Friday, September 14, 2012

Some Avengers Assembly Required!


This a pivotal issue of The Avengers for a number of reasons.

Gil Kane & Dan Adkins

First The Avengers #72 marks the initial time that Captain Marvel then in his "Silvertop"-period Negative Zone-relationship with Avengers "mascot" Rick Jones met up with the Avengers team. Cap's own series had been put on hiatus the previous month. This 1970 meeting would be critical a few years later when Mar-Vell and Rick again hooked up with the Assemblers to help wage the Kree-Skrull War.

Herb Trimpe & Sam Grainger

Second, the issue gives some resolution to a mystery left hanging with the demise of the first SHIELD series, the seeming death of Nick Fury himself at the hands of the first Bulls-eye.

Jim Steranko & Jim Tartaglione

Also the mystery about what was the relationship exactly between Nick Fury and his arch nemesis Scorpio was uncovered. We learn in this issue that Scorpio was in fact Nick's brother Jake.

Sal Buscema & Sam Grainger

As part of that reveal we also meet for the first time The Zodiac, who have since become arch enemies of the Avengers and others. I was truly excited by the double page reveal of this colorful (if admittedly sometimes goofy) gang of baddies. Marvel made sometimes great and sadly sometimes poor use of them in the years to come.

Sal Buscema & Sam Grainger

But a third thing always stands out about this issue drawn by Sal Buscema and inked by Sam Grainger. This was not the first issue to feature the Avengers conference table with the big honkin' "A", that might've been The Avengers#34.

Don Heck

But it was the first to my memory to show all those ginchy specially designed chairs for every member with the nifty hero-specific symbols on the back of each.

Can you imagine how frustrating it got for Jarvis and his maintenance crew to keep changing out Hank Pym's chair as he morphed his identity over and over. There must've been a closet or shed somewhere with a bunch of Hank's old Avengers chairs in it, just waiting for the next permutation. Clint Barton must've given them the shakes too.

I wonder if these chairs are Sal's own invention, or a detail of Grainger's inking, or were perhaps indicated in the script by Roy Thomas. This is the kind of earth-shaking continuity info that once upon a time might've inspired Roy or a late Mark Gruenwald to write a complete story.

Jack Kirby & Paul Reinman

Whatever the case, they sure came a long way since those early days when they were sitting on milking stools.

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5 comments:

  1. Thanks to the vagaries of shipping Silver and Bronze Age comics in Scotland, I didn't read this issue until the summer of 1973. It's always been one of my favourites.

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  2. Me too obviously. There's enough story in this comic for a year's run in modern days, or perhaps more.

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  3. I was always a little disappointed with the Vision's chair symbol; but in all honesty, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with an alternative. Maybe an Ultron icon, heh heh.

    I was actually surprised to see Rick get a chair of his own. I suppose his symbol would be "TBA." :)

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  4. The Vision's symbol should have been his chest insignia, a diamond, not the sun-symbol (which, admittedly, is the source of his powers.)
    I note we don't see Goliath/Clint Barton's symbol. What would it have been?
    And, as you said, Hank Pym probably had several chairs with various insignia, including Ant-Man and Giant-Man graphics and a Goliath chair with a graphic of those funky goggles he wore. But, unlike the Atom's customized JLA seating, Hank probably didn't have a tiny chair. Pym always preferred to be normal-size during meetings.
    Rick Jones' chair probably would be the only blank one.
    And, knowing Roy Thomas, it's probably something he came up with, especially after doing a three-parter involving a pseudo-JLA...the Squadron Sinister!

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  5. I can't seem to find an email for Roy Thomas online, I'm sure he'd be glad to tell us. He was really nice when I met him at a convention he loves to talk about the "old days"

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