Avengers (Vol. 1) #1

Credits:

Cover Date: September 1963

“The Coming of the Avengers!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Script: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

Following his recent appearances in Journey Into Mystery, Loki finds himself imprisoned again and plotting his revenge against Thor. His plan is to draw Thor back to his prison in Asgard, where Loki will have traps set for the Thunder God. To do this, Loki causes a near-wreck for a train and frames the Hulk for it. Before the news can reach Thor, the Hulk’s friends in the Teen Brigade radio the Fantastic Four for Help proving the Hulk’s innocence. Loki intercepts the radio message and diverts it away from the FF and toward Thor’s alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake.

Loki also accidentally diverted the message to Ant-Man, the Wasp, and Iron Man. The heroes all answer the call, and wind up arriving at the Teen Brigade clubhouse at the same time. Will the heroes realize that the Hulk is innocent? What will the Hulk do? Will Thor be caught by Loki’s traps?

Is It Good?

Well, Loki has pretty much the same plan —- lure Thor to Asgard, where Loki will attack him —- in Journey Into Mystery #92, but less convoluted. So, it’s not a great story. The heroes more or less took turns instead of working as a team, so that wasn’t great, either. And yet…it’s a fun read! Maybe having the heroes fight the Hulk instead of a villain made the difference?

Sub-Plots:

  • Loki uses his magic to propel his evil plots, even though his body is imprisoned.

  • Loki knows that Donald Blake is Thor’s human form, but he doesn’t attack Blake directly because it would not be enough of a challenge.

  • The Hulk has been posing as a circus robot (that was a thing?) to avoid detection lately. Ultimately, Ant-Man’s ants notice his uncanny strength and call the heroes to the circus.

  • Loki draws Thor to Asgard by creating an illusion of the Hulk to bait Thor. Thor correctly concludes that Loki is involved, so he returns to Asgard. He quickly defeats Loki and brings him to Earth to prove to the other heroes that Loki had manipulated them.

  • The heroes try to simply talk to the Hulk, but that doesn’t work. Eventually, they fight.

  • In a last-ditch effort to win, Loki makes himself radioactive —- and he is promptly dumped into a disposal container for nuclear waste.

Continuity:

  • The original Avengers lineup is Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Wasp. Teaming up is originally Ant-Man’s idea.

  • Here is the first corner box illustration of the team; the Wasp is absent, for some reason.

  • This is the first time the Hulk is described as “fast.” Until now, he has been portrayed as a lumbering giant.

  • Hulk is strong enough to damage Iron Man’s armor.

  • This is the first appearance of Rock Trolls in the Marvel Universe. They aren’t usually this ugly.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Nice caveat, Marvel! “Some of” the greatest heroes will be in this comic.

  • Loki apparently has the ability to deflect radio waves with his mind.
  • The Teen Brigade, who are just some teenagers with HAM radios, have made one comic book appearance so far, but are apparently famous enough for Donald Blake to know about them.

  • JUST USE YOUR ENLARGING GAS! THIS IS DUMB!

  • This ant is smarter than the entire circus audience.

  • I love the Hulk wearing sad clown makeup! The rest of the circus sees this and thinks, “Yep, that looks like a robot and definitely not the Hulk.”

  • Rubbing Thor’s hammer on the ground makes it…a magnet that attracts Loki? Huh?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

Ah, yes, the ocean. That is the perfect place to store nuclear waste!

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