THE AVENGERS #17 (1965)

After an explosion of unparalleled creativity in 1964, Stan appears to be losing steam halfway through ’65.  His work on X-Men isn’t as good as it was, and his Avengers stories are getting…Bad.  I mean, it takes four of them to take out The Minotaur?  But look at that credits box: “Why not?” Don Heck?  That can’t have been flattering.  Between his battles with Kirby and Ditko and jabs like this, it’s clear why artists felt so disrespected by Stan Lee.

I guess it makes sense that they’re searching for Hulk this issue, after their big lineup change, because they need power on the team.  But what they really oughtta look for is cohesion…

Rick thinks he can be an better Avenger than Hawkeye, Hawkeye thinks he’s a better leader than Captain America, Quicksilver thinks he’s a better leader than anyone else on the planet including Captain America, and Scarlet Witch just wants to bone him.

Throughout, there are flashes to Hulk fighting the leader in the ongoing Tales to Astonish storyline.  That’s kind of cool–to see other panels of another ongoing story.  Marvel does that with events nowadays, but I think this may have been the first time Marvel (or anyone) did it.

Creators: Stan Lee, Don Heck
Grade: D-.  Just a smidge above an F.  It’s just bad.

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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