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Comics You Should Own flashback – Avengers Annual #10

At this time of year, I don’t have a ton of time to read stuff, so I’m a bit behind on the new entries to this list. But that’s why I have older stuff that needs to be reposted! So let’s get to the next one! But just a single issue? Why this one? Old-school comics readers will know why!!!! (Oh, and SPOILERS, as usual. Just in case you didn’t know!)

It's Silver-Age-errific!

Avengers Annual by Chris Claremont (writer), Michael Golden (penciler/colorist), Armando Gil (inker), and Joe Rosen (letterer).

Marvel, 1 issue (#10), cover dated 1981.

Remember when Chris Claremont was an excellent comic book writer? These days it seems like he’s going through the motions, but back in the 1970s and ’80s – wow. Why he is writing an annual of the Avengers becomes obvious on page 4, when some familiar mutants show up. Claremont dominated the X-Universe like no one else has dominated a section of a company’s titles (not even Bendis), and when he wanted to use mutants, he used them wherever he felt like it, including an Avengers Annual, damn it!

This book is an example of why people often feel nostalgic for their comic book youth. This is an amazing book, packed with characters who are never overwhelmed by the magnitude of the story, plenty of action, ties to other comic books, excellent character interaction, and the introduction of a major player to the Marvel Universe. That character is, of course, Rogue. We’ll get to her in a bit. Claremont uses dozens of characters to tell the story, and even though we might think we’re going to lose track of them, he never allows this. It’s an impressive feat.

It’s also an unusual comic book in that the Avengers are partly guest stars in their own book, the villains are more than capable to defeating them (and Rogue kicks the crap out of more than one Avenger), and the Avengers don’t come off as the good guys in the book. This is a very mature comic book for its time and theme (superheroes, after all), and it makes all the more interesting to read.

We begin in San Francisco, where Spider-Woman rescues a woman who is falling from the Golden Gate Bridge. Claremont humanizes Jessica Drew in only a few panels, because she is unable to fly to shore with her burden, and instead must swim through the icy waters of the bay to rescue her. In the hospital, we learn the woman is Carol Danvers, a decorated pilot. We know she is also Ms. Marvel, the Avenger, but the doctors and police officers in the hospital don’t know that. The mystery of what happened to Carol drives the plot, and although it gets cleared up quickly (Rogue attacked her), it’s a nice way to begin the story. Instead of a supervillain simply attacking the Avengers, we get a mystery and not everything explained right away. Claremont also shows a little girl at the entrance to the hospital introduce herself to a cop as “Maddy Pryor.” Is it just a favorite name of Claremont’s, or was he plotting something even back in 1981? It’s the advantage of having one person write all the titles in one corner of a Universe – they have a long-term plan. [Editor: I'm fairly certain Brian did a "Legends Revealed" about this in which it was cleared up that Claremont just liked the name and had no long-term plan, but I don't feel like looking for it now. Still, I love the fact that "Maddy Pryor" shows up years before, says "I been sick. But I'm better now," which sounds vaguely portentous, and then disappears. Especially because there's no reason for her to be in the panel.]

Jessica Drew asks for Charles Xavier’s help in determining what happened to Carol, because she’s in a coma and can’t answer questions. In three pages, Claremont gets Xavier to San Francisco and shows who attacked Carol, plus he throws in the X-Men fixing the Danger Room after the attack on Kitty in Uncanny X-Men #143, the famous Christmas demon issue. Ah, compressed storytelling – who doesn’t love it? On page 7, Captain America gets his ass kicked. I’m serious. On page 9, he gets thrown through the window of Avengers Mansion. On page 10, Mystique disables Tony Stark, on page 12, Rogue defeats Thor, and on page 13, she takes down the Vision. She tries to absorb Wonder Man’s powers on Page 14, but she can’t, so she chucks him into a dumpster and takes off. Seven pages, and the Avengers’ most powerful members are toast. Awesome. Rogue, of course, is acting on orders from Mystique, whose plan is to break the New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants out of jail, where they were put after the attempt on Senator Kelly’s life in Uncanny X-Men #141-142. See how Claremont pulls everything together? Rogue needs power, and they need Iron Man to disable the Riker’s Island generator (by dropping him on it). So the reason for the attack on the Avengers becomes clear.

