THE AVENGERS #59-60: YellowJacket! (1968-1969)

First appearance of Yellow Jacket, from Avengers #59 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

First appearance of Yellow Jacket, from Avengers #59 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

This is a story I wish had been longer.  Much longer.  Like I wish it had taken a year to tell.

But compressed stories were the way of the 1960s.

A mysterious man shows up at Avengers mansion acting like a real dick, and he calls himself Yellow Jacket.  Reading it now, knowing who he is, it’s not a shocker–but they don’t do a big reveal at first…I wonder if readers at the time could tell it was Hank underneath that gaudy yellow costume?

Anyway, the guy is abusive as hell.  He ties up Jarvis.  And of course that’s nothing compared to how he treats Janet Van Dyne.

This story isn’t really developed well until 150 issues later when he starts abusing Jan again, and is ultimately court martialed from The Avengers.  I’m pretty sure that the folks at Marvel didn’t realize what a controversial story this was–and the fact that it wasn’t controversial when it came out shows how far our societal understanding of abusive relationships has come since then.

Yeah, when Wasp falls, she falls hard.

The fun continues in part two: The big wedding issue, in which Hank Pym loses his mind, takes on a new identity, Wasp doesn’t know it’s him, and she tricks him into marrying her.

It’s all extremely odd–and way too compressed to lead to marriage.  But then, we’ve seen before, repeatedly, how desperate Marvel women were in the old days.

Creators: Roy Thomas and John Buscema
First appearances: Yellow Jacket
Grade: A-

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

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