I finished reading this run last night. I like most of the issues covered in part 3 of the podcast more than the issues in part 1 and 2. I'm not as enthusiastic about the issues with Shooter as the sole writer. The issues plotted by Shooter and scripted by others are a mixed bag. The real uptick in quality are in the Roger Stern issues. He does a great job at both plotting and scripting. He's really focused, and he ties the threads together into a very satisfying conclusion.
The admission of Hawkeye and She-Hulk is a welcome addition. I really like Avengers rosters that mix in characters who aren't primarily known for their solo careers (Hawkeye), or at least weren't big stars as solo characters (She-Hulk). Avengers #222 is a kind of an odd story-telling beat, because the Egghead version of the Masters of Evil is introduced and routed in their first clash withe Avengers, rather than building them up as threat. I agree with you guys that Avengers #224 (the Tony/Jan issue) is a great one. It's an emotional complex story of what these folks owe to each in terms of honesty and loyalty.
I agree with Icctrombone that the end of the Black Knight two-parter didn't really make sense. There's no good reason for the Avengers to hold off on telling the Black Knight that they survived. If anything, it risks causing the Black Knight to have an extreme reaction. But unlike Icctrombone, I like Captain Marvel (Monica) as a character. I do agree that the breadth of her powers create storytelling problems, but she has a cool design and personality.
I know that it's been discussed on the podcast that Shooter may have intended to have the Hank Pym story play out sporadically and slowly, it works out well when Stern focuses on the storyline in #227-230. In recapping, Hank's history in #227, Stern is more effective at elucidating the themes running through Hank's history. The shocking Shocker twist is really well executed. Shooter made the Avengers skeptical of Hank without doing the work to make it plausible, so it was refreshing to see Stern have them put the pieces together.
And I love how Stern weaves the spectre of Moondragon manipulating Hank into the story. I wonder if that was part of Shooter original plan or just a serendipitous reworking of her appearances by Stern. It was weird to have Moondragon come in a couple of times during this storyline without a good explanation of her agenda, so it was a good idea to have the Avengers focus on her as a possible source of Hank's behavior. It also provides the deus ex machina to free Hank from being framing, when Tony's device is used on the Shocker and Egghead's niece. But I completely agree with Crimebuster: the revelation that Hank wasn't subjected to mental manipulation was the right decision. Mental manipulation would rob Hank of the character flaws that made the story arc compelling. It also allows the Stern to consolidate a couple major plot & character developments: Jan and Hank will remain split up and Hank won't resume his costumed identity.
There are a couple details I liked that I don't think came up in the podcast. First, it was weird to me that everyone was cool with Hank and Jan getting married when Hank was out of his mind, and I'm glad the Vision actually noted it was sort of problematic. Second, I loved Milgrom and Breeding's depicting of the court artist's sketches in #228. It's an interesting metafictional moment to have drawings within an illustrated story try to demonstrate the difference between reality and a drawing. And I agree with Crimebuster and Icctrombone that the art looks better than what I typically expect from Al Milgrom.
Thanks for recording this! It was really fun to read the run and then hear your thoughts.
Last Edit: Jan 10, 2021 18:53:14 GMT -5 by spoon: Because wished and finished are two different words.
Post by Roquefort Raider on Nov 11, 2020 13:26:16 GMT -5
Another great episode, gentlemen!
About Milgrom, it's funny... I generally disliked his pencils, and we seemed to get a lot of them in the '80s (if I'm not mistaken, he drew the Avengers, Hulk, Secret Wars II, the Kitty Pryde & Wolverine miniseries...) but I thought he was one of the best inkers over Michael Golden's pencils on Micronauts. I think that Milgrom's bold and heavy line, which made for rather rough and undetailed pencils, looked much better in ink. Strangely enough, though, I didn't like his complete art either; perhaps the combination of big pencil lines and big ink lines just made for a rough and undetailed finished product. (Few inkers could make his pencils work for me, apart maybe from great ones like Sinnott).