Meanwhile, we get Carol’s backstory, as told originally in Avengers #197-200. She went off to some other dimension with Immortus’s son, Marcus, to make sweet love (or that’s what the Avengers thought). Why she returned to her world and then disappeared is still a mystery. Again, Claremont is very good at tying things in with continuity, yet keeping everything accessible. I never read old Avengers comics, so I have no idea what had happened. Claremont recaps it in two pages, and it adds enough to the story so that I’m not totally lost, but I don’t need to know it either. Marvel used to be good at this – note the use of the words “used to be.” I’m not a super-continuity geek, but I think it’s kind of cool that Marvel made an effort to keep everything in the same universe – if the X-Men fought with the Avengers, they would at least mention it in the next month’s magazines! Not so much anymore.

Mystique and Rogue attack Riker’s Island, and the battle royale begins! Destiny, Blob, Pyro, and Avalanche break out, and come oh so close to totally defeating the Avengers. Destiny uses her pre-cognitive abilities to keep the Avengers off-balance, and only the Scarlet Witch saves the day with her hex powers. See? Even when he’s writing an Avengers book, Claremont has a mutant save the day! That scamp! Of course, it’s not a complete victory for the good guys, because Rogue and Mystique escape. Claremont is always able to throw in little touches to heighten the mystery – Jessica Drew notes Mystique’s resemblance to Nightcrawler, and Iron Man wonders where Mystique got access to high-level military technology. The Avengers do their thing and beat the bad guys, but it’s fun to see how close they came to losing. Yes, I know that superheroes are always close to losing and then pull it out in the end, but very often it doesn’t seem real. Here, the worry in the Avengers that they will lose is evident, and since we know that Ms. Marvel has permanently lost her powers to Rogue (as our southern belle thinks to herself more than once), the possibility exists that Rogue could suck someone else dry.

Usually, that would be the end of the book – villains beaten, good guys triumphant, all is well. But this is a Claremont book, and there’s plenty of time for character interaction! The third act of the book takes place at Xavier’s School, where Carol is recuperating. The Avengers come to ask what happened to her, and she freaks out at them. They left her in another dimension with a madman, and all they cared about was her baby (she was pregnant at the time – it’s complicated, so don’t ask). Claremont turns the tables on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – they didn’t look after one of their own, because they were too concerned with otherworldly “cool” stuff. Carol was a friend of theirs, but they were too busy playing dress-up to make sure of what she wanted. It’s a biting indictment of the superhero clique, and Claremont makes it subtly, without resorting to “let’s-take-over-the-world-and-ruin-it-even-though-we’re-trying-to-save-it” theatrics. This is not a happy happy, joy joy kind of book, because at the end, the Avengers have to wonder what makes them heroes and what happens if they fail. Carol, as we see in the years to come, has had part of her cut out, and it takes her years to overcome it and almost drives her attacker insane.

The art in the book is spectacular. Al Milgrom’s cover (which is, unfortunately, not too great; one wonders why Golden himself didn’t draw it) is a tribute to the great Silver Age covers, with six different pictures on it, each telling part of the story. How can you resist: “See: Captain America totally defeated! Witness: The invincible Iron Man knocked out of action! Observe: Spider-Woman’s daring midnight rescue! Behold: the deadly New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!”? Answer: You can’t! It’s a cliché, but it’s true that they don’t make them like that anymore, and the comics world is a little sadder for it. As for the interiors – Golden doesn’t do enough these days, but he’s the kind of artist whose work I would seek out even if I’m not terribly interested in the story. He packs the pages with visual information, but never overwhelms you. The battle between the Brotherhood and the Avengers requires him to draw Rogue, Mystique, Destiny, Pyro, Avalanche, Blob, Spider-Woman, Iron Man, Nick Fury (it’s Mystique, but still), Wonder Man, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Beast, and Jocasta, but he gets them all in and we’re always sure what we’re seeing and how the action is flowing (it may sound simple, but it’s not). His Rogue alternates between maniacal power and fear and uncertainty – when she absorbs Thor’s power, she is the picture of insanity, but when her power is fading, she looks like the scared girl she is. Golden’s full-page spread of Wanda turning Pyro’s flame monster into rock is beautiful, and when Blob hits Wonder Man or Iron Man smacks Rogue, we feel it. Similarly, Carol’s pain at the meeting with the Avengers is evident and raw, as is the shock on her ex-teammates’ faces. It’s a wonderful complement to the story.

