Issue(s): Avengers #181, Avengers #182
...philosophizing over their roles as heroes and their relationship with the public.
When the pair get home, they find out about the Avengers' new security measures, put in place at the behest of Henry Gyrich.
Note the first, pre-Ant-Man appearance of Scott Lang above.
Later, Gyrich calls together all of the current Avengers (and their guests the Guardians of the Galaxy are there as well).
There's obviously a lot of them, and Gyrich wants to pare down their membership to seven in exchange for a return of their security clearance. Iron Man grates at being dictated policy, especially when Gyrich actually reveals that the security council got to pick which seven without any input from the team. They based their criteria on "uniqueness of abilities, established loyalties, and applicable regulations".
(It's worth keeping in mind, as you read these early Gyrich appearances, that he was initially based on Jim Shooter.)
Gyrich doesn't really upset the apple cart too much in terms of membership, keeping a classic core team and a few specialty characters. The wildcard is adding the Falcon, who isn't even currently a member of the team.
This is done in order to adhere to government equal opportunity policies. The Avengers start to object on several grounds, including the fact that a team that includes androids and mutants should already be considered inclusive. But the argument is cut short when Quicksilver passes out with no explanation. As Donald Blake investigates Quicksilver's condition and the other Avengers start making preparations for Gyrich's new requirements (which also include new security measures), the Scarlet Witch passes out as well.
That first issue, #181, is pretty groundbreaking in the sense that it spends so much time on characterization and administrative stuff, and there are no gratuitous fights at all. Downtime issues will actually become a trademark of the Michelinie run, but this was the first such issue. The reaction in the letters page in issue #185 was polarized, with many people loving it (but still disappointed that a favorite character was off the team) and many calling it 'ridiculous' or 'sicken[ing]'.
The Avengers are stumped finding the cause of the mutant siblings' comas. The Avengers complain that Gyrich's edict forced out all the 'cosmic' Avengers (Captain Marvel, Moondragon, Starhawk, maybe Ms. Marvel with her Seventh Sense) who might otherwise have been able to sense something. Jocasta chimes in, saying she's able to sense something, prompting an outburst from Gyrich about him not knowing that she was an intelligent lifeform and she'll need a security clearance as well. Wait till he finds out she was built by Ultron.
Wanda and Pietro's comas are actually caused by the old Romani man we've been seeing in subplots in recent issues of the Avengers. He's Django Maximoff, and he claims to be the siblings' father. He's captured their souls in little wooden puppets.
The Avengers track down the apartment he's staying at, but find themselves attacked by wooden mannequins of all varieties. Eventually the Avengers fight their way through the dummies and the Vision destroys the stone that Django used to capture Wanda and Pietro's souls and they are restored to their bodies. However, they are intrigued by Django's claims and decide to travel with him back to Europe to investigate further. The Scarlet Witch says, "And anyway, what harm is there in giving a lonely old man a family... even if just for a few days" as if this guy hadn't just STOLEN THEIR SOULS!
Possibly my favorite changing of the guard story. Issue #182, which has the team fighting mostly illusions...
...is a little less interesting, but it's definitely a cool arc.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Hulk Smash Avengers #2 introduces a number of dependencies. See that entry for more details.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Avengers: Nights of Wundagore
Inbound References (7): show
Kurt Busiek has a letter in #182.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 25, 2013 6:24 PM
Gyrich hadn't exactly been up all night working out this line-up, had he, as with one exception it is the same team that was formed in #151. The one person who should have been upset was not Hawkeye but Yellowjacket, but as was seen later in #181, Hank Pym wasn't too disappointed at being left out, continuing a theme of Pym's reluctance to be in the team first mentioned in #93.
Posted by: Mike Teague | December 17, 2013 5:40 AM
Just noticed this: you don't have Pym as one of the characters here yet you list Scott Lang...when he barely even existed at this point! (weirdly "To Steal an Ant-Man" occured about the same time and was written by the same writer...unless its behind the scenes as Hank is being yelled at by Gyrich some more)
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 14, 2014 3:18 PM
Thanks for catching this, Ataru. This seems to be a mistake i blindly copied over from the MCP, who also list Lang and not Pym for issue #181. Fixed it. Unless there's some weird retcon i don't know about!
Posted by: fnord12 | April 14, 2014 5:13 PM
I think Scott Lang is supposed to be the technician in issue 181.
Posted by: Michael | April 14, 2014 9:59 PM
Indeed. He's even named. Added a scan and added him back!
Posted by: fnord12 | April 14, 2014 10:06 PM
The Wonderman and Beast friendship becomes a favorite element of the next volume. Wonderman has become a favorite of my 'rotation' Avengers.
Posted by: david banes | October 8, 2014 12:10 AM
The beginning of what my be favorite arc of Avengers (it's either this or the siege of the mansion). Such great writing and absolutely fantastic art. And my favorite lineup of Avengers (it becomes just as good with the sub-ins of Wonder Man and Ms Marvel over the course of the arc - especially since it helps with the Beast and Wonder Man friendship).
My favorite line, which I assume is Beast: "Hey! It is the Toad!"
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 12, 2015 8:38 AM
Strange that the front page scene with the Adventures of Robin Hood is in B&W when the movie was one of the few in that era to be in Technicolor.
Nice low key issue.
Posted by: Chris | May 13, 2015 2:40 AM
The color in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" is glorious, probably one of the best usages of color in its period outside "The Wizard of Oz". It is sort of weird thinking it over now that Hank and Simon are watching it in B&W...but maybe it was some sort of art-house presentation saying "well this is how it would have been if it was in B&W".
Posted by: Ataru320 | May 13, 2015 8:53 AM
Man, if Gyrich was having trouble keeping track of only twenty or so Avengers back in the day, his head would explode nowadays considering literally half the Marvel universe are now members of the team.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 2, 2016 9:20 PM
I haven't gotten super far in Avengers but I'm not sure which run is my favorite, Shooter's first or Michelinie and Byrne. I love Shooter's since he kind of helped moderize the team, to me, after a slow 70s, and gave Wonderman a personality. Plus the stories were just epic.
Posted by: david banes | January 2, 2016 9:41 PM
This is the first time that Wasp is on the team and Hank Pym isn't. They previously came and went as a pair. The writers have realized that you can have Wasp without Hank, and that Wasp is probably better off without her loser husband.
Posted by: Steven | August 28, 2016 9:07 AM
Scarlet Witch #11 says that Django Maximoff is the maternal uncle to Wanda and Pietro.
Posted by: Steven | October 7, 2016 1:31 AM
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