One quality I always appreciated in Milgrom, however, is that he drew characters the way they were supposed to look. Too many artists (even excellent ones) didn't pay attention to details and got the superhero costumes at least slightly wrong, and that's something a comic-book nerd couldn't forgive!
Post by Ricky Jackson on Nov 14, 2020 14:47:40 GMT -5
Really enjoyed the 3 parts. Various issues from this storyline were the first Avengers comics I ever read (I'll re-read/read eventually but I'm about 6-7 years behind right now in the middle of Englehart's run, plus I'll probably fill in my gaps with Thomas' run before hitting up the late 70s/early 80s). One bit of clarification: the Captain Marvel story in ASM annual #16 does include the Avengers and ends with instructions to follow her story over to Avengers #227
FINALLY got to issue #230 and am listening along! As always, I love the perspectives you guys are bringing to this thing. It truly is amazing that such a mess of abruptly changed directions and creative teams ended up feeling like an impressive whole.
Monica Rambeau -- I agree with you both. She is SUCH a Mary Sue and her inclusion in the series is SO forced, and yet I adore her. I think it's the characterization. She has the right mix of star-struck awe and confidence/competence. I guess it's her military background. But yeah, she is supremely OP as well. In her first mission as a full team member, she pretty much could have rescued President Reagan on her own.
Egghead -- The only reason the character is suddenly such a legitimate menace is that he has conveniently perfected the ability to create false memories. No real explanation or attention given to this; he can just do it, and everyone sort of accepts that.
Radioactive Man -- Holy geez, yeah, what he did to She-Hulk was SAVAGE. I was so into that and what Hawkeye did after. Really complicated both She-Hulk's character and her relationship with Hawkeye.
#229 -- Seems like Captain Marvel sort of assumed Tigra's role of new kid on the team who has to kick the senior members' asses when they are feeling sorry for themselves. And how frickin' convenient that Hawkeye busts in to Egghead's lab at exactly the right moment. Thirty seconds earlier and he would have seen Hank Pym working for Egghead. Thirty seconds later and he would have missed the proof that Hank was innocent. And George, I love how into this you were as a kid, reading with one page covered!
#230 -- Yes, it's a fantastic issue. I love whenever a comic can afford to spend a whole issue on emotional ramifications. Claremont did it first and best, but this is similarly powerful. I do have one big problem with it, though. First, Hank acknowledges that his actions were his own and were not mind controlled, and then he gets almost a hero's exit. It's weird. He gets to walk off dramatically with Jan weeping. This would make more sense if Jan had somehow wronged Hank, not the reverse. Seems like if the story wanted to be fair to both characters, it would show them both shedding tears. This goes back to my evolving understanding of Shooter being both very concerned with the plight of women and also being unnecessarily cruel to his female characters at the same time. At some point in this seventeen issue run, shouldn't we have had an issue told from Jan's perspective? She Hulk is repeatedly concerned with Jan's mental state, but we never actually see the struggle or see her dig deep to find the strength to keep going beyond that one bathroom scene. Instead, we're more worried with Hank's plight and repeatedly get his point of view. Granted, I think the reader was waiting for Hank to rejoin the team and his choice not to is, in itself, heroic, but this dude did still backhand his wife and nearly get the team killed. Why does Jan have to play emotional second-fiddle to that?
In the end, if Shooter's ultimate goal was to redeem Hank Pym, it did not work for me. Bravely accepting the consequences of your actions isn't enough sometimes.
Follow-up thought: I pointed out in my response to one of the previous portions of this podcast episode that Hank and Jan sort of assumed Vision and Wanda's roles on the team as husband and wife with an emotionally detached and tormented husband and an eternally patient wife. They left the team just in time for Hank and Jan to rejoin, and immediately after Hank leaves, they are back again.
Last Edit: Jan 10, 2021 12:47:24 GMT -5 by shaxper