What with interplanetary war on the brink of breaking out, there're many things to be concerned about in The Avengers #92 but possibly the most disturbing of them all is that the comic kicks off with Quicksilver cracking jokes and the Vision dressed like he's about to burst into a bunch of Perry Como songs. Presumably this attempt to show the pair in a more relaxed state than we're used to is an attempt by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema to humanise our not always warm and cuddly duo but it feels more like we've fallen into an alternate world and I hope I never again have to endure the sight of the Vision in fireside crooner mode.
Then again, maybe they've been replaced by Skrulls.
Thanks to the blabbing scientists rescued from Ronan last issue, Senator H Warren Craddock certainly thinks there's something afoot with the Avengers as he demands they hand over Captain Marvel and then attend a hearing into un-Earthian activities, while he simultaneously whips the American public into a frenzy about the threat of aliens amongst us. It's easy to see the public here as a bunch of hysterical idiots - and that's presumably how we're meant to see them - but in fairness, if, in the real world it came to light that a group of self-appointed people had been keeping information of an alien menace from us, I suspect most of us would be a little miffed and distrustful.
As for Craddock and his commission, the parallels with Joe McCarthy are not exactly subtly presented but there's nothing like a foaming-at-the-mouth bigot to ramp up the dramatic tension and remind you just who the good guys and bad guys are. The one thing that does jar in the sequence at the hearing is the behaviour of the Thing, where he drops the Avengers in it, big-time, by making it clear he doesn't trust them not to be traitors to Earth. I know Aunt Petunia's favourite nephew isn't always the most diplomatic of souls but you'd expect him to have some sort of sense.
Captain Marvel meanwhile's done a runner, having been offered a farm house hiding place by Carol Danvers whose arrival by helicopter crash should've flattened the Avengers Mansion but barely put a dent in its roof. Interesting that, after Mar-Vell leaves, Rick Jones has a scene where he starts to think about the super-heroes he used to read about in the comic books of his youth, suggesting that Roy Thomas had, even at this early stage, worked out how the whole thing was going to end. Judging by his determination to keep using him in various comics, it seems Thomas always had a soft spot for Jones, possibly seeing the super-hero wannabe as a natural representative of the reader, but does this redefining of Jones as a comic book obsessive mean that keen comic book historian Thomas is projecting himself and his own interests through him?
Of course, despite rampaging mobs, one-sided hearings and helicopter crashes, the real drama of the issue comes at its very end as Thor, Captain America and Iron Man show up and, unhappy at the way the current line-up have handled the situation, disband the Avengers. How can our heroes get out of this hole? Well, I suppose they could just form their own super-hero team and carry on regardless.
But will they?
Top of the Pops: 15th December, 1977.
4 months ago