Characters Appearing: Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Fixer, Wasp, Yellowjacket (Rita Demara)
Solo Avengers #12 (Yellowjacket)
Issue(s): Solo Avengers #12 (Yellowjacket story only)
This story is interesting (if not good) because it features Yellowjacket, a character that thus far has only been depicted as a villain, in a title for "Solo Avengers". As Michael notes in the comments, Avengers annual #17 was published the same week as this story, so she may have technically counted as an Avenger, except that this story takes place prior to that one. Taxonological arguments aside, the story is interesting (if not good) because she is not depicted as a hero in this story, unless we think it's redeeming simply for a woman to become attracted to a hunky good guy.
The story begins with the Fixer breaking her out of jail...
...but she quickly finds out that his reasons for rescuing her were romantic.
She shrinks away and leaves him, and then, "one week later", decides to seek vengeance on the Wasp for humiliating her during their first encounter. Before she attacks, the Black Knight shows up...
...having finally worked up the nerve to ask the Wasp out. The Wasp tells him that he's too much like her ex-husband, Henry Pym.
Dane does have a science background, but i never thought of him being like Pym. In fact, the fact that he descends from European nobility and used to hang out at fancy dinner parties with Victoria Bentley could potentially have made him a good fit for Janet. But hey, if she's not interested, she's not interested. Yellowjacket, however, is interested ("Wonder what a cute guy like him is doing visiting a priss like the Wasp""), and she decides that she's getting "too caught up in this super-villain thing" and decides she doesn't need to fight the Wasp after all. Instead, "I'm going after the hunk!".
She catches up with him as he surveys the lot where the Avengers Mansion used to be located, and i love that we're at the point where she's got little hearts floating over her head. At this point, though, the Fixer catches up with Yellowjacket.
And a fight breaks out, with Fixer first trying to kill Dane...
...and then trying to put a mind-control device on YJ so that she'll "love" him.
But in the end, she punches out the Fixer.
And the Black Knight, who recognizes her as one of the crew that invaded and destroyed Avengers mansion and badly injured him and several other Avengers, asks her out for a drink. But she's a "wanted woman" (not that Dane's going to do anything about it, apparently), so she kisses him and flies off.
Now, Yellowjacket does save a baby during the fight...
...but i can imagine many bad guys (Batroc, Dr. Doom) doing that, and it doesn't mean that they're a good guy now. And nothing else here suggests that she's decided to repent for her criminal acts or anything like that. It seems more like it's been decided at the editorial level that Yellowjacket is going to be a good guy, and both here and in Avengers annual #17 (in the sense that no one tries to arrest her when it's all over) it's more just sort of taken as a given that she's on the path to redemption, instead of actually developing that. And here, similar to the "redemption path" for Diamondback in editor Mark Gruenwald's Captain America run, her reason for switching sides is an attractive guy. So i guess it's too bad there aren't more sexy good guys in the Marvel universe since that's all it takes to redeem all the bad villainesses.
As for Dane, i guess he likes Wasp sized girls.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Since this shows her getting broken out of prison, this takes place before Yellowjacket's appearance in Avengers annual #17 and indeed much earlier, before the Black Knight's curse comes into effect in Avengers #291-294. The Wasp is on the East Coast, so i'm placing it before West Coast Avengers #32 which has her with that team until West Coast Avengers #37 (the MCP actually has this story between WCA #32-33, which i suppose is possible but seems odd).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"Polishing the old ebony blade?" Good grief!
Posted by: Cringe Worthy | September 7, 2014 2:38 PM
According to dcindexes, Solo Avengers 12 and Avengers Annual 17 came out the same week.
Posted by: Michael | September 7, 2014 2:46 PM
According to the Marvel Appendix, the Fixer will use the robot again in the first Thunderbolts issue.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | September 7, 2014 6:52 PM
I'm with you, sort of torn on this issue. It was interesting to see the long sub-plot of Dane's crush on Jan resolved here and not in the regular avengers book.
I did feel bad for the Fixer. Any guy who has been "friendzoned" can relate to his anger at seeing Yellowjacket crush on the hunk. It does make her "reform" seem really shallow. At least with Diamondback, they try to emphasize her rough upbringing.
But it was a pretty funny issue, especially in showing that she made a better decision than Abomination, don't bother with revenge.
Posted by: kveto from prague | September 8, 2014 3:30 PM
I don't feel bad for Fixer. Look at the Mansion Siege arc- Yellowjacket only treats him badly because he gets grabby with her. He's a creepy attempted rapist that endangered a child.