This comic is famous, obviously, for the first appearance of Rogue. She is one of my favorite characters, and I think her arc over the years is one of the more fascinating in superhero comics. The fact that she almost kills Ms. Marvel and steals all her powers as a debut is great, and also sets up her problems, which Claremont probably knew it would. He tended to look long-term, after all. She shows how formidable she can be, and I don’t think she has ever been this formidable since. This issue also highlights her dependence on Mystique, something that would trouble her even after she went straight, as well as her insecurity, something it took her a long time to overcome. For the appearance of Rogue alone this would be a great book, but Claremont doesn’t let it stop there, and we’re better for it.

This book has fluctuated in price over the years, depending on whether Rogue was popular or not. I have no idea what it’s selling for these days. It’s been collected in at least one trade (The Greatest Battles of the Avengers), and it doesn’t look like the Essential volumes are up to it yet. I highly recommend picking it up. It’s the kind of book that makes you remember why you started buying superhero comics in the first place.

I’m starting to update the dead links in the archives, so check those out! Plenty of good comics available!

43 Comments

I love this comic. Love, love, love it.

This was a great comic book.
Yes Claremont has his critics but this issue was a masterpiece for him. He exposed the rape of Carol for what it was and that in and of itself makes this comic important.
I’m not sure if this version of the Brotherhood of Mutants ever seemed as dangerous as they were here.
Great art also.

The book is also reprinted in the oversized Marvel Visionairies: Chris Claremont volume. Golden’s art looks spiffy on the glossy paper.

Guess it’s time pull this one out of my longboxes. I remember the cover made me think ‘all that action for only 75 cents? AND a chance to win a 10-speed?’

Which remind me…do comic books these days advertise anything other than videogames or there own TPB’s?

Never had the original. I bought the Ms Marvel action figure from Marvel Legends, and this was the pack-in comic (back when Toy Biz still had the line). You’d think that a pack-in comic would be a method of drawing in new readers: you like this toy? Here’s a story about her, and if you like her, you can go buy more. So the choice of pack-in here is a book in which she’s mindwiped, barely appears in the rest of the story, and then gets p.o.’d at her teammates for allowing her to be mind-controlled and raped by her own son. Cheery!

This is also repritned in the Essential Ms. Marvel. A collection that is boring as all get-out until a few issues before the regular book was canceled.

I disagree Adam, I thought this was more of a Ms. Marvel story crammed into some (almost) random annual.

Also love this book. Was probably the first back issue I ever bought after reading a friend’s copy all those years ago.

this comic is the dog’s bollocks, and the art is truly ourstanding. i love golden’s art, particularly how he draws hands and punches. just sweet stuff.

this is why people like claremont: ties to continuity without being a slave to it, tackling mature/adult issues without getting overly grim & gritty.

but something about this book bugs me, and it is not its fault. this comic does point to something that i hate about comics, what i refer to as the ‘hotification” of female villains turned heroes. in her debut as a villain rogue is a rat-faced, nasty-looking, skinny lady. so why, when she switches from heel to hero does rogue have to sprout a moviestar face and curves more dangerous then that red-head on “Madmen?”

Now, this is one Issue that still in my collection and I agree with the majority about this being the best one that dealt with both Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel & Rogue (as well as for Mystique and the (then current) Avengers Team .

I remember despising this comic when it came out, and since then I haven’t suffered myself to read it a second time. It just didn’t feel like an “Avengers” comic to me. Unlike Thomas, Englehart, and Shooter, Claremont never caught the flavor of the Avengers series, and the art here was also alien to the series. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn in a future column of Comic Book Legends Revealed that this issue was cobbled together from material intended for an X-Men comic.

I remember thinking the writing here really “jumped the shark” with what they did to Ms. Marvel. Some comics stink so bad they besmirch an entire series. And the hurried-looking inking made hash of Golden’s pencils (it was the first Golden art that I didn’t like).

I enjoyed reading this review — thank you for writing it — and please don’t be offended that I disagree. My favorite Avengers Annuals are by far #7 and #2. And I rate almost all the Giant-Size Avengers way higher than Annual #10. I wish they never created Ms. Marvel. When you start listing Marvel’s useless, uninspired creations, she rates way up there with Dazzler and Son of Satan.

Yeah, I discussed the whole name bit from this issue in an old installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed.

In answer to your “was it just a name he liked?” question, it was, but it’s also a specific reference to singer Maddy Prior from Steeleye Span.

Truth: I will never be offended if you don’t like a comic I do. That’s just silly! I can see why, if you’re an Avengers fan, this is a bit of an odd duck, but I never was, so the fact that it doesn’t feel like an Avengers comic doesn’t bother me!

