where the external stimuli of radiation successfully triggered a form of mutation where otherwise none would have occurred.
So in a universe where the Celestials never visited Earth, presumably the Fantastic Four would have just died of tissue damage and/or cancer.
That being said, radiation shouldn't be able to cause massive mutation on a similar scale in other species, because they were never "adjusted" by the Celestials.
Of course, tons of sea monsters DO exist in the Marvel universe, but most of them have other origins...
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | August 29, 2014 9:13 AM
Of course, as a counterpoint to that, there are the desert creatures that were mutated by the Banner's gamma bomb that Rick Jones-Hulk met.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | August 29, 2014 12:26 PM
There's something I like and dislike with these baby years of the Marvel universe.
One hand: I kind of like this silliness like Hulk disguising himself as a clown.
Other hand: action was less direct for the first year or two. Instead of Iron Man trying to hit the Hulk with lasers missiles or restraining him with brought strength he crafts a weird fork thing and tosses it. Then again Spidey's fights involved more melee with just Ock Ock and Sandman, Vulture and Chameleon were more crafty villains then that had to be caught.
Posted by: david banes | September 12, 2014 5:10 PM
There is so much that is awesome about this story on so many levels.
1 - Awesome level of power. There will be an early X-Men / Avengers face-off, but if Hulk hadn't left the team, the X-Men had no chance (they still really had no chance). The sheer power of having Hulk, Thor and Iron Man on the team is incredible.
2 - Awesome way to gather a team. The FF are a family. The X-Men are a school. The JSA came together because of the war. The JLA each fought a foe that turned out to be a group of foes. But Loki creates this entirely by accident. Love it.
3 - Awesome hilarity. The Hulk as a clown - always loved it. Flying all the way to the southwest in a few hours on flying ants - love it. Iron Man explaining what he's doing with that metal and the Hulk just standing there - love it. Loki conveniently standing in the one spot where Hank could dump him into a lead-lined container - absolutely love it.
4 - Awesome long-existing teamwork. Original FF - together for decades, in spite of fights. Original JLA - together for a long time, adding characters. Original X-Men - together for over a decade. Original Avengers? Finally together at the end of issue #1 and one member leaves at the end of issue #2.
5 - Awesome ending. I must have read this for the first time in the early 80's in Son of Origins, but I really remember reading it a lot in the mid-80's. In other words, after Mr. T became famous. And so the Hulk's, "I pity the guys" just sounded like it was 20 years ahead of its time.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 8, 2014 8:17 PM
There's not auto plants in Detroit anymore? Where was I really working for 2 1/2 years then? Hm...
Posted by: Bill | August 19, 2015 9:49 PM
Dick Ayers was the inker, as per the splash page.
Posted by: Haydn | July 22, 2016 11:27 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | July 25, 2016 8:23 AM
This is my all time favorite Marvel series. I bought this one when it first came out. I think it was like the second Marvel comic that I bought myself. Most of the others I had read were my older brother's. I agree that this team was way more powerful than the X-men. Although I think the JSA in its war-time roster was the most powerful super team ever with Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Hourman, Johnny Thunder with his cosmic powered thunderbolt, Starman, the Spectre, Superman and Wonder Woman.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 24, 2016 9:51 PM
Heh, Joe Casey's Avengers: Origin series changes the location of the auto plant from Detroit to Denver.
My vote for mightiest super team in comics is the pre-Crisis Legion!
Posted by: intp | September 12, 2017 4:03 PM
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