Posted by: Michael | September 8, 2014 7:43 PM
OK something been bugging me about Fixer and since he appears here, this seems like a good time to bring it up: why does Fixer seem so bulky here? I mean when we meet him in his "Techno" guise he's practically a twig. I mean I know that part of the Thunderbolt ruse was that they were suppose to look different, but Fixer's change seems more drastic than the others.
Also, this "romance" between Fixer and Yellowjacket just screams "tacked on." I mean I don't think it ever been referred to before or since then (as compared to Whirlwind's oft-referenced "crush" on the Wasp.) Even Kurt Busiek ignored it and he LOVES these little continuity details.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 8, 2014 10:26 PM
Jon do you mean Black Knight, rather than Fixer, for the "romance" with Yellowjacket? Because the Fixer thing is a continuation of his unwanted sexual advances towards her in Stern's run.
As for the thing with Black Knight, there really isn't any reason (or opportunity) for it to have been referenced since then--it was a single kiss; they never had an opportunity for it to go further. It wasn't long after this before Dane got turned into a metal statue...and shortly after the curse was broken, Rita ended up travelling into the future to join the Guardians of the Galaxy. And after that she was killed. If Busiek had ever written Rita, he probably would have made some reference to it...but she was dead (which is why he didn't end up using her in THUNDERBOLTS).
Posted by: Dermie | September 9, 2014 12:55 AM
They might have come out the same week, but I seem to recall the Avengers Annual being available first and this one seemed like a way to help fill in that gap.
Knowing the artist when on to work at Archie makes sense given the art. It's enjoyable, but a bit too cheezy.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 2, 2015 6:44 PM
I don't mind this. Fills a gap and resolves (well, acknowledges) a character arc that never really got resolved. Good enough art too. By Avengers Spotlight standards, this is a peach.
Posted by: AF | July 17, 2016 5:10 AM
"Yellowjacket is not on the cover to Avengers Annual 17 published in Marvel Age 64."
To be fair, neither are half of the characters in Annual 17...
Posted by: AF | July 17, 2016 5:12 AM
It's possible they did a mock up because they didn't want to spoil the dissolution of the team, rather than planned to include them.
Posted by: AF | July 17, 2016 5:14 AM
Yeah, but we also have that odd scene in West Coast Avengers 39, where Clint and Bobbi warn the Avengers about the Evolutionary, suggesting that originally the Annual was supposed to take place BEFORE the dissolution of the team.
Posted by: Michael | July 17, 2016 12:06 PM
Evolutionary War most definitely doesn't happen in succession. Beast goes from human to furry from Part 1 to Part 12 and Doctor Druid is in Part 1 too. Not sure but West Coast Annual could happen before Avengers 297. BUT I'm also sure I've read something where they suggest the WACOs didn't immediately find out they'd broken up (possibly Super-Nova Saga?)
Posted by: AF | July 17, 2016 12:21 PM
I wonder if this was intended as a Black Knight feature. Knight was 2nd or 3rd most demanded (after Hawkeye and Wonder Man). So maybe this was done as that but after Annual 17 got finalised they changed it's "star" to Yellowjacket. There are more than a few Spotlight stories where the star plays second stringer to a guest star. Happened a LOT whenever Shroud showed up in other's stories.
Conversely, one of the first Mark's Remarks does say they will even cover assosciated characters (he names Stingray and Ant-Man). Maybe this was the first - and ultimately only - to do so. And it did it with a villain.
Annual #17 is 50 pages, drawn by one artist, and I find if most the team was a last minute switch then it would be an impressive feat to have it coming off so professionally. And this, for a Avengers Spotlight story, doesn't feel like a rush job either. Compare it to some of the others that came before it. Happy coincidence I'd chalk it up to.
I mean, this doesn't end with her swearing to be a hero or explicit leading into the Annual.
Posted by: AF | July 17, 2016 12:45 PM
But the counterargument is that scene in West Coast Avengers 39 doesn't make sense as the stories are written- if it takes place before Avengers 297, then why didn't the Avengers DO ANYTHING about the Evolutionary? Even if Thor and Dane had to go to Asgard, Jarvis should be frantically trying to round up reservists to stop the Evolutionary. And if it takes place after Avengers 297 but before Thor rejoined the team in Avengers 300, then who the heck did Clint and Bobbi talk to?
Posted by: Michael | July 17, 2016 1:08 PM
Also, possibility; automated system? Jarvis was basically just caring for his mother in #298.
There was no-one there. Hawkeye and Mockingbird's warnings don't have to be to anyone specifically.