Some Avengers fans don’t like this annual for two reasons, the first being that, as you mentioned, the Avengers are mostly guest stars in the book, just there to get slapped around while Claremont ties up the loose ends from his canceled Ms. Marvel series, and the second being that the Avengers are (as you also detail) kind of made out to be the bad guys in terms of Carol’s mind-controlled rape at the hands of Marcus.

I agree with the first criticism though not necessarily the second. While I think it’s a bit harsh to blame the Avengers for what happened, I think it also makes perfect sense from Carol’s perspective. And Claremont wasn’t really trying to make the Avengers look bad, per se; his anger was really directed at the creative team that wrote that storyline in the first place. Just who is to blame for what happened to Carol in a real world sense is kind of iffy; Avengers #200 is credited to almost a half dozen writers, and from what I understand the original plotline was heavily interfered with by editorial. I suspect Shooter was behind some of this, as he co-wrote the story, but I’m not exactly sure.

Claremont was justifiably upset at what had happened to his pet project and, in general, the insensitivity towards female characters in general, and from that point of view this issue is important. But as a side effect of Claremont’s work here in exposing the sordid subtext of this plot, the whole storyline pretty much became a black mark on the Avengers and as a result I haven’t personally ever talked to an Avengers fan that liked either Avengers #200 or Annual #10.

But the art really is excellent.

It’s a good comic, gives a nice contrast between the emo X-Men style and the free wheelin’ Avengers. At the end, when Ms Marvel rips into them, you can almost see them thinking “She is ruining our annual, man”.
As for what Claremont did to Ms. Marvel, I don’t think the character has ever recovered from it.

“so why, when she switches from heel to hero does rogue have to sprout a moviestar face and curves more dangerous then that red-head on ‘Mad Men?’”

That actually didn’t happen until years later, about when Jim Lee started drawing the book.

And her name is Christina Hendricks.

Greg: Great review. I loved this book. Largely, because Rogue was (and i suppose still is) one of my all time favorite characters. Origins these days seem so “designed to be badass” and this one was kind of badass in a really backwards organic way that still interests me.

I can see why Avenger fans don’t love this, as the Avengers get pretty shabbily treated, and as I didn’t read Avengers regularly, I don’t know the difference in tone/style for those characters…I was pretty familiar with Claremont so this read like his other stuff and I was into it…but I can see why it would irk Avengers fans.

It’s pretty amazing though to realize that this issue both debuted one of the most powerful/important female superheroes of the x-men/marvel and also tried to deal with/clean up the nightmare that is the rape of Ms. Marvel…that’s a lot for a comic…even without all the action set pieces.

As for Jim Lee…I’m not sure we can string him up entirely for the hotification of Rogue…almost as soon as she turned into one of the “good guys” she started being drawn much more beautiful. Silvestri certainly drew her as a beautiful girl and that was well before Lee. She was less well endowed and curvy under Silvestri, but all his women were, just like all Lee’s were busty with curves. I’m with Johnny the boy, it’s more about the seeming necessity that female heroes be drop dead gorgeous in order to exist, rather than just one artist’s re-design.

Paul Smith and John Romita, Jr., drew Rogue pretty much as she’d been drawn here for several years prior to Silvestri coming on. It was by no means immediate.

I missed this annual when it came out, despite my being an Avengers and X-Men fan at the time; maybe it sold out. I didn’t mind much, anyway, it wasn’t like Rogue or Danvers would become significant again until later. Now that I’ve seen Burgas’ analysis of it, I’m glad I missed it.

The Avengers were owned by the Brotherhood WAY too easily. How convenient is it that Mystique had access to technology that can deactivate Stark’s? Why did the Vision go solid just because Rogue used Thor as a shield? (It makes no sense, HIS HANDS WERE ALREADY INSIDE HIM!) Since when is The Blob strong enough to slap Wonder Man into a building? And if Destiny can see the future, how come she didn’t just tell Mystique the Avengers would win?

It’s pretty obvious that Claremont wanted to “fix” what was done to Ms. Marvel in The Avengers (it WAS pretty crappy, first using her in a “evil baby” story and then having her leave with him just to get rid of the character) but the way he did it, placing the blame on the Avengers, when it was the writers who were at fault, really sucks. To be honest, I found that weird as well (Uh, guys, didn’t Marcus admit he used his machines to get Carol to make love to him? Why are you accepting it when she says she loves him now?) However, the correct way to handle it would have been to have SOMEONE in the Avengers decide to check on Carol right afterwards (probably with help from Reed Richards) not writing a story that basically said “Heroes are idiots”.

