THE AVENGERS #56/THE AVENGERS ANNUAL #2 (1968)

On the upside: This book revisits the greatest Marvel comic of all time, Fantastic Four #5–the one where the FF go back in time and Thing gets to be Blackbeard the pirate.  That’s really cool.  But strangely, Dr. Doom seems to have installed a “view only” button on his time machine…

It’s also really strange that he abandoned a wonderful piece of tech like this.

But putting all those issues to one side, the story here is cool.  Captain America misses Bucky like mad and has come to believe Bucky really isn’t dead.  So, he recruits the team to go back in time to the moment Baron Zola strapped the duo on a rocket and shot them up in the sky.

Hank Pym trusts Jan to mind the buttons and make sure they get back in time.  But she falls asleep.

It’s kind of annoying (and sexist) that the one woman on the team is the one that succumbs.

Anyhow, Cap gets convinced that Bucky is in fact dead by the end.

And there’s a casual panel here–no fanfare at all–that I’m going to say represents the first Fastball Special.  Even if it’s not called that.

That’s all in issue #56.  They say that it’s to be continued in King Size Special Avengers #2 (aka Avengers Annual #2), but I can’t see how it gets continued there.  It’s a weird time travel story that kind of sucks.

So, stick with #56 and you’ll have a good reading experience.

Creators: Roy Thomas and John Buscema

Grade: B+

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