The Super-Adaptoid Rudely Interrupts The Very First Avengers Day!

This is “From a Different Point of View,” a feature where I discuss a comic book series with another writer. In this case, it is CBR’s own Eileen Gonzalez who will be going over the history of the Avengers with me, story by story!

We continue with Avengers #45, “Blitzkrieg in Central Park” by Roy Thomas, Don Heck and Vince Colletta

Brian Cronin: It’s weird, Heck drew the entire Avengers Special and yet he’s back here for the follow-up to do a fill-in for Buscema. Rarely does the guy who draws the over-sized annual then come in to give the other guy a rest. Heck, though, might have had some crazy long lead time on the Annual.

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Brian Cronin: This is another clever attempt by Roy Thomas to get around the restrictions he was dealing with regarding not having Thor or Iron Man on the team. So instead, they just guest star as much as possible!

Eileen Gonzalez: Thor doesn’t seem pleased with that development. He keeps complaining about how he has better places to be.

Eileen Gonzalez: I love him shuttling Hercules through the sky.

Brian Cronin: What a strange set-up that is, right?

Brian Cronin: Is he just holding by a piece of rope?

Eileen Gonzalez: I think so!

Brian Cronin: How odd!

Brian Cronin: You’d think Thor could just, you know, HOLD the guy

Eileen Gonzalez: They’re not THAT close.

Brian Cronin: “Nah, that’d spread cooties! I’m not holding your hand! Instead, we each grabs ends of this rope!”

Eileen Gonzalez: You’d think Iron Man could give him a piggyback ride or something.

Brian Cronin: I’m torn on the character stuff with Wanda and Pietro.

Brian Cronin: It’s interesting stuff, and it gives Pietro a bit more of a personality.

Brian Cronin: But it also seems to be a bit out of nowhere, right?

Eileen Gonzalez: Exactly. I don’t think their being mutants has come up once since they joined. I really don’t know why Pietro’s so bitter all of a sudden

Eileen Gonzalez: Some foreshadowing would have been nice.

Brian Cronin: And on a day that they are being celebrated.

Brian Cronin: The hook would be stronger if he had said anything about this earlier.

Brian Cronin: You know, “They celebrate us because we’re Avengers, but otherwise, they’d hate us.”

Brian Cronin: That’s a good hook.

Brian Cronin: But it can’t just come out of nowhere.

Brian Cronin: I like that even in 1967, there were gatekeeping assholes.

Brian Cronin: “You don’t know who Hercules is, you MORON?

Brian Cronin: “You’re not a REAL Avengers fan.”

Brian Cronin: The Avengers had a day earlier, during Stan Lee’s stint, right?

Eileen Gonzalez: That sounds familiar? I think there have been quite a few “Avengers Day” celebrations over the years.

Brian Cronin: When the city was feeling stupid about thinking that the Avengers were criminals.

Brian Cronin: But it’s definitely nice to show how the Avengers stand out, as they really are the establishment’s superhero team.

Eileen Gonzalez: At this point, every day is Avengers Day, probably.

Brian Cronin: I liked when Kurt Busiek brought it back during his run with George Perez.

Eileen Gonzalez: Yeah, that’s the one I remember most clearly.

Brian Cronin: Super-Adaptoid should adapt to someone with clearer thoughts.

Brian Cronin: “Well do I remember when last I encountered him who is to be my victim”

Brian Cronin: What the what?

Eileen Gonzalez: He’s a robot, so maybe his brain is malfunctioning.

Eileen Gonzalez: Or maybe he absorbed Scarlet Witch’s dramatic exposition powers.

Eileen Gonzalez: I do like that our villain’s motivation today isn’t that he’s evil or anything, it’s that he’s programmed to kill Cap and literally cannot help himself.

Brian Cronin: I’m just glad he is here to absorb Hawkeye’s stellar powers.

Brian Cronin: What a weird question from the reporter to Hawkeye about whether it was true that he and Cap “used to be feuding”?

Brian Cronin: It’s phrased poorly

Brian Cronin: And it seems so pointless as a question.

Eileen Gonzalez: Maybe he writes for a gossip column.

Brian Cronin: “Is it true that you used to feud?”

Eileen Gonzalez: I can’t believe that cameraman is complaining about how boring this all is just because Cap and Wasp aren’t here yet.

Eileen Gonzalez: Clearly that soap opera he was going to shoot was MUCH more interesting than almost all of the Avengers.

Brian Cronin: How funny is the thought balloon of Black Widow and Hawkeye?

Brian Cronin: What an odd way to do a flashback

Eileen Gonzalez: It does seem a little crammed in there.

Eileen Gonzalez: But then, that’s their preferred method of relating Black Widow news.

Eileen Gonzalez: With hurried flashbacks

Brian Cronin: Right?

Brian Cronin: That’s exactly what i was thinking.

Brian Cronin: “Oh, by the way, my parents turned out to still be alive, but then they were killed by the Red Skull and I gained the power of a unicorn and I tracked him down and arrested him but then I lost the powers and I was stranded on a remote island and I befriended a volleyball and I eventually escaped and I got back to here and they put me back into the hospital and now I want to say that I want to remain the Black Widow.”