And am I the only one who notices that Claremont did his OWN character abuse here? He depowered Miss Marvel so that nobody else but him would use her, and he created Rogue for the SPECIFIC purpose of doing so. Yea, very respectful, Sir! Now, I actually enjoyed his writing on the Ms Marvel series – I remember wondering why DC’s superheroines were not written this well- but all of the above convinces me he DID just use the Annual as a way to say “You can’t do THAT to ‘my’ character, but I CAN make yours look bad!” really petty.

I don’ t know, when she appeared as drawn by Paul Smith, her features had definitely been noticeably softened, with a few years apparently shaved off compared to super-early appearances like this (and I can’t abide Silvestri). It was a long process, but I can’t agree at all that Smith and JRJRs Rogue was drawn “pretty much as she’d been drawn here.”

I had this comic back in the day and even though it is long gone I remember it very very well. The art was amazing and the story really clicked for me. I personally didn’t mind the Avengers taking a few lumps in this one. Though I was never a reader of The Avengers. They never held interest to me cause they always had that hodge podge of heroes in gaudy spandex thing going on. One of the reasons I steered clear of most DC comics for ages since I forever thought of the League and Superman as the end all of that company. I prefered stories where characters shared a similar background or reason to being together. But, in this story they seemed more fleshed out to me because of her questioning them. I don’t want my comics to be over serious. But, I think there should be a touch of character to the heroes and other actors in the drama. But, over all this had thrills, chills, nice art, and story. This and Swamp Thing Annual 2 really define to me what an annual should be!

Michael P: Hmm. I’d argue that Smith and Romita Jr., both drew Rogue as an attractive woman, but that they drew her in the same style that they drew all their women characters, which was not as patently pretty as an artist like Silvestri or Lee did the characters.

I don’t think this is just a womens issue either – I think there is a lot of that in comics – characters looking the same but for costumes and hair color/styles.

I actually have this one. I found it in a comic store in the early-mid ’90s for just under two dollars, which totally shocked me. I’d seen it advertised a couple of years earlier for ten dollars! True, the condition wasn’t that great– I think it’s VG, but I’m not a good judge of condition. Anyway, I was thrilled to find it, and it’s been a prized possession ever since.

On the issue of Rogue’s appearance… she does look a lot older in this story. Her hair was white at the temples (like Dr Strange), instead of the centre, and I got the impression it was meant to be natural greying. I would estimate her as being in her mid-forties. But once she joined the X-Men, she suddenly looked much younger, although not nearly as young as eighteen, which is the age given in one of the early Romita stories. I’ve seen this sort of de-aging other times– all the signs point to Emma Frost being over forty, maybe even fifty in the Hellfire days, but I read somewhere recently that she’s supposed to be twenty-eight now. I think she still comes across as older, at least in actions. (I think Marvel has some kind of phobia about any characters being over thirty.)
But even with the de-aging, Rogue still appeared kind of plain until after the Romita period, but then Romita isn’t that great at drawing beautiful ladies (unlike his dad). I think it was Silvestri that turned her into a major beauty. I’m also not sure when it was decided that she should always wear green. (For some reason, she always looked much better in green, at least in the ’80s-’90s. But then again, she wore green in this Avengers story, as well as in Dazzler, and she was still ugly then.)

One thing that really surprised me about this story is how long she kept the various Avengers’ powers she absorbed. By the time she was in the X-Men, the duration of borrowed powers became much shorter.
And I loved that she had no effect on Simon. (I think Wonder Man is best when he appears un-human in some way or another.) I always thought that since she was now one of the good guys, she should have a romance with him. I find it hard to believe that knowing Rogue’s psychology, she would resist falling in love with the one man she could touch safely, particularly considering that he is a really nice guy, as well as a handsome movie star (and best friends with an original X-Man to boot). I guess Marvel was so intent on keeping mutants segregated from everyone else (because that’s how you promote their civil-rights ideology, somehow, I guess– am I missing something?), that they never considered the idea. And then they became determined to make her swoon over Gambit, despite his lack of attractive qualities.
And then years later, Wonder Man ended up with Ms Marvel. Weird, huh?

I was going to point out that “Maddy Pryor” is the name of the singer in seminal UK folk outfit Steeleye Span, but I see Greg McElhatton got here before me!