But also don't forget Inferno is raging too, I think Cap and Jarvis both prioritized that since it was mayhem and they were both there as it was happening.
I don't think Hawkeye and co. had much specifics? It'd be like warning them "Loki's plotting to curse Thor's armor...". They can't act on something without more information. And they also didn't have a team. And there was another major threat.
Posted by: AF | July 17, 2016 1:22 PM
Just looked at #297, Thor does notify the West Coast team that the team has disbanded. So, again, like X-Men vs. Avengers, the continuity issue is with other issues - not the one here. (West Coast #39, Avengers #297 and #298)
Wait, I don't even know why this is a problem?
I was saying that "original" cover shown in Marvel Age might have just depicted the old team to avoid "spoiling" the team's dissolution. Or Sal Buscema, who just did the cover for the issue, might have been grabbed to draw it before it was fully ironed out and drew the team as they were appearing in the comics (also, notice Beast is depicted as he appears at the start of the crossover). These are both far more believable than "it was a rush job and so was this Spotlight story and Yellowjacket is a forced inclusion in both".
Posted by: AF | July 17, 2016 1:35 PM
There does seem to be an overwhelming sentiment that almost absolutely everything during the Shooter era and/or during Gruenwald's time editing books and/or during DeFalco's era was always forced onto writers. If this was true anywhere near the amount that it comes up, I doubt ANY writers would've stayed working at Marvel.
Posted by: AF | July 17, 2016 1:39 PM
The royalty payments for high-selling books was a strong inducement to stay(the royalty plans were instituted by Shooter).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 18, 2016 10:48 AM
Coz, gosh, why would anyone in their right minds ever want to do something different or use an offbeat character choice for a story? Apparently the only ideas not forced on writers who are only writing books for more money are more stories about Vision being a bit human after all.
Posted by: AF | July 18, 2016 12:34 PM
She-Hulk was obviously forced onto John Byrne when he was doing Fantastic Four, coz as you can see, his first bunch of issues had Thing in them so he quite clearly planned to write Thing but then Jim Shooter and Mark Gruenwald forced him to use a character from their books called She-Hulk and he only did it because he wanted money money money. There's even a reference in Batman #383 where Alfred refers to having just called the Thing at Fantastic Four's headquarters a month after She-Hulk joining was published so it's clear that She-Hulk was forced on John Byrne last minute!!
Posted by: AF | July 18, 2016 1:07 PM
There's an infinite amount of reasons why Walt Simonson might've chosen Yellowjacket. He might've liked the Yellowjacket costume, he might've wanted a character at a loose end, he might've wanted a villain, he might've wanted a newbie/rookie, he might've wanted something nobody saw coming.
Just because you don't understand why he would pick something and there is one piece of promo art that predates the issue significantly doesn't mean there was a conspiracy by editors to force him to use characters and then they rushed comics out to "justify" the character inclusion (particularly since this issue barely even does that).
Posted by: AF | July 18, 2016 1:19 PM
Ah, Yellowjacket. Rita DeMara. I always enjoyed her character. I was a bit miffed when Iron Man killed her during THE CROSSING. She did come back in DEAD AVENGERS #1-3, so that was a treat. I didn't mind her as a Guardian, but it would have been interesting to have had her on the Avengers, even for a short while.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | July 18, 2016 1:34 PM
AF, not sure what you're arguing about. I don't see Michael saying that Yellowjacket was forced on anyone, only that the timing of this issue might have been related to her appearance in the Avengers annual, and that there were definitely some continuity coordination problems between that annual and other issues (another example is the Beast having to get completely redrawn).
Posted by: fnord12 | July 18, 2016 1:49 PM
I don't for a second believe that She-Hulk was forced on John Byrne. Absolutely nothing suggests that.
Posted by: JP | September 1, 2016 1:42 PM
And now I realize that I don't understand sarcasm.
Posted by: JP | September 1, 2016 1:51 PM
Hi fnord. It's funny to me that you say Amanda Conner isn't known for anything in particular. In my mind at least, she's known for her immediately recognizable good-natured "good girl" art (which was featured on The Big Bang Theory) in general, and for her work on Power Girl specifically.
Posted by: Andrew | June 10, 2017 4:42 PM
She also, oddly, did the cover art for the 2002 book "Comic Wars", about the fight between Carl Icahn and Ron Perelman over Marvel in the '90's, which I'm rereading now in light of Icahn's brief tenure in the Trump White House.
Posted by: Andrew | September 5, 2017 10:37 PM
Comments are now closed.
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