Aug 1, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 888: Avengers v.1 #190, December 1979

The second issue of Roger Stern's early co-plotting of The Avengers takes on some issues that have been constant throughout the team's history.

(Oh, and just for completion's sake, I found out that Mr. Stern also co-plotted #167, but I don't have it. We'll have a look at it when I finally find it.)

The Avengers are summoned to a special tribunal to determine if they are a threat to national security, and whether or not more rather than less government oversight is necessary for the team. If you're thinking that this has echoes of Civil War, the comic or the film, you're not wrong, and it's certainly been an ongoing factor in the Marvel U for a number of decades. As with the Civil War series, it's really up to the reader what side you're on, and there's no easy answers as to which side is "right." We might, at this juncture, want to side with the Avengers because the person opposing them, the interminably obnoxious Peter Henry Gyrich is just so terrible that siding with him is virtually impossible. That said, he's not entirely wrong about the sensitive information the Avengers have, and the relative ease of access to said information. Superheroes aren't always the most reliable creatures, so entrusting them with potentially very damaging information or, often, technology, might seem like a bad idea.

But it's the way that Gyrich goes about it that is infuriating. Or is it? The more I think about it, the more I see this interfering with the Avengers as a demonstration of exactly the kind of "big government" that the American experiment (failed now, BTW) works against. Much conservative rhetoric in the US cries out against the interference of government in the day to day lives of its citizens (unless those citizens are not straight and white, in which case the government must keep a tight rein), so to see the government interfering with the ostensibly noble work of the superteam is decrying the overarching power of that government.

Or am I reading too closely, and from too contemporary a viewpoint?

Oh, and a giant stone creature impacts in Manhattan and crashes about downtown. As they do.

To be continued.

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