I used to dig through the 10 cent bins my local comic shop had for overlooked jems back in the 80′s and a farily beat up copy of this was in there. I must have read this book four or five times the week I got a hold of it. Man, digging through the cheap book bin back in the day was such a rush. You could find some really great stuff if you were concerned more about stories and less about the condition of the book.

Can’t stress enough how awesome this annual is: I bought it at the time at the age of about 12, and it really, really impressed me, and made me go back and re-read the original Marcus story in Avengers 200, and then go, “yeah, he totally violated her! What a slimebag!” And I was also an Avengers fan at the time and didn’t really think it was so bad that they came out like jerks in this one – they really deserved it.
However, there are a few notable criticisms that can be made: as noted many times before, including here, to make his point about Ms. M’s rape, Claremont made her go through the further indignity of being de-powered and having even her memories stripped. And that latter point is the other problem: Carol’s memories were restored by Prof. X, but not really her emotional responses to them (in an issue of X-men a few years later, Carol mentions that she feels only a ‘vague fondness’ for her own parents…) In that sense, her seething rage at the Avengers at the story’s conclusion – although the cornerstone of the entire issue, which makes it so excellent – doesn’t really seem logical.
Oh, and I agree with Mary Warner, it seemed that Rogue was not initially supposed to be a teen-ager – in this issue and later in X-men when she was still a villain she seemed to be older, like in her 30s. Same for Emma Frost when she was introduced – I thought she was supposed to be in her late 30s at the youngest (I mean c’mon, would the headmistress of some posh New England boarding school walking around in a dominatrix outfit really be in her early 20s?)

Claremont seemed to enjoy putting down the Avengers at the time (see any guest apppearance on the x-books he wrote), maybe to make “his” characters look better in coomparision.

I do know that most x-fans that started reading X-Men with Claremont disliked most (if not all) other Marvel characters, possibly because of that.

And yeah, based on that appearance (and his little known second appearance on Rom, of all places) I always thought she was much older.

Thanks to that and the fact that she NEVER REVEALED HER REAL NAME TO THE X-MEN (her only friends, for dog’s sake!), I spent years thinking she was an infiltrated sleeper agent on the team. Still do, by the way.

Yup, I never really enjoyed the character.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Roquefort Raider

December 22, 2009 at 6:38 am

Still one of the most beautifully drawn comics I’ve ever read. Armando Gil did a great job over Michael Golden’s brilliant pencils. It certainly belongs in a “Marvel visionary” type of book!

As to Rogue’s appearance. She was young, lacked confidence, and wore drab clothing that covered her whole body. She was also under the thumb of a controlling “parent”. She dressed the same was when she first joined the X-Men. As she matured and became more confident with the X-Men, she started to take more of an interest in her appearance. It’s not uncommon for people with low self esteem to make themselves look less attractive and once they start gaining confidence, that shows in their outward appearance.

While Claremont was clearly talking to the writer’s of the Carol/Marcus story, I think the characters needed to be held accountable, as well. This wasn’t the first time an Avenger was married off when a reasonable person would have said, “Hey, wait up. This is way to fast.”.

They had no problem with Mantis going off with an alien plant who’d taken the shape of her dead boyfriend. Heck, they just turned that into a double wedding for the Vision & Scarlett Witch presided over by their long time enemy.

They also didn’t have any problem with Wasp roping Hank Pym into marriage immediately after he had a psychotic breakdown. Heck, she saw his mental illness as a great way to stop him from dragging his feet on the whole marriage issue.

Re: Rogue’s age

Claremont later cleared up her age in an issue of “X-Treme X-Men” where we see a flashback to when she first got together with the X-Men and is palling around with Cannonball of the New Mutants. It’s revealed then that she is the same age is the New Mutants, but that her unique situation caused her to not be a part of that team (past as a villain, dangerous powers, unpredictable allegiance, etc.). Go check it out! :)

Ah, Claremont haters…

“How convenient is it that Mystique had access to technology that can deactivate Stark’s?”

It was certainly convenient…it let her take him out. it’s also justified given the secret ID she had since day one.

Hey Greg, Brian, or whomever!

Could we have a column dedicated to things like this comic, where the writer is actually talking to other creators about something. i never knew the subtext [or maybe 'meta-text'] of this issue until today. i never read the original Ms. Marvel, didn’t know that Claremont was mad, and so never got the meta-message. i just thot that it was a great comic.

