Avengers (Vol. 1) #3

Credits:

Cover Date: January 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Paul Reinman

“The Avengers Meet Sub-Mariner!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Paul Reinman

What’s Going On?

After the Hulk quit the team last issue, the Avengers (specifically Iron Man and Thor) decide that he is too dangerous to be on the loose. They track him down with the intent of fighting him until he rejoins the team, because that is how you gain allies. The Hulk, in turn, teams up with Namor to fight the Avengers, and the two sides brawl.

Is It Good?

It was pretty fun. The characters don’t really act like a team, and there is plenty of clunky dialogue, so this isn’t necessarily a good issue. I especially didn’t like how ineffective they made the Wasp in the fights; she has better powers than Ant-Man did, but he never spent a fight hiding so that he wouldn’t get crushed by people — why does she get portrayed as helpless and ineffectual? (I think we know that answer)

However, the biggest problem with superhero teams is that they are so powerful, that it becomes difficult to find enemies that are credible threats. Namor and the Hulk match up pretty well against this Avengers team, and it was fun seeing them duke it out.

Sub-Plots:

  • Iron Man decides to ask New York’s heroes for help finding the Hulk. He asks the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and the X-Men (but not Doctor Strange, for some reason), but they are all too busy (and a bit too rude) to help.

  • The Avengers then ask Rick Jones for help finding the Hulk. Rick initially sees this as a warning, and convinced the Hulk to power-down and become Bruce Banner again.

  • That doesn’t last long, though, and soon Banner becomes the Hulk again and begins to rampage. Rick finally gives in and let’s the Avengers know the Hulk’s location.

  • The Avengers then try to reason with the Hulk to rejoin the Avengers. When that fails, they fight him.

  • The Hulk manages to escape the Avengers, and finds himself at sea, plotting his next move. There, the Sub-Mariner offers to team up with Hulk against humanity.

  • Not surprisingly, the Hulk and Sub-Mariner plan to betray each other after they defeat the Avengers.

  • The Avengers answer a challenge to battle the Hulk and Namor on a deserted island. In the middle of the fight, Hulk transforms back into Bruce Banner and abandons Namor.

  • Namor manages to escape from the Avengers, as well. The Avengers choose to not chase him out of respect.

Continuity:

  • The cover corner box has changed! I haven’t read the next issue of Tales of Suspense, but based on the Thor and Giant-Man/Wasp illustrations here, I think Marvel is just shrinking the corner art from the solo titles and cramming them together here.

  • Iron Man knows that the X-Men operate out of Professor Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters (thanks to Angel’s guest-spot in Tales of Suspense this month). For people wearing masks, they aren’t exactly protecting their secret identities well.

  • This is the first time we’ve seen the Wasp be obviously flirtatious with someone other than Henry Pym. It’s clearly designed to make Henry jealous.

  • Iron Man has a weakness against emery dust.

  • This is the first time Iron Man’s chest plate has been damaged on his new armor.

  • Apparently, no one can take Thor’s hammer from him. You’d think that not being able to lift the hammer unless you’re Thor would be enough if a deterrent, but apparently not.

  • When the Hulk transforms back into Banner at the end of the issue, he blames it on stress. This is the first time Banner’s emotional state has triggered a transformation, although it does seem a bit backwards for stress to cause him to de-Hulk.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Behold, the rarest of sights in superhero comics: heroes acting proactively to prevent fallout from an earlier adventure.

  • Apparently, Tony Stark invented an impossible technology that would radically change the world but keeps it for himself. That sounds like Tony.

  • Jack Kirby is a great comic artist, but he really never got the hang of Spider-Man’s costume, did he?

image-761a

  • “Er…I mean…test out Tony Stark’s projector. Who I am definitely not.”

  • The Hulk fights Iron Man with…a cactus? And a cartoonish cactus, at that!

  • How is Giant-Man not dead?

  • The Hulk escapes, thanks to industrial dumping. Thanks, polluters!

  • This is just a reminder that Namor can watch anyone he wants, whenever he wants, the pervert. I’m a little surprised that his viewing device isn’t made of fish, though.

  • It’s weird that Namor recruits the Hulk to defeat the Avengers, who have never interacted with him, instead of the Fantastic Four.
  • Is it strange that the Wasp’s fantasy for Thor is to give him a boring haircut and a suit? Was it not acceptable at the time for her to suggest that she wants to see his beach body?

  • The Avengers tracked down the Hulk because they thought he might be a danger. The Sub-Mariner, in no uncertain terms, threatens all of mankind, so the Avengers let him escape because they respect him too much.

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