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Month of Avengers/X-Men Top Fives – Top Five Avengers Government Liaisons

All month-long we’ll be featuring top five lists about either the Avengers or the X-Men. Here is an archive of all the past top five lists!

In this installment, we’ll look at the top five Avengers government liaisons.

Enjoy!

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Raymond Sikorski was pretty much just sort of there.

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5. Maria Hill

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I like Maria Hill as a character but as the liaison for the main Avengers team she was not a major factor on the title. She works a lot better as head of SHIELD.

4. James Murch

Joe Casey did a nice job setting up Murch as the obstacle that the Avengers had to clear to get their clearance in Casey’s behind-the-scenes take on the first 16 issues of the Avengers in the 2005 mini-series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (with Scott Kolins on art). Murch was a worthy adversary, if a bit of a prick. Casey brought Murch back for a final ignoble departure in a set up for his Zodiac series.

3. Duane Freeman

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Freeman didn’t do a whole lot during Kurt Busiek’s run (besides be the noble sacrifice when everyone in Washington D.C. was killed) but I still like the twist that he was a liaison who legitimately loved working for the Avengers

2. Victoria Hand

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After making her the second-in-command to Norman Osborn during Dark Avengers, Brian Michael Bendis did a fine job redeeming the character of Victoria Hand in the pages of New Avengers. Her character arc was quite compelling.

1. Henry Gyrich

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The man, the myth, the annoying…Henry Gyrich. I’ve always felt that a good test of a writer’s imagination is how they write Henry Gyrich. It is hard to write a character with so much gray in him like Gyrich. He is a jerk but a jerk who thinks he is doing what is best for the world and is often correct. The temptation to make him an outright villain is so great that I figure if a writer can come up with better ways to use him, then he or she is showing some strong imagination. Luckily, even when he has toed the line of being outright villain (in Nicieza’s Thunderbolts and Brubaker’s recent Captain America) there always seems to be an easy out (like “he was brainwashed!”).

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

11 Comments

“The man, the myth, the annoying…Henry Gyrich. I’ve always felt that a good test of a writer’s imagination is how they write Henry Gyrich. It is hard to write a character with so much gray in him like Gyrich. He is a jerk but a jerk who thinks he is doing what is best for the world and is often correct.”

100% Agreed on Henry Peter Gyrich, all the way. The original and best for the very reasons Brian cites above.

Henry Gyrich is to the Avengers as J. Jonah Jameson is to Spider-Man. Rotating the government liason spot after Gyrich moved to Project: Wideawake was a bad move. It’s almost like having poor Jarvis retire so the Avengers could hire different replacement butlers. Wouldn’t have been the same. The only two other liasons I read about before dropping the series were Raymond Sikorski and Duane Freeman. They were okay, and Duane was a nice guy, but it wasn’t the same as having Gyrich around.

Having skipped the post-Disassembled era, I have no opinion on Hill, Murch, and Brand. I know Hill from Fraction’s Iron Man run which I did read, but not Brand.

Murch does sound like a prick, and a retconned one at that. No slam at Casey here, but Stark sounded as surprised as the others when Gyrich first broke into Avengers Mansion and even more pissed off when he realized that the Avengers were stuck with Gyrich and his charter way back in issue #181.

This pretty much contradicts Murch’s interaction with Stark in the Casey series. It now sounds like Stark knew the government was playing watchdog going back to the day Cap was thawed out of the ice. It all still sounds too contemporary, especially Murch’s attitude towards patriotism, an angle which has been done to death in comics during the post-9/11 era.

By the way, modern Wolverine being in the Avengers still makes no sense to me. So many fussy liasons to deal with, so much red tape, and yet, nobody gives a toss whenever Wolverine kills somebody outside the Avengers. Didn’t he literally go to Hell just a few years back? Peter was worried about Jameson giving them grief over Spider-Man joining but nobody wanted to arrest Wolverine? I just don’t get it.

Why does Johnny Storm have a whole country to worry about in the Maria Hill one?

Oh…that’s…that’s Steve Rogers? Damn, that Super Soldier Serum keeps you young!

I love Gyrich as a hard-nosed overbearing bureaucrat. When he’s played as a mutant-hater or any variation of the same, he’s dull (which is sort of what you’re saying, I think, Brian).
I don’t think Murch is that awkward a retcon (of course i liked the two Earth’s Mightiest Heroes series). It’s plausible the government watched this new team of super-heroes like a hawk, but then relaxed after they’d become more established. So having Gyrich suddenly remind the Avengers there are rules and he’s imposing them would be a nasty surprise.

I think Earth’s Mightiest Heroes made a lot of sense, as well. Joe Casey is clearly a huge Avengers fan and he knows that a lot of the early stuff doesn’t exactly make a ton of sense (like the Avengers having A-1 priority access), so he did the mini-series to both celebrate those early issues and also to explain some of the details that didn’t quite fit originally.

Gyrich had a nice turn in Priest’s Black Panther series. “I’m the government, mister” even became something of a catch-phrase for him.

I know Johnny Storm is Captain America in real life but I didn’t know it was the same deal in Earth-616.

gg J.R.JR.

Hand is too high and Murch is nothing more than a footnote.

I would say:

1. Gyrich
2. Freeman
3. Hand
4. Sikorski
5. Hill
6. Murch

I know they have Fury taking the role, but I really wish they could have Gyrich in the Avengers movies. Unfortunately, they wasted the character by giving him a tiny role in the first X-Men movie, so I assume the rights still belong to Fox.

I know they have Fury taking the role, but I really wish they could have Gyrich in the Avengers movies. Unfortunately, they wasted the character by giving him a tiny role in the first X-Men movie, so I assume the rights still belong to Fox.

I don’t think it works like that. I believe characters that are primarily and squarely part of the X-universe Fox can argue exclusive rights to, and that’s it. That’s the reason why Quicksilver is going to appear in both the next X-Men movie and the next Avengers movie. He’s considered both an X-character AND an Avengers character. Since Gyrich is not primarily an X-character I’m sure the same rule applies to him as well.

Gyrich can be written as an interesting character. I like that he is this paranoid control freak who is an absolute stickler for the rules, yet at the same time there is more to him than that. Peter David established that Gyrich took a year off from work to care for his father why was dying from Alzheimer’s. During the Geoff Johns’ Avengers issues, Gyrich helped the team take down the Red Skull, who had deeply infiltrated the U.S. govt. He even enduring a brutal torture session at the hands of the Skull without breaking. So, yeah, Gyrich is a deeply flawed individual, but he is not completely irredeemable.

I absolutely hate Gyrich, and as to Victoria Hand, is there a reason to look past Osborn’s illness?

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