Aug 4, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 891: Avengers v.1 #227, January 1983

https://www.comics.org/issue/37042/

The title of today's comic is apt: "Testing...1...2...3!" Roger Stern debuts as not only plotter but also scripter of The Avengers with the induction of a new and untrained member to the team (Monica Rambeau, aka Captain Marvel), with Hank Pym in prison (where he offers a succinct history of the Avengers while chatting with a psychiatrist), and with the Wasp as team leader, prompting a sexist response from Hawkeye. Now, the comic's from the early 80s, so I'm not expecting too much equity, but we're seeing a female-led team with 3 of 7 members also female, including two of the team's strongest members in She-Hulk and Captain Marvel. Though the new Captain doesn't really realize how powerful she is quite yet.

Another strangely contemporary-feeling part of the comic, given that it's 34 years old, is Hank Pym's frank account of his battle with mental illness. Though in the series prior to this issue he's in many ways treated as a crazed villain, Stern's recap of his recent troubles highlights Pym's ups and downs from the perspective of someone who is unwell, rather than someone who is evil. Hank's admission right at the end of this section that he's not trying to get better to get Janet (the Wasp) back, but to get his dignity back, is quite moving.

All in all an auspicious beginning to a wonderful run of comics. Mr. Stern notes that he's been involved with The Avengers in some manner ever since he started at Marvel Comics, so now it's time to see him shine. And he really, really does.

To be continued.

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