Avengers (Vol. 1) #17

Credits:

Cover Date: June 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Stan Goldberg

“Four Against the Minotaur!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Don Heck

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

The new Avengers go on a quest to add the powerful Hulk to their underpowered team, only to wind up battling the Mole Man.

Details:

  • Taking Iron Man’s parting suggestion last issue, the new Avengers team’s first mission will be to find the Hulk and add him to the roster.

  • It’s not clear if the Avengers are physically searching for the Hulk, or just monitoring the news for him, but it becomes a piece of international news. So much so that a robot breaks into Avengers mansion to give them information!

  • Despite their lack of obvious power, the new Avengers worked well together and brought the robot down quickly. The robot informed them that the Hulk is in the desert, before it shut down.

  • The robot was sent by the Mole Man, who had hoped to destroy the Avengers with his robot, or else by springing a trap on them in the desert.

  • The heroes travel to the desert and, sure enough, fall into the Mole Man’s trap.

  • In Mole Man’s subterranean tunnels, they meet the Minotaur!

  • The Minotaur is tough, but the Avengers face their first real problem when a rockslide separates Quicksilver from the team. He is quickly captured by the Mole Man’s forces.

  • Using teamwork and following Captain America’s orders, the Avengers defeat the Minotaur.

  • They then make their way through the tunnels to Quicksilver and the Mole Man. As the heroes tear through the Mole Man’s defenses, he realizes that he underestimated this new team.

  • Mole Man decides to cut his losses and sends the Avengers back to the surface. While they did not find the Hulk, they did work well as a team —- they are considering this a win.

Is It Good?

This was fun. While it wasn’t a great issue, I really liked the increased focus on teamwork and tactics. This is a welcome change in this title. When the Avengers were Marvel’s most popular solo heroes, they tended to split up into miniature solo adventures. This actually feels like a team now.

This was a mostly action-packed issue, which doesn’t play to Don Heck’s strengths, but the storytelling was solid.

I did not like that parts of a Hulk story that hadn’t been published yet were included in this issue. They didn’t add much to the story, and the inclusion felt odd. What’s worse is that I know Jack Kirby will be drawing that story, so when I finally see the panels, Heck’s work will probably pale in comparison.

Continuity:

  • This issue takes place during Tales to Astonish #69, which has a cover date of July 1965.
  • We have a new cover corner box! Giant-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and the Wasp are all gone, replaced by Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch.

  • Rick Jones is upset that he wasn’t made an official member of the Avengers last issue.

  • Quicksilver aspires to lead the Avengers. I haven’t seen this desire for leadership in the modern character, so it will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere.

  • Hawkeye also expects to be leading the Avengers soon. That is definitely in character, so I expect this to be an ongoing subplot.
  • There is a sprawling underground fortress beneath Avengers mansion, including a large “Danger Room”-type practice area. We’ve seen the Avengers train before, but not in this large room.

  • Hawkeye has added a “counter-blast” arrow to his arsenal. He also uses a suction arrow and a flare arrow, but I’m not sure if those are new or not.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Let’s see here…the Avengers now consist of two super-powered mutants and two Olympic-level athletes. Rick Jones can…operate a HAM radio? Inadvertently create the Hulk due to careless stupidity? I’m not sure why Rick feels he deserves Avengers membership.

  • It is wild to me that anyone in the Marvel Universe at any time might think Hawkeye is more powerful than Captain America — much less Captain America himself!

  • Captain America: Like It or Lump It —- a true story

  • I like the helpful instructions in this newspaper. Like a normal person wouldn’t call the police if they spotted the Hulk.

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