Meta-messages and History Lessons are something i love in every medium, but i rarely ever know that they are going on, as i usually either just love or hate the product. So, i would love to see this explored here at CSBG, along with columns like this and Legends Revealed. Who else would like this?
DFTBA

Meta-messages and History Lessons are something i love in every medium, but i rarely ever know that they are going on, as i usually either just love or hate the product. So, i would love to see this explored here at CSBG, along with columns like this and Legends Revealed. Who else would like this?

I occasionally feature the more obscure examples of these in Comic Book Legends Revealed.

Otherwise, I dunno…I am not a fan of taking shots at other creators in your comics, but you’re right, it’s probably worthwhile to at least point them out to those who don’t know.

This was my first Avengers annual ever and it remains my favorite single-issue story to date. I truly love the line-up here with Hawkeye easily becoming my favorite Avenger as of this, the first time I encountered him. What a cool costume and attitude, I thought. (I’d only been following the regular series since issue #212 a couple of months prior.) Seeing Cap get taken out so fast and hard (he has zero lines in the entire story) along with Thor (who also doesn’t recover until the Brotherhood has been defeated) blew my nine year-old mind away. I also liked how Iron Man turned the tables on his captors with Spider-Woman’s help, remaining the only one of the “big three” to battle alongside the others all the way through the end.

Although I love his art nowadays, I still remember being creeped out by the way Michael Golden drew everyone’s eyes somehow. Going by her debut appearance, Rogue worked excellent as a villain. She took out the team’s strongest members and carried the Brotherhood’s water aside from Mystique’s own deception. Sometimes, I wonder what might have happened if Chris Claremont had been assigned the Avengers instead of the X-Men back in the 70′s, when John Byrne first worked on the book. I loved John’s art on both series back in those days and wish Chris could have collaborated with him on Avengers just as they did on Iron Fist or Marvel Team-Up. Some great storytelling might have resulted.

Well Lt. Clutch, although it doesn’t have the same reputation, I must say that the short Michelinie/Byrne Avengers run (mostly reprinted on the recent Knights of Wundagore TPB) is excellent.

I think Byrne gave up on the book because he was working on it, X-Men and Fantastic Four (his first run, with Marv Wolfman) pretty much at the same time – and drawing three teambooks like those at the same time must be quite maddening. Michelinie stayed and did good work with George Pérez later.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Has anyone here ever read the issues where Carol goes off to another dimension with Marcus? I’ve always wondered whether, in the original story, she was portrayed as being mind-controlled while the Avengers just shrugged and let it happen, or whether the intent of the original book was that she actually DID want to go off and live happily ever after with Marcus and Claremont later decided he didn’t like that and decided to retcon the story as her being mind controlled.

I mean, either way the original story was creepy and silly and may have been out-of-character for Carol (it’s out-of-character for modern Carol, I don’t know how she was portrayed at the time), but one way has the Avengers deciding to let a grown woman make her own decisions even if they’re bad ones and the other has them not caring that she’s getting raped, so it’s kind of a big difference, and kind of dirty pool for Claremont to make them out to be jerks if they only did Carol wrong retroactively through his writer’s fiat.

Has anyone here ever read the issues where Carol goes off to another dimension with Marcus? I’ve always wondered whether, in the original story, she was portrayed as being mind-controlled while the Avengers just shrugged and let it happen, or whether the intent of the original book was that she actually DID want to go off and live happily ever after with Marcus and Claremont later decided he didn’t like that and decided to retcon the story as her being mind controlled.

She wasn’t portrayed as mind-controlled, in the sense that she APPEARED to be in control of her faculties. However, when explaining himself to her and the Avengers, Marcus plainly states that he used a “subtle boost” from Immortus’ machines to get Carol to love him. So when a dude is ADMITTING to SOME mind control, well, why would you believe that that was all there was?

It really was an absurdly handled issue (besides the otherwise creepy aspects of it – like Carol giving birth to her boyfriend).

I don’t think it de-heroes the Avengers to have Carol call them out for their acceptance of a weird situation, I think its actually pretty real. People, even super-heroes, screw up, which is basically the theme behind the Marvel universe. The Avengers screwed-up by not questioning the situation and they should be called out on it.

