Last week we looked at some of my favorite covers from the history of the Avengers
. During my semi-exhaustive research for that article, I saved several other covers that caught my eye. This week, I'm going to empty out that folder and give you another dose of Avengers
Here we go.
- Dig the Jack Kirby artwork. I'm especially fond of the skull in the right foreground. The story is entitled "Nightmare in New Orleans" so, of course, we have a voodoo based bad guy in the person of Black Talon. And, of course, he's dressed like a chicken with a Mr. Crowley fetish. Nobody at Marvel ever gets Louisiana right. I'm looking at you Chris Claremont and Jim Lee
- Unlike today where we have three teams of Avengers (at last count) and more than one of them working covertly, back in the wild and wooly 70s, there was one team and they avenged in a smashmouth way. Don't believe me? Look at this cover. The villains charging from the left. The heroes charging from the right. Its just begging for an onomatopoetic word ballon to meet them right in the middle. The other thing that jumps out at me is the inclusion of the Slasher amongst all these iconic characters. I can't even find any information about him. Based on his costume, I'm going to assume his powers are pigeon based. That would explain why Iron Man is about to bust him open.
- The Taskmaster was introduced as the guy who trained and placed all the cannon fodder goons used by Marvel's big guns. He was born with photographic reflexes so he could mimic any skills he saw other villains or heroes do, either live or on television. Archery like Hawkeye? Check. Shield slinging like Cap? Check. Karate like Iron Fist? Check. Roller Disco like Dazzler? He doesn't like to talk about that. He was a perfect villain for the 80s. The was the epitome of evil free enterprise. Of course, over the years, the photographic reflexes were too much for Marvel to pass up. They've tweaked and twisted the character unnecessarily. For my money, he should have stayed in the background, but what do I know.
- Defenders Assemble? That would seem to be the direction they'd have you go on this one. One of the great things about a team book is the membership changes. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don't, but watching a new team work out its kinks can be fun. This particular issue would work. The "pick two" ended up being Hawkeye (returning to the team) and She-Hulk (who would become a team stalward). What interests me more about this cover is how much of an effect it must have had on a very young Brian Michael Bendis
. Over the course of his stewardship, nearly all of the characters on this cover have gotten a membership card. I think Dazzler will be joining very soon, but only if she can wear her roller disco gear. Yes, that's two roller disco Dazzler references. You got a problem with that?
- No superhero had a worse 80s than Hank Pym. He got in tight with his old foe, Egghead, he got framed, he got brought in on charges and ultimately got some prison time. This is the "brought in" issue. Pym is a man alone, facing down his teammates and his ex-wife in the glare of five quinjet headlights. That's a bad day kids, but its a pretty damned cool cover.
- Who wouldn't tune in to see the Avengers on Late Night with David Letterman? Wonder Man, a struggling B- actor, got the opportunity to go on Letterman, assuming he could round up some teammates to go with him. The regular team was out so he called up some reserves. It turned into a pretty funny issue that was perfectly Lettermanesque. Years later, when I was lucky enough to attend a taping of the Letterman show, I packed this book in my carry-on just in case I was able to get close enough to Dave to convince him to sign it. Didn't happen.
Another week closer to the opening of The Avengers brings us another cool commercial. Follow this link
to take a look at the new domestic and international trailers.