Issue(s): Avengers #250
Roger Stern created the West Coast Avengers team so that he'd have a larger cast of Avengers to mix and match from when desired:
There were a couple dozen Avengers or former Avengers at the time, and I had tried to limit the number of active members in any given issue, just to avoid writing crowd-scene comics. I had plans for most of the characters who didn't have their own books, but every time I turned around, another writer was glomming onto one or more of them for a miniseries, often for someone other than The Avengers editor.
Steve Englehart would soon be lured back to Marvel and given the ongoing West Coast book, ruining Stern's plans in that regard. But before that could happen, we at least got this issue, which brings together both teams to deal with the threat of Maelstrom that's been developing since his last appearance two issues ago.
Maelstrom revives his three super-powered henchmen Phobius, Helio, and Gronk by activating new clone bodies for them.
Maelstrom's other (not-really) henchman Deathurge does not appear in this issue.
Meanwhile, the "Vision acting suspicious" plot gets a little attention as Hercules, who is new to the team, tries to bring some newly delivered equipment to a lab that the Vision has told everyone else is off limits. The Vision sends Hercules away, suggesting he go to the pool where the other Avengers are hanging out.
It's worth noting that even though Starfox has been openly using his pleasure power over the past two issues, the rest of the team seems perfectly comfortable around him.
Also meanwhile, Captain Marvel drops in on her old friend Professor LeClaire, who tells her that scientists have discovered that the earth's rotation is slowing down at an alarming rate (which translates to a day becoming a fraction of a second shorter over a period of a week). She heads back to the Avengers so they can investigate.
Also also meanwhile, the West Coast team is also having a bit of fun, but it's interrupted by an earthquake, followed by an Avengers priority alarm from the East Coast team.
As the teams confer, Captain Marvel returns from a scouting mission. She's been hit by Phobius' fear power...
...but the presence of Phobius confirms the involvement of Maelstrom, since the Vision is familiar with the report filed by the Thing after his encounter with Maelstrom and his henchmen in Marvel Two-In-One.
As the two teams converge on Maelstrom's location, there's a neat two page spread showing each team, showing what the characters say out loud and what each of them is thinking.
The best part of that is Hercules, grinning like an idiot over the fact that he's about to get into a big fight. Everyone else is worried about something, but Hercules is happily anticipating the upcoming battle.
The Avengers fight Maelstrom's goons.
And then they discover a giant Maelstrom.
You have to feel bad for Mockingbird, beating away on Maelstrom's foot. Reminds me of poor Captain America on the cover of Fantastic Four #243.
Maelstrom is absorbing the Earth's kinetic energy. When the Avengers remind him that if the Earth stops moving it'll be devastated and not worth ruling, Maelstrom says that he'll just go explore the rest of the universe.
But by now we all know how to stop a giant growing bad guy, right? You feed him more energy than he can handle, forcing him to grow so big that he expands harmlessly into the universe.
With Maelstrom defeated, his henchmen give up when they discover that their last set of cloned bodies has been destroyed. It's not said what happens to them.
Later, the two teams get together for a post-battle party at the West Coast team's headquarters. The Wasp is now saying that she's creeped out by Starfox's powers; i guess she really took notice this time when he affected Helios.
Captain Marvel goes off by herself, still somewhat affected by Phobius' attack, although she managed to pull herself together during the Maelstrom fight when Tigra was in danger. Starfox goes to her, first, he says, to apologize for not realizing until it was too late that his pleasure power could probably have counteracted Phobius' spell (just as Phobius was able to counteract Starfox's charming of Helios). And second, to give her the official nod of approval for using the name of his friend, the original Captain Mar-vell.
I wonder if, when Roger Stern first thought to put Eros on the Avengers, if it was so that he could eventually use him to confer legitimacy on his new Captain Marvel. Anyway, it's a nice scene.
And this was a fun issue. Stern is so good at mixing downtime scenes, character moments, and super-hero action.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue takes place more or less concurrently with both Fantastic Four #272-273 and Captain America #299-300. Takes place after West Coast Avengers #4. See the references below for details.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showCaptain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Gronk, Hawkeye, Helio, Hercules, Maelstrom, Mockingbird, Phobius, Professor Andre LeClaire, Scarlet Witch, Starfox, Tigra, Vision, War Machine, Wasp, Wonder Man
"The Wasp likens Starfox's pleasure power to the "mind-warping powers" of Moondragon."
Posted by: clyde | March 20, 2015 1:40 PM
Clyde- the counterargument is that in Silver Surfer 19, for example, Eros was able to make Nova kiss Firelord even though she was in love with the Surfer.
Posted by: Michael | March 20, 2015 7:54 PM
I do wish Stern had given us some thought of how Wasp feels fighting alongside an Iron Man she knows isn't Tony Stark. We never really got any idea of that in Secret Wars either (which of course, wasn't Stern). It must certainly feel weird.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 22, 2015 12:51 PM
If it weren't for that big panel where the Avengers fight Maelstrom's goons, I never would've guessed that twisting her spine in a Mr. Fantastic-type fashion was one of Tigra's superpowers. Who knew?!
Speaking of Mr. Fantastic, I remember his own experience of feeding-a-giant--growing-bad-guy-more-energy-than-he-can-handle when he defeated that Gormuu monster, or whatever his name was.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 2, 2015 7:49 PM
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