Brian Cronin: All in one panel, of course

Eileen Gonzalez: Poor Natasha, she gets a horrible costume AND the short end of the storytelling stick

Brian Cronin: The Wasp doesn’t fare much better.

Brian Cronin: She debuts one of her best costumes

Brian Cronin: Which becomes the basis of MOST of her costumes for the next 20 years or so

Brian Cronin: Just with the colors changed

Brian Cronin: But she does so in a bizarre fashion, zooming into the throng of reporters in an expensive new sports car to debut the costume and start posing.

Brian Cronin: She seems almost a bit unhinged

Brian Cronin: And of course, speaking of unhinged, Hank somehow thinks it’s cool to grow to giant-size and just snatch her up to stop the posing.

Brian Cronin: Uncool, dude.

Brian Cronin: Wasp is being a jerk, too, but come on, man.

Eileen Gonzalez: This whole scene is a mess.

Eileen Gonzalez: Hank and Jan both come off very much in need of couples therapy here. Probably the best part of the scene is the weird gratuitous 60s slang.

Brian Cronin: How adorable is Hercules’ “Man, I wish I could be an Avenger, but I don’t want to ask them.”

Brian Cronin: And then we see the possible dangers of Wasp’s flirting, where she’s like, “Hey, Herc,” and he’s all, “Wait, is she into me?”

Brian Cronin: You’re playing with people’s minds here, Jan!

Eileen Gonzalez: I love Hercules in this issue! He’s surprisingly humble, and he’s honorable enough that he won’t go after Jan even though he likes her and she might possibly be flirting with him.

Eileen Gonzalez: He’s the nicest Avenger in this whole issue.

Brian Cronin: He really is.

Brian Cronin: I love how the Super-Adaptoid can absorb Iron Man’s armor.

Brian Cronin: As we have seen, power absorption is all over the place in this comic book.

Brian Cronin: Like, Hawkeye gets his “power” absorbed, but not Black Widow.

Brian Cronin: And he can absorb the “power” of a guy’s armor

Brian Cronin: That’s a good Heck panel of Cap leading the Avengers into the park.

Brian Cronin: It’s kind of dorky, but I like it

Eileen Gonzalez: I almost think Cap is doing that partly for the crowd’s benefit.

Eileen Gonzalez: I mean, he’s definitely that earnest and sincere, but also there are civilians here looking for a show.

Brian Cronin: I love it when Hawkeye smiles

Brian Cronin: That dude is so mopey

Eileen Gonzalez: I like Hercules’ face when he is officially made an Avenger. He’s so happy!

Brian Cronin: It’s fascinating to see how fate has conspired to keep Black Widow from becoming an Avenger.

Brian Cronin: I think she has the longest “almost an Avenger” record in history.

Eileen Gonzalez: It’s definitely a little annoying. They’ve spent all this time introducing her and showing her redeeming herself for her life as a spy, and now she’s just kind of sidelined?

Brian Cronin: And like with Pietro’s stuff, it doesn’t feel earned, right?

Brian Cronin: Her deciding to retire should be A. a bigger deal and B. given some foreshadowing

Eileen Gonzalez: I feel like there should maybe be an extra issue or two between this one and Issue 44. That would give them time to add in all these character moments we’re missing.

Brian Cronin: And what’s funny is that there WAS an extra issue!

Brian Cronin: But it was spent on other stuff.

Eileen Gonzalez: As much as I enjoyed the Annual, they really could have used that space on more pertinent things.

Brian Cronin: But they had room for a one-panel flashback for her retirement! That’s plenty, right?

Brian Cronin: I don’t get how the Super-Adaptoid works.

Brian Cronin: He has Hercules, Thor and Goliath’s strength, right?

Brian Cronin: So, is it added together?

Brian Cronin: Or is he pretty much just as strong as the strongest one of those three?

Eileen Gonzalez: I thiiink it’s implied it’s all added together, but I’m too distracted by his humongous helmet wings to be sure.

Brian Cronin: But if it’s added together, then how could they possibly stop him?

Brian Cronin: How would Goliath even hang with him if he has HIS strength plus Thor PLUS Hercules?

Eileen Gonzalez: Good question. Maybe the Super-Adaptoid is conserving energy for his fight with Cap? Killing Captain America is his main goal, after all–Goliath is just an annoyance.

Brian Cronin: The tiny fight is a clever idea.

Brian Cronin: These heroes just standing around while a fight to the death is happening at their feet is quite cool.

Brian Cronin: Even on Avengers Day, though, the average Marvel citizen can’t believe fantastical things are happening.

Brian Cronin: “Wait, they’re having a fight while ant-sized? How could I believe that a team with Ant-Man and the Wasp on it could be having a fight at shrunken size?

Eileen Gonzalez: I liked the tiny fight scene too, especially since it gives Wasp a chance to shine in her element for once. She even comes up with a good plan for stopping the Super-Adaptoid, even if she isn’t quite fast enough to make it work.

