Avengers: Red Wolf debuts
It’s “From a Different Point of View,” a feature where I discuss a comic book series with another writer. In this case, it is Eileen Gonzalez who will walk with me through the history of the Avengers, story by story!
The last time we spoke to our heroes in Avengers # 79, “Lo! The Lethal Legion!” by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Tom Palmer, the Avengers were drawn into a trap by the new team of supervillains, the Lethal Legion, made up of Grim Reaper and a group of Avenger C-list villains. The Black Panther was captured by her old nemesis, Man-Ape, and the others responded to her warning that the wicked were setting a trap by claiming they had been captured. The Vision shows up dressed as one of the villains and he hands papers to the Grim Reaper who discovers that the Spirit of the Vision is based on the Grim Reaper’s dead brother, Wonder Man, and the Grim Reaper panics just in time for that. the avengers escape and defeat the bad guys. The Vision, however, is haunted by the idea of being seen as the Reaper’s “brother” and therefore leaves the Avengers, feeling that he can never truly be a human and that he needs time alone to reflect on his feelings.
This brings us to Avengers # 80, “The Coming of Red Wolf!” by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Tom Palmer
Brian cronin: There’s a certain comic book cover cliché
Brian cronin: This was used FREQUENTLY on 1960s DC War Comics
Brian cronin: To the point of, well, you know, being a cliché
Brian cronin: This implied that the main characters weren’t aware of impending danger and were saying things like “Well, luckily there are no Nazis in this corner”
Brian cronin: Or whatever.
Brian cronin: I thought about it with Thor’s weird dialogue on the cover of this comic.
Eileen Gonzalez: I was so busy laughing at Thor’s ignorance that I almost forgot to be offended by this cover. Almost.
Eileen Gonzalez: Maybe the headphones and long hair are blocking his hearing.
Eileen Gonzalez: Otherwise, how could he miss an attacking wolf who growls right behind him?
Brian cronin: Also, why would he believe someone would lie about a man and a wolf lurking nearby?
Brian cronin: Also, why would four Avengers head out to investigate the sighting of a man and a wolf
Brian cronin: “We have to assemble the Big Three! Someone said that a man and a wolf were nearby!”
Eileen Gonzalez: “And bring the Vision! He’s great with animals, or something!”
Brian cronin: Often, Roy Thomas will work in clever literary references in these Avengers issues.
Brian cronin: And other times he does that.
Eileen Gonzalez: Yeah, this poem is bad. It’s a shame, because this opening would be pretty cool otherwise.
Brian cronin: This is from the Americanized version of the British counting game, “Tinker Tailor”
Brian cronin: The novel (and multiple film / TV adaptations) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was based on it.
Brian cronin: Yes, it’s weird.
Brian cronin: And that’s a shame because, as you can see, Buscema and Palmer KILL him on the opening otherwise.
Brian cronin: This is Vision’s first re dux
Eileen Gonzalez: I have to wonder why Vision was walking down the street in fake human clothes. Just the last issue, he left because he admitted he would never be human, and now he’s just … pretending to be human? Why?
Brian cronin: The ax shot almost touching the guy was awesome.
Eileen Gonzalez: Yeah, this whole opening sequence seems to belong to a great Batman comic book.
Brian cronin: I must say, however, that the logic of the crook was good
Brian cronin: “His shadow scares me. If I shoot him, there will be no more shadow.”
Brian cronin: That checks.
Eileen Gonzalez: I also like how his main concern is not to draw the cops on him, not that he’s about to kill a guy for a shadow.
Eileen Gonzalez: At least it’s a bad move.
Brian cronin: And Thomas even explains that, pointing out to the guy so nicely that his nerves make him shoot wildly.
Brian cronin: And yes, as you noted, the sight of Vision losing her disguise is amazing.
Brian cronin: Think what this must look like?
Eileen Gonzalez: It’s New York in the Marvel Universe. Civilians must be used to seeing unconscious bodies and “ghosts” on the street.
Brian cronin: They probably think it’s a publicity stunt for a rubber mask company. “
Eileen Gonzalez: Exactly! Or a trench coat company.
Eileen Gonzalez: Wow, this guy from Red Wolf is really hardcore. He doesn’t even make a long speech before he grabs this other guy and tries to throw him in a hole.
Brian cronin: It’s good to know that Vision respects human life.
Brian cronin: “And I’m not even human and I respect human life! Crazy, right?”
Eileen Gonzalez: It’s a miracle he ever left the Avengers. Who else can he monologue that he’s not human?
Eileen Gonzalez: He’s a little less considerate with the wolf, though. He could have become intangible so as not to hurt him instead of becoming as hard as a diamond.
Brian cronin: I wonder if we could have used a better demonstration of Red Wolf‘s skills
Brian cronin: Than to get kicked in the ass by a guy much more powerful than him.
Eileen Gonzalez: Yeah, it doesn’t last long, does it? To be fair, we’ll find out later that this is essentially his first outing as a superhero, so maybe he just needs some practice.
Eileen Gonzalez: And another costume. Please give her another costume.
Brian cronin: Yeah, you might as well get started now.
Brian cronin: Once again, it is clear that Thomas’s motives here were sincere.
Brian cronin: And yet the execution was a bit lacking.
Eileen Gonzalez: Imagine all the stereotypes about Native Americans you’ve heard of. It will be in this story. But yes, I don’t think Thomas wanted to hurt. In fact, history makes it pretty clear that he’s on Red Wolf’s side (with the exception of the murder part).
Eileen Gonzalez: And then Vision is just like “My hooded attacker appears to be – an American Indian!” What does it mean? How do you know???
Brian cronin: It’s kind of adorable that Vision’s departure from the Avengers lasted, what, six pages?
Eileen Gonzalez: Yeah, he’s not even considering handling this on his own. His immediate response is to ask the Avengers for help, which is pretty cool actually.
Okay friends join us next time to discuss Avengers # 80. In the meantime, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any thoughts on these Avengers issues and / or discussions.
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