God bless Marcus, incest is wincest

This issue was also reprented in X-men Famous First Appearances TPB-spotlighting the first apperances of Rouge, Gambit, and Wolverine

For years this was one of my fav comics growing up because it had a zillion heroes and villains, some unbelievably great fights and Michael Golden’s beautiful art. Being a lifelong Avengers fan, I loved that they were only a cog in a bigger story. One of the most intriguing parts for an Avengers fan, even though he gets his arse kicked in the whole book, is Wonder Man and his crazy powers. All of Mystique’s planning assumed that he was just a regular guy, but when Rogue cant absorb him, you see that he is just a human dynamo of energy (“His eyes…..their not ….HUMAN!”). Avengers 160 touches on Simon Williams, but no one really knew what his deal was until we see that Rogue cant really touch him because he’s not really human anymore. Now the bad part, and where Claremont’s falls flat. Rogue was portrayed as a rotten no good villain in this book, plain and simple. Attempting to retcon her as a scared little girl that Destiny and Mystique manipulated just doesnt wash. Not only does she bust Cap through a Central Park wooden bench, but she absorbs his power and memories by making out with him! Are you kidding me? Making the Ms. Marvel transfer permanent gave the Xmen a lot of stories for the future, but I always hated it and it made terrible sense accept to give her the ability to fly and super strength. If her mind would eventually get confused with Ms. Marvel’s persona, how could she absorb Thor, a God from another dimension? That wouldn’t drive her batty? How about absorbing Cap’s war torn memories? They had no way to know how popular Rogue would become, but I think the movie adaptation of her is much, much better. Its kind of a shame, because the book had great ideas (Mystique with all of the latest Shield technology, Spiderwoman avoiding machine gun fire at close range, the power of the Scarlet Witch on full display).

Also, let me just note because I wrote my post without reading the others….I was 11 at the time Avengers 190 came out (Cap on trial, Grey Gargoyle issues Because of missed deadlines, an issue in there was a filler with Wonder Man and Beast with terrible Carmen Infantino Art….) But by the time Perez and Company got their shiat together, they gave us Taskmaster (196) and the lead up to 200 (01 and 02 were Perez Ultron issues). I remember at 11 thinking the issues leading up to 200 sucked, and 200 was especially ridiculous, and I was disappointed because, basically, there were no well known villarns. No Kang, Ultron, Reaper, etc. Thor 300 came out around the same time and it had crazy, nasty fights between Odin and the Celestials and then Thor and the Celestials. Avengers 200 fell well short. The poster who listed that Claremont used this issues to tie up his loose ends with Ms. Marvel is right on the money. Thats exactly how it felt. Having Thor disabled for a major knockdown fight always annoyed annoyed me, and I detailed the reasons why in my other post. But from someone who was totally into the Avengers at this time, I remember calling out BS on Carol Danvers. Of course at that time I had no clue how people got pregnant, so I didnt even understand the concept of rape.

Jonathon Riddle

July 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Golly, this comments colum is as fascinating (in its own way) as Greg’s original article! I’ve never found an original copy of this issue (and I didn’t think I’d ever find one in my price range given its importance to X-Men lore) so thank God for reprints! I got this in the X-Men Firsts single issue special. That one also has the first appearances of Gambit, Sinister, and Wolverine. I bought it mainly for this reprinted annual, though. It could be the context in which I was reading it (X-Men Firsts) but this felt like an X-Men story that just happened to feature the Avengers. As you say, Greg, Chris Claremont got real sneaky with this one.

I have to admit, I liked Rogue best when she played it nasty. As interesting as her conversion to the side of the angels was story-wise, she made for a great villainess. I don’t think I’ve seen Rouge kick this much ass anywhere else. She takes down Cap and Thor with relative ease and looks like she enjoys it. The only other time I’ve enjoyed Rogue this much was in the issue of Dazzler (help me out with the issue number comics fans!) where she mercilessly beats on Power-Man and Iron Fist and forces a terrorized Dazzler to run for her life. I liked that issue because the reader is made aware that Rogue could smear the floor with just about anyone she wants to, and at the only reason Dazzler doesn’t get smeared is because Rogue decided not to do it.

Some interesting thoughts occur in this issue about Claremont’s attitude toward non-mutant superhero males as well. The stars of the show here were almost all women, which I notice is something Claremont likes to do. Notice how Spider-Woman is a more important character in this story than the parts played by Thor, Cap, Vision, and Iron Man put together. If any team of superheros in the Marvel Universe could be likened to an “old boys club” it would probably be the Avengers, and Claremont attacks this possibility viciously. Good stuff today, incredible stuff for its time.

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