Brian Cronin: It was odd, though, that she would think he would grow too slowly. Why would that happen?

Eileen Gonzalez: I think she says there she startled him, probably slowing his reaction time? And she almost did it.

Brian Cronin: True. My apologies, Wasp!

Brian Cronin: Heck, by the way, is a lot sharper here than he was in his final issues of his initial run, right?

Brian Cronin: These action sequences are excellent.

Eileen Gonzalez: It’s nicely done, but I wish they’d all attack at once instead of individually as usual. The Super-Adaptoid has all of your powers, so attacking as a unit would probably be more effective!

Brian Cronin: Yeah, their strategies continue to be foolish

Brian Cronin: Hercules, quit trying to make “Zestful zithers of Zeus” happen. It’s not going to catch on.

Eileen Gonzalez: I can’t believe he used that expression TWICE.

Brian Cronin: He just really wants it to catch on

Brian Cronin: If he is going to be stranded on Earth, he wants to at least influence our slang while he’s here.

Brian Cronin: It’s good to know Scarlet Witch has spent hours perfecting her powers

Brian Cronin: While still not explaining exactly her powers do.

Eileen Gonzalez: Did Super-Adaptoid even adapt her powers? I don’t think we see him using them.

Brian Cronin: He did

Brian Cronin: That was their fairly clever explanation for why they let Cap take him one-on-one

Eileen Gonzalez: Ah, my bad.

Brian Cronin: As he was “using Scarlet Witch’s hex” to hold them in place.

Brian Cronin: He was using her powers more effectively than Scarlet Witch!

Brian Cronin: I love Quicksilver’s “I was just watching you guys getting your asses kicked, because what good would super speed do?”

Brian Cronin: And then he comes up with a plan that specifically involves them attacking the Super-Adaptoid all together

Brian Cronin: But then first decides to attack him by himself for…reasons?

Eileen Gonzalez: To give Goliath a chance to recover, I guess? I got nothing. He’s still smarter than the rest of the team, which is sad.

Eileen Gonzalez: It really took them this long to realize that attacking a villain as a team is a good plan?

Brian Cronin: Ha!

Brian Cronin: And I see we see our answer, he wasn’t stacking the powers on top of each other

Brian Cronin: Because when he did so, it shorted himself out

Brian Cronin: It still doesn’t make any sense, of course

Brian Cronin: As “he could only use up so much power,” but we’ve established that he HAD ALL of the power within him, so….huh?

Brian Cronin: He can hold all of Thor’s power within him, but if he uses it at the same time as he uses the other power, it is too much?

Brian Cronin: How does that track at all?

Eileen Gonzalez: AIM scientists are not the brightest.

Brian Cronin: I get when power absorbers are overloaded

Brian Cronin: That makes sense

Brian Cronin: Like that time Rogue tried to absorb Magneto’s powers, but he was so amped up on power that he overloaded her

Brian Cronin: That I get.

Brian Cronin: But here, it’s like if Rogue succeeded in absorbing all of his powers

Brian Cronin: And was fine, but when using it with something else she had ALREADY absorbed, it was too much.

Brian Cronin: Then Pietro has to be a dick about the Super-Adaptoid being created by humans.

Brian Cronin: It’s like, dude, you literally quit the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants because they, a team made up mutants, was TOO evil!

Brian Cronin: So what are you even going on about?

Brian Cronin: I like that the teenager did this issue’s obligatory pop culture reference (referencing Man From U.N.C.L.E.) so that Hawkeye didn’t have to.

Eileen Gonzalez: It took me way too long to figure out that joke, and I love The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I am ashamed.

Eileen Gonzalez: Also love the girl with the color slides

Eileen Gonzalez: People never change–nowadays she’d be trying to take selfies with them.

Brian Cronin: And the teens say they took some photographs of the fight and Hercules responds, “Just like teens have always done, going back to ancient Greece.”

Brian Cronin: Huh, Herc?

Eileen Gonzalez: Maybe some teen in ancient Greece doodled graffiti somewhere about how great Herc was or something.

Eileen Gonzalez: And then we all get to continue celebrating Avengers Day, because these civilians aren’t about to allow a little thing like a supervillain attack ruin their day.

Brian Cronin: They even made new signs to incorporate the fight!

Brian Cronin: That was a good bit.

Brian Cronin: It’s funny that you were hoping that we’d have some time spent catching up on the effects of the last mission

Brian Cronin: And yet the “next issue” description suggests that this WAS the breather issue!

Eileen Gonzalez: It didn’t end with angst, so I guess this does count as a break by their standards.

Brian Cronin: I love the concept of “This is the breather issue, but don’t worry, stuff will get really serious soon with the introduction of…the Whirlwind?!”

Eileen Gonzalez: Clearly their most serious villain to date.

Eileen Gonzalez: Hopefully they’ll actually do something with Black Widow and Quicksilver’s sudden human issues next time.

Brian Cronin: The clock is ticking on Quicksilver’s membership, so I’m thinking no.

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