Monday, June 11, 2012

Comic School Review: Avengers #10 (1964): Avengers Break Up!

We looked at their origin in The Avengers #1, we saw Cap join the team in The Avengers #4, so it's high time we checked in on those crazy nuts again, this time in The Avengers #10 where you'll be mortified to learn that The Avengers break up! Say it ain't so!

Looks like the Cap is in the crap with the rest of the gang! And this issue marks the first appearance of the evil Immortus, who is heralded as "truly different"! Well, yeah, I guess a pompous community theatre guy in his early fifties who wears a purple cloak and a flamboyant pink hat is a different kind of villainy indeed! As a side note, this is also the first issue to feature the phrase: "Avengers assemble!" but we've got bigger, more pompous and flamboyant fish to fry!

Naturally this wackiness was written by Stan "the Man" Lee and drawn by "the adorable" Don "what the" Heck. I picked it up from Comixology for $1.99 and you can too if you want to read along!

To witness the craziest break up ever... join me after the jump!

As our story opens, the Avengers are already engaged in a balls-to-the-wall brawl as Giant Man, Wasp, Thor and Iron Man all do their best to knock the ever living shit out of a rapidly dodging Captain America. Has the big break-up brouhaha already started? Nope! It turns out that bullying Cap is what the guys do in their spare time. When compared to the rest of them, Cap is kind of a pissant, so they test him to see how long he can hold out against them. Cap breaks the record, lasting 47 seconds before Thor strangles him with the handle of Mjolnir. 

I want you to carefully consider the following two panels. In the first one, examine how Iron Man manages to make everything sound dirty. In the second, marvel how we switch from the action-packed to the mundane as Chairman Thor runs through the agenda...

Oh, and I also like how Giant Man refers to the team as "gents". Class act that guy. All the way. If not a little verbose.

Now, I realise that the famous Tony Stark is a Dirty Alcoholic aka Demon in a Bottle storyline is still many years away but the following suggestion from Tony proves that he is clearly whacked out on whiskey under that helmet. In fact, once again, it also sounds a little dirty. Kinky, Tony...

We all remember cheesy teenager Rick Jones, right? He's the leader of the radio obsessed Teen Brigade and started cheating on the Hulk when he became Cap's new partner in Avengers #4. There's clearly something a little suggestive going on between these two chaps, as seen in the second panel above where Rick, in the privacy of Cap's quarters, prepares to give him some manual release. By the way, I also think that the drunken Tony was actually suggesting a "French maid's uniform" so that during dull meetings Rick could dance for them.

Anyway, Cap storms off in a huff, conflicted because he cares deeply for Rick but can't help feeling guilty about the last time he dressed up and endangered a child and thereby inevitably got him killed. R.I.P. Bucky Barnes. We miss you.

But a change of pace now. We cut to the lair of Baron Zemo, leader of the Masters of Evil, which at this point seem to consist of Executioner and Enchantress (both rumoured to be in Thor 2). Zemo is having a full villain hissyfit about how those pesky Avengers are always making him shit and rubbing his nose it, until Enchantress receives a phone call - directly into her brain!

It turns out that it is the "truly different" Immortus, who appears from another age and immediately gets the Executioners dander up...

Zemo's all snow leopard fur and posing, but you have to admire the ballsy Executioner who is immediately all, "I don't like this punk. I'm going to kill his face with one fuckin' punch!" 

Immortus is community theatre trained so he's not going to let anyone interrupt his show. He's all, "Listen up, you stupid dipshits, I'm Immortus, Master of Time and one day I'm going to own your asses and to prove it I'm going to summon a warrior from time to come on in here and soften them up for me."

And no kidding, he summons the mighty ginger-bearded Paul Bunyan of story and legend who starts scrapping with the Executioner and destroying Zemo's castle. Zemo's all, "Okay, knock it off, wise guy." And Immortus says, "Look until I own your asses I'm going to join up with you." And Zemo's "Oh yeah, well prove you're my bro by killing one of the Avengers!" And Immortus is like, "Dude... I'll kill all of the Avengers before breakfast. It's how I roll. Master of Time. Duh!"

Now a Time Master like Immortus must have a pretty cunning plan, right? Full of twists and high octane action! Well... it kind of goes like this...

"Ha ha, foolish Rick! I Immortus knew you were the one teenager in this city who could be lured by a jazzy ad! And I knew that in your eagerness you would have no time for coupons! Game, set and match, Rick! Your ass. Mine now!"

But if that's not enough, Immortus decides to restrain Rick in order to lure a jealous Cap. Even though Rick is a total pussy and Immortus could probably knock the jive out of his sass mouth, he instead summons Attila the Hun to act as a homoerotic pair of handcuffs...

You're in trouble now, Rick! Attila the Hun doesn't mess around!

So with a couple more panels, Cap rings the Teen Brigade to find out where Rick has got to and the Teen Brigade tell Cap all about the jazzy ad. Realising the Rick would put no stock in coupons, Cap rushes to the address and confronts Immortus himself!

Now Immortus looks at Cap and he thinks, "Here's a self-absorbed, over-the-top American whose zest for justice and retribution will quickly blind him from logic and facts". So he tells Cap that he only imprisoned Rick because The Avengers told him that it would be a great way to piss off Cap, and he will only free the boy if Cap brings the Avengers back here to his pad. Cap idiotically agrees to this ridiculous scheme.

Back at Avengers headquarters Cap bursts in and starts attacking his friends with his shield! He's all tough-talking piss and vinegar and nobody can reason with the self-righteous star-spangled maniac!

He even does something utterly unthinkable and non-consensual to Giant Man! RIGHT IN THE BUTT!


Finally, a violated and somewhat red-faced Giant Man manages to calm Cap down and they agree to visit Immortus and find out what this is all about. "The boy is just bait, you stupid idiots," explains Immortus, "And now I'm going to summon dudes from time that are perfectly matched to each of you and they're going to crack your heads open. LOL!"

So the summoning commences and Giant Man finds himself up against the biblical brute Goliath! It looks grim for a moment as Goliath knocks the paste out of him but eventually Giant Man turns into Ant Man and basically ties his shoe laces together. He then catapults himself into the guy's forehead and knocks his ass out. One down!

Then it's Iron Man's turn to face his cleverly matched historical foe. Okay I got this one - it's going to be Lancelot or King Arthur, right? One suit of armour against another! It makes total sense.

No. It's Merlin. The wizard. Why Merlin? I'll let Immortus explain...

You'd think that a guy capable of placing a jazzy ad in a comic book would know full well that drunken Stark isn't magical. Iron Man while is thinking he's on one hell of a bender. But he soon defeats Merlin by shining light brightly in his eyes and making a loud, irritating whine. Two down.

Thor takes on Hercules and they bond instantly:

Hercules eventually yields and Immortus decides that this whole scheme was a crock and he vanishes, but not before banishing Cap to the past where he must battle many knights guarding the Tower of London. Zemo is wicked pissed that Immortus has betrayed him.

Back at headquarters the Avengers have already accepted that Cap is dead to them and are bizarrely chilling in the living room in their full costumes:

Uh oh! Zemo and his men bust in and decide that this can only be solved by another round of punching the hamburgers out of each other. A big fight ensues and it looks like the Masters of Evil might actually have the upper hand when Thor is encased in concrete from Zemo's concrete gun. 

But then holy shit Captain America is back. Somehow. Wait... How is he back?

There's nothing that can't be solved with judo and or karate you dullard! Thor yells "Avengers assemble!" for the first time ever and Cap is back and, using his powers of evasion that he was practising at the beginning of the issue, he quickly makes monkeys of the Masters of Evil. 

Finally, Enchantress is forced to cast some kind of deus ex machina spell that returns everything back to how it was BEFORE they met Immortus! The reset button is pressed and everyone returns to a couple of days in the past! WTF?

Back at the meeting, mischievous Stark once again (or for the first time?) suggests that they should humiliate Rick by forcing him into a fancy little uniform. Cap bellows, "NO!" and storms out again. Back at Zemo's castle Enchantress receives a brain call again but decides not to answer it. And the whole silly incident conveniently fades from continuity.

But not for us, dear reader. Never for us.

1 comment:

  1. Mann if you've never heard of Judo or Karate you may as well commit seppuku... oh dam you haven't heard about that either. When Anime happens